Monday, September 29, 2014

how does a broken heart still beat?

This was the week of our off-season vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Eight of us were there along with three dogs. One was missing. Mine.


I asked my vet to put her down last week. I won't burden you with the details except to say that it involved a couple of episodes of unexpected and seemingly unprovoked aggression.
Poor Zara, with sixteen staples in her ear.
Who knows why? My vet explained that a hormone imbalance, or even a brain tumor can cause unexpected aggression in normally docile dogs. She told me that Famke might respond to "behavioral therapy" with a specialist at U. Penn, or to a hefty dose of Prozac. But, I knew I needed to put her down. We have a grandchild on the way.

People might think that I acted too quickly, that it was a hasty decision on my part, a knee jerk response in the heat of the moment, a flash of irrational anger, but it wasn't. It was fear. When a dog as strong as Famke attacks there is nothing you can do to pull her away. Not all the strength you can summon, not your most desperate cries, nothing. And when the attack is unprovoked and unexpected you can only wonder what prompted it and when it will happen again...because you know in your heart that it will and you simply cannot take the chance.

I loved this dog. I loved her droopy face, the weight and warmth of her, her constant companionship. I spent mesmerizing hours petting her just to soothe my own aching soul.

A broken heart is not something you want to drag to the beach with you, but you can't just leave it behind. seemed fitting that the first couple of days dawned gray and gloomy. The wind gusted and the rain fell...

The waves rose up and the ocean roared...

...before it surrendered to sorrow, just like me.

Empty. Lonely. Longing.



Proof that broken hearts still beat.


  1. One of the hardest things any pet parent has to do is to determine when it has to end. My sympathies.

    1. Thanks Delores. It was a gentle process for her, not so much for me.

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