Duck “Doug” Silverman came into my life about 14 years ago. He was picked up by the State running through South Central with no collar, tags or chip. Nobody claimed or adopted him so a no-kill shelter took him in. That’s where I found him — at that shelter, in Van Nuys. Since then we have slept most every night together (and many lazy afternoons.) When we first met, the vet approximated his age at 5½ so I’d say he was about 19 as of yesterday, September 3, 2013.
He was a happy dog, though serene. And stoic. And he loved love.
Over the past few years he became blind, deaf, and arthritic. But with a great vet, good meds, and a first rate seeing-eye person named me, he truly seemed comfortable.
Recently, however, he stopped eating or drinking. He was skin and bones and so weak. I couldn’t figure out this hunger strike. Duck had never been political before. And then, over the weekend, I knew. It was time to let him go.
My boyfriend Kyle flew in late last night and took the day off from work to be with us. We laid in bed and massaged his tiny body, as we love to do – hearing his little “I’m in heaven” breaths.
The doctor came and Kyle, my sister, Laura and I laid on the bed. I held him close – in our usual spoon position and stroked him. I told him how loved he was, and thanked him for giving me such happiness and for his unwavering companionship and love. The doctor gave him a shot and he fell asleep, and then another that was basically an overdose of sleeping meds. I held him and kissed him and whispered to him well passed his passing. I picked him up and his body was limp – you don’t think about the head – it just falls. I held him so tight. And then finally, when his body lost its heat, and I could sense the doctor thinking about the imminent rush hour traffic, I handed him over.
It made me think of the first dog *I* ever adopted...Jasper.
I was in the process of buying my first house when I decided to adopt. I went with my friend Emalee on a search of the local shelters. She was looking to adopt as well.
We went to the Lynchburg Humane Society and I saw Jasper right away. Jasper was let into the "play" area with about 4 other adults and 3 other dogs. He walked right over to me, into my lap, and refused to leave. I was hooked. He came home a week later after getting "fixed"
He was a wonderful dog right away. Learned tricks fast! He came with me everywhere (aside from work). When I was doing remodeling on the new house he would happily sit in the sunshine and watch me work.
I already had 3 cats before I adopted Jasper and he fit right in....a little TOO well maybe!
Those first two years we were just an inseparable pair.
I had enough space so I decided to adopt again and that is when Rory came along, much to Jasper's chagrin at first. Rory thought Jasper was the best thing since Milkbones...and Jasper did NOT...at first.
On Christmas Eve 2012 Jasper seemed tired and just not himself. I called a myriad of vets, none of which were open. Finally around 5 PM I got worried enough to drive the hour to the emergency vet. After 3 hours in a waiting room and $300 dollars worth of tests I find out that he has cancer and probably wouldn't make it through the night.
I had to make the decision right then and there to put him to sleep.
I loved him more than any other living being I have ever encountered.
I get really annoyed (This word really isn't strong enough) when people don't seem to understand how important Jasper was to me.
He showed me more kindness and love in the three years I had him than any human being that has ever entered my life.
He was always happy to see me even when I was in a bad mood.
He loved me unconditionally and to an astounding degree.
He would listen to me talk for hours on end and be in heaven about it.
He knew when I was sad from work or a break up and would cuddle next to me and refuse to leave my side.
His death to me wasn't just the death of a "pet" it was the death of my most important family member in the world.
I think the article above hit it on the head so I will close with that: