The Charlie Bravo Story


Dad here; public disclaimer: before you get all spun up, let me assure that this post is NOT currently relevant at the Casa del Whackos. But on the other hand, it does apply, as we all know that the time we are allotted with our dogs is finite and way too short even at that.
I’ve been dreading this post for years, but I’m the dad of the Casa del Whackos and sometimes the dad has to do the hard things. Although I have always knew I needed to share these words, the time never seemed “right”. But with the numbers of Charlie’s followers growing, this subject seems to be coming up much more frequently.
And that subject is euthanasia.
Many of you have seen Charlie and I post “it’s always too soon until it’s too late”. You know the drill; a beloved pet begins that inevitable decline. About the time that you come to grips with the fact that you need to schedule that last trip to the vet, the dog seems to make a miraculous turnaround, once again the puppy that he/she once were. This is when the guilt monster sinks its teeth into your soul; how could I have been so quick to give up? Don’t I owe him more loyalty than that?
Then, after the rebound ends and the downward spiral continues, each cycle getting shorter with the bad days outweighing the good, until you gotta do what you gotta do. I have personally waited too long too many times, with consequences so dire I won’t even put them in print, and I swear I won’t do it again. It was awful beyond belief.
So, in an effort to spare others a bit of anguish while risking being labeled the Canine Doctor of Death, I would like to share my ways of making the process a bit less painful.
Number one: on one of those “good” days, prepay your vet for the final service. It could be a week prior, it might even be months, but the important thing us that paperwork and payment are not a part of that final goodbye. My personal belief is that not having a financial transaction being a part of my final farewells makes the process much more “organic”, for lack of a better word.
Number two: BE THERE. This is not negotiable. No matter how uncomfortable you are with the process, you owe it to them that your face and prescence will be the last thing they experience as their vision begins to fade.
Number three: arrange with your vet that you come and go through a side/back door. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to treat others in the waiting room to the sight of my blubbering mug, neither pre or post procedure.
Number four: to bury or to cremate. I have mixed feelings on this. I have always buried; the upside is that the labor involved is cathartic, the downside is that the last sight of them is in a hole in the ground. Also, many are physically unable to perform the final rites. My thoughts are that whatever memories I carry for that particular dog are not contained to their physical remains, and should not be marred by my beating myself up over the choice of internment. Your mileage may vary.
Number five: embrace the suck. Don’t attempt to fight the waves of grief. Instead, choose to ride them out, as swimming with the current is often the only way to keep your head above the water. Although it may seem that the storm will never end, eventually the peaks and troughs will lessen in their intensity, and the cycle of the waves will lessen in their frequency. But even after the whitecaps of anguish lessen to the point that they are just ripples in your subconscious, be assured that they will still always be there.
And that’s a good thing, for where there is pain, there is life. As long as a man’s stories are remembered, then he is immortal, and I believe the same applies to all beings, human, canine or otherwise.
I fully realize what a downer this subject is, and I promise to return to the snarky insanity that defines the everyday activities of the inmates of the Casa del Whackos. But sometimes hard things need to be addressed before they become a pressing issue; then we can get on with the process of finding the good in every situation.
We be of one blood, ye and I.

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