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One day removed from the loss of Ivan, I still hurt.  I knew it was going to be bad but not this bad.

My trusted friend followed my lead and did everything that I asked.  Whether he suspected something different this time, I doubt it.  He had no reason to believe that this trip to the vet would be any different than earlier trips.

The doctor was clear.  Finding a vein was the only difficult part.  Given that, death would come quickly.

After a few minutes alone with Ivan, we called the doctor in.

Ivan was docile when we lifted him onto the cold stainless table.  The doctor’s assistant hugged his head and Carolyn and I rubbed him gently.  It didn’t take much probing for the doctor’s expert hand to find a vein.  I guess it was habit that caused the doctor to wipe the entry point with an alcohol filled cotton ball.

Dr. Wesson’s hand was ever so steady as he guided the tiny needle into Ivan’s paw.  In an instant, he pressed the translucent plunger forcing the blood red liquid into Ivan’s system.

Death came quickly, too quickly.  In just a few seconds, Ivan’s eyes closed, his tongue eased out, and he was gone.  Dr. Wesson checked for a heartbeat and confirmed that life had gone out of him.  I could no longer hold back.

The tears flowed fast and furious.  Carolyn and I just stood holding him, holding each other, and questioning whether or not we had done the right thing.  I am not sure that we will ever know that.

The one thing that I do know is that Ivan was the best.  We were as good to him as we could and this was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do.

Good-bye Ivan.  I am sorry it had to end this way.  I don’t know how you felt but I do know the tremendous pain that I have, the loneliness, the hurt, and the guilt.  I wouldn’t do anything to make any of it go away if it meant that I would have never known you.

Good-bye Ivan, I hope to see you again.

Weeks later!

I walk into the house and expect Ivan to appear, his tail wagging back and forth like a pendulum in high gear.  His cold wet nose nudging for some response.  No, he doesn’t come.  No, I am alone, the worst thing that can happen to anyone.  God programmed us for fellowship and love.  Fellowship and love between people or between people and their beloved pets.  Maybe one day we will consider another dog, just not today.  Maybe one day.

———————

Authors Note.  Our son, Gary, brought this wonderful animal into our life and left him in our care for most of the time, even to the end.

by Wayne Brady May 14, 2008

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