Chelle Summer

Carson's shangri la

Michelle Rusk

I’ve put off writing this blog and it’s been easy with the holiday hustle and bustle. I’ve felt like I’ve been chasing myself and now as things start to wind down, at least through the new year before they wind up again, I know that I need to write this because life is going to change again soon. I’ve made it a tradition– although I don’t think that’s a good word– to write about each of my dogs after they have died and while Carson was only with us for the end of his life, he deserves a blog, too.

I miss him. I miss his presence. I find myself grabbing three treats from the cactus cookie jar where I keep them rather than two. The house is quieter. Lilly needs someone to at least pretend to chase her around the yard and Hattie wishes Lilly had someone to chase her around so she would leave her alone and quit being the annoying little sister.

But this is what I remind myself– Carson is happy now, he is out of his pain.

The last month of his life was trying for all of us and I’ll admit it was a strain on our relationship. Carson had lost control of his bladder and my days were spent changing his wrap (fancy word for diaper), sometimes him running from me after I had let him outside, but needed to put it back on before he returned inside. At 4:00 am the day before we put him down, he stood at the far end of the yard and we had a staring contest, me refusing to go any further outside in my bare feet and thirty-some degree temperatures. I won the contest only after I shut the door and pretended to walk away– inside the house.

I felt as if Hattie and Lilly missed out on attention because most of my time was going to Carson. I started to find Lilly sleeping upstairs by herself, a place she never went unless someone was with her.

The strain took its toll, but I still struggled with actually putting him down two weeks ago today. He had a zest for life and I didn’t want to put him down too early. But I also didn’t want to keep him around too long because it wasn’t about us. It was about releasing him from his pain.

Two weeks later, I now remind myself in my sadness that he’s happy now, he’s met my family and all the dogs that have gone before him. After what appeared to have been a challenging life, he found happiness with us, so much so that he defied the expectations of his lifespan and may have been seventeen when he died. He’s out of pain and anything that happened to him that left him fearful here in his life melted away as he went to sleep with that sedative and drifted into his new life.

His new life of love.