Saying Goodbye

Somewhere around fifteen years ago, I picked up a bouncy, clumsy little puppy with her tail all a wag, carried her out of an animal shelter and into my home, and named her Sarah. The life ahead of her was to be a good and long life for a dog, and she has deserved every game of fetch, every pat on the head and rub of the tummy, and every tasty little treat she’s received in those fifteen years. I must admit that I cannot reconcile certain feelings of mine with my Christian faith—at least not in a way that most of my Christian friends would accept. Sometimes it seems like there are very old souls who roam this earth, and sometimes it seems as though they are not all in human form. I guess I just love this old dog, for her intrinsic gentleness and patience and simplicity. I love her because I admire and respect her, I guess, for the kind and loving creature that she is and always has been. I love her, I suppose, because she’s been more human in this life than a lot of people I’ve met. I know I’m supposed to be grown up about all of this, because she is, after all, just a dog. But for the life of me, I can’t seem to bring myself to make that step. She’s a dog, I know. But she’s Sarah, and I love her very much with a very real part of my very human heart. And tomorrow, unless I decide I simply cannot do it myself, I will pick her up as now an old and tired dog, and I will carry her from my home to a little room where a doctor for dogs will meet us for a particularly unhappy occasion, and I will feel her gentle heart beat in my arms for the very last time. My only hope is that she feels no pain, and my only question is how long I will weep.


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