Musicians, their pets (dogs) and euthanasia…
This is not a topic directly related to the violin or music, but one that does affect us all one way or another, in my opinion even more if you are an artist or musician…
Yesterday, November 7, 2006 was a dreadful day as I had to make a final decision regarding my 14 years old long time friend… my beautiful and faithful Dalmatian dog. This last year and a half, has been marked by a very fast decline in his life style and health as all the “scars” of past accidents and health problems caught-up with him. Now an old 14 year old dog suffering from severe hip problems and arthritis he was almost unable to walk and hold is bowels.
“a decision” How can I? What right do I have? I did not create this life, who gives me the right to order or “pay” to terminate it???? Am I playing GOD???
This has been a debate in my house for the last few months has we hopped that our pup would just pass away of old age on his own and without our “assistance”. Anyway, we had to make the decision which finally fell on my shoulders.
After many months of thinking about the best solution, I went to the Vet and had him put my "best friend" to sleep… I have no words to tell you how difficult it was and how painful it has been to me since! I have canceled classes, rehearsal with the pianist was horrible although he did get a few smiles from me with is impersonations has he tried to cheer me up; and forget about practicing! I just can’t concentrate and can’t stop thinking of my friend…
Even though the Vet told me this was the right thing to do… Did I do the right thing?
What would my dog think of me? What does my other dog friend think of me??
When I returned home from the Vet, the look in my kids eyes was merciful and our other dog friend, a 4 year old Viszla stared at me… and I could read his mind… What did you do? Where is Ajax?
As a Christian, It also weighs very hard on my heart and mind… What does GOD think of me now??
I have found that non-dog owners think you are a bit barmy for reacting with a lot of emotion to a dog's death. They tend to forget that the Dog was a member of your family for 14 years.
If dogs could talk what stories they could tell.
I am reminded of a beautiful prayer called "A Dog's Prayer" by Beth Norman Harris.
"Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footsteps fall upon my waiting ear.
When it is cold and wet, please take me inside, for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements. And I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth.
Though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshiper."
I know with time and the company of our other dog Rusty it will get better and I will be able to resume to the playing, practicing and life will continue. I hope!!! But as a violinist, musician, artist and admirer of all beautiful things that surround us I must confess it has made a big “mark” in my life as a person but also has a musician. It feels like a 14 year old chapter has closed. After all, I start thinking when we adopted Ajax… I had just gotten married and our first son was just born. I could say Ajax’s age (14) also represented our 14 years as a family with my wife and 2 boys. Interesting… He was with us during my last years in college, the start of my music career and all the ups and downs of life in a “new family” and as a musician.
Ajax was and always will be a great inspiration, a great companion and a missed friend. I must also had that he was the best music critic… as he curled up, enjoying the sun coming in thru the window, comfortably in his pillow and listened quietly to my daily practice every day for the last 14 years.
You will be missed dearly my friend… but you will be an inspiration every single day as I practice and remember you there by my feet, listening…
To you all with dogs (pets)… enjoy them and the unconditional love and support the give us!
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