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Autism: Too Soon

11 Jul

It is a necessity. This I know. The decision had to be made – do I seek life, or fade as I wait for death. The grief has been so deep, so strong, so pervasive, that it seemed even life isn’t an option. But it was a necessity. To live again meant one thing: I had to look for another dog.

So soon. So painful. Such a hard thing to face, and certainly one I did not want to be facing now. I wanted my dog – not some dog. I know that I will love another dog, care for another dog, bond with another dog… but what I really wanted was my dog. He wasn’t even eight. Too soon. Too hard. Too painful.

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But in my heart I also knew that the choice wasn’t between my dog, and another. Mine was gone already, and much as I have begged for this to have been a nightmare, I know that desire would not bring him home.

Such a hard concept for anyone – death. Painful for anyone. But each death to me makes the world seem less real. Less friendly. Less beautiful. Not for a time – for always. Death, whatever people say, is not natural. Things were not supposed to be this way. And the animals…

It seems to me the curse for a fallen world isn’t so much our own death, but more the death of those we love. Our own death, while frightening (pain is scary) is a one time thing. Afterwards… But the death of a cousin, a grandparent, a child, a well loved pet… it is a pain that never really leaves.

As the tears slowed, the panic increased. Gryff was more than a pet. He was a friend. He was my strength. He was the children I couldn’t have. He was my confidence in going out into the world again. He was my voice when I didn’t know how to speak. He was so much more. And the pain and fear in being without him have been harsh.

So my husband suggested another dog. There was no question that I had to do this – I just wish it wasn’t necessary. Not that I don’t want a dog (please understand) but that I want my dog.

Puppies are cute, fun, playful, new… a whole bundle of energy and love. A puppy would have been great, but puppies are also expensive. Six years ago when we got our dog, puppies cost an average of $4-500. When I started looking last week, they were $1000+.

I posted an ad instead explaining my situation. Probably the longest ad on there – I am a writer after all. The response was overwhelming. I guess a lot of people are seeking new homes for their dogs. Sad. I would have given anything… anything to keep mine. But none of them were my dog, and I rejected one after another. Too soon. Too painful.

Finally it came to two dogs. One a 2 year old Keeshond, who had been kept in a kennel, and was very timid. I really wanted her. I cried, and I researched (a lot, as I tend to do) and I cried some more, and I even laughed for the first time since my dog had died. I was sure she was right for us. Even my son, who is afraid of larger dogs, wanted her. Keeshonden are like a larger breed of Pomeranian, descended from the same dogs – only they are about 35lbs compared to our Pom, who was 10lbs (and big for a Pom at that.)

I wanted her, but trying to pick a time and place to meet were proving complicated – and deciding on a price was a challenge, too. As I was waiting on their response, and still very much wanting to bring her home, I got another email from people with a 3 year old Chihuahua. They are coming into town this week, would drop her off at my home, and come back an hour later to see if I wanted to keep her. Easy.

The cost for either would be the cost of getting them spayed – but the price of a spay is different depending on where it is done. My vet – $245. The vet near the Keeshond – $400. The vet for the people with the Chihuahua (they are affiliated with a rescue) – $100.

But it is not price and ease that should be the deciding factor. What is best for the dog? What is best for us? When what I want is my dog, this decision is so much harder than it would have otherwise been. So many times this thought has brought me to tears. Oh Gryff, why did you have to leave me? I should have got another dog while he was still alive, maybe. Maybe. But I didn’t know he was about to leave.

So very hard – but I have to do this. I know I have to do this. Other people might say wait – but as I wait, the panic grows, and my ability to go out into the world diminishes. I need her. Whichever dog we chose, I need her. And I will love her, too. But right now? This is hard.

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