Last Friday my old dog Ruby was put to sleep. Although it’s been on the cards for the last few months or so it came on us quickly with a marked deterioration in a few days. I took her to the vets not really sure of what the outcome would be, trying to separate my wishes and thoughts from her wants and needs. When the vet talked about how hard it can be to know the right time and we could wait 2 weeks but that might be too long I knew now was for the best. She has always been a very undemanding dog; unlike most pets I’ve ever had. She accepted her life just how it was; rarely barking or asserting herself. In recent months she had fretted when not with me, pacing the house looking for me. Dementia had set in alongside physical decline. I’ve not alway been the most attentive owner to her – too many distractions and too many hangovers. This year I have been here for her and I am grateful for that time with her.
Animals have always been part of my life. I spent a lot of time as a child in their company and when I left home to go to University they were what I missed the most. As soon as I could I had pets again and there’s been beasts in my house ever since, along with the horses (who would live with me too if I didn’t live in a terraced house in the city!) More recently I am starting to appreciate the wonder of trees and plants too. I’m reading The Over Story which is about trees essentially (Dwight you would love it!) but so much more besides. Nature can teach us all we need to know about how to be the best humans we can; to support and care for each other, staying in balance and accepting the passage of time and ageing. Ruby grew old with grace and acceptance. She enjoyed what she still could and when the end came lay down peacefully and slipped away.