On October 23, 2012 we put Darby O' Gill to sleep. Darby was our family dog that came into our life when I was in high school. Most of my adult years were spent with Darby. I tried to distance myself- knowing that I easily become attached and no attachment ends well- from the little rat- terrier but I became attached immediately. Regardless of everything that happens in life, pets give unconditional love. I've often felt closer to animals than I have humans because of the unconditional love. Our pets are there for us, regardless.
I recall growing up and having a beagal named Mikey. I must have been no more than 8 years old (because my sister wasn't born) when Mikey died. Although Mikey was an "outside" dog, I remember the exact moment when my dad told me that Mikey died. I was near the hallway bathroom at our house on Country Place, it was winter. I remember that I didn't beleive my dad at first and then I remember calling my best friend, Timmy, to let him know Mikey died and I was devastated.
My sister was born in 1991 and shortly thereafter we got a goldfish, "Buzz". I tried to keep my distance, knowing at an early age that I would attach and become heart broken when it died. Well, Buzz lived a really long life for a goldfish. I remember telling myself, "I'm never going to get another pet, I can't handle the departure!" Well my siblings desperately wanted a dog. Darby was a rat terrier, we named him Darby O' Gill, after an Irishman and my clever mom thought the initials D.O.G. was indeed clever. Darby was there for most of my life. I remember having a party at my parent's house when they were out of town and afterwards I blamed Darby for running through the screen door when in fact it was me. He never told on me.
Darby was hit twice by a car. The first time I remember vividly. I stayed in the "dog's room' (laundry room) all night, worried and attached. Providing comfort and praying that he would be ok. Often times I have felt that I have a stronger connection with animals than I do with humans. The non-judgemental, unconditional love, is truly amazing!
I stayed with Darby the weekend before he was put to sleep and against my will, I became even more attached. As I knew he was becoming older and more fraile, I detached myself and kept my distance. I didn't want to feel the pain of losing someone so unconditionally loving.
This was the first time that our family had to "put a dog down". I struggled with the notion of injecting the grape juice, stating that we don't put others down. But poor Darby, he could not stand, he could not eat nor drink. I mostly lay with him on the tile floor, making sure he was comfortable. I wanted him to know that he was not alone. I massaged him and kept him warm. I told him how great he was, how much I appreciated his loyalty, and asked him to say hello to Grandpa for me.
This year has been a very tumultous year for me; I've faced bullying, distrust, disappointment, and heartache to the fullest. People have let me down, hurt me terribly, and have left me feeling more alone than ever. Pets don't do that- they are there for you no matter what; they don't judge. I've made many mistakes, have been hurt many times, and have been downright disgusted by people. Regardless of what has ever happened, our pets have always been there......with a smile and with kisses and hugs.
I often distance myself from emotions because it appears that I always become attached with great expectations that humans cannot keep. I knew Darby was getting older and so I distanced myself from the little guy, knowing that the recovery from losing something so great would be very devastating. However, with my big heart leading the way, I could never say no to an opportunity of making this little guy's life more comfortable in his last few days. I spent a lot of time at my parent's house and felt horrible each time that I left, while I prayed that he would just go to sleep.
Our little Darby is a lot like me. The little tough guy would not give up and so we had to decide that it was in his best interest to be put to sleep. Tuesday morning was horrible. I couldn't stop crying. For as long as I can remember I've always hated crying or showing emotion in front of my parents, especially my dad. I feel that crying is a sign of weakness and I must not let others see my weakness. I have never done well expressing emotions. It was my mom, my dad, and me who took Darby to the vet that Tuesday morning. I tried really hard to be a badass but I just couldn't fight the tears. Mom said that I didn't have to go, that I could just say "bye" and leave. I'm the oldest child, I've been with Darby through the most, I cannot let him go without me there by his side.
We arrived at the vet's and my tear ducts opened up and released a lot of emotion. All of the pain that I held in for the entire year, for the pass several years, I cried out and released emotions that I carried with me for a long time. The pain from the loneliness, the betrayal, the lies, the bullying, everything. I let it all out. As we stepped into the room, Darby wrapped in a blanket, wearing the "chick magnet" shirt that I gave him, I felt horrible. Thoughts of doubt circled through my mind but I knew I had to be strong.
I have experienced a tremendous amount of grief, regret, sorrow, pain, hurt, betrayal, loneliness from humans; animals are so pure and offer an unconditional love that I've been searching for my whole life. With animals there is no cheating, lying, deceiving, hurting, maniplulating, controlling, conditions, etc. With people that's all that I have experienced, with the exception of a few like my dear Grandpa Guidosh. When I see a deer lying on the side of a road my heart sinks, when a friend's pet dies my heart breaks, animals can teach us so much. Everything that I have ever longed for has been found in an animal.
I hold Bruiser a little closer, I pay the extra money for check ups, grooming, swimming lessons, and I take the time to take him for a walk or to massage his muscles and I make sure he knows that he is loved.
Darby was there during my darkest periods and he was there when I became aware of the powerful love that pets share. Darby was there for a lot and in return I learned a lot from Darby. He was my little snoop D.O.G.
Basically, saying goodbye to Darby was saying this goodbye to trust and unconditional love. Saying goodbye to those things makes me cold and distant. I've never been able to trust humans, especially this year. This past year i took a huge risek and trusted someone with a lot, a whole shit ton of trust was completely betrayed. (but that's what I do- I give people the benefit of the doubt and second chances) I feel like I have become a professional in seeking out the truth. I don't usually state or confront when someone has lied to me, I usually keep it to myself, and put it in the back of my mind and proceed with caution when this person speaks. This process becomes easier when I keep my mouth shut and more so when i'm unable to communicate my concerns.
RIP my lil snoop xoxox