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Time to Get Real... December 1/20


I'm just 2 weeks away from my 63rd birthday. There's a lot to be thankful for. But this post isn't about making that list. You know, where you "count your blessings". It's about admitting things that I know that I need to work on. Over the years I realize that being a man has largely come with the baggage of concealing one's insecurities and shortcomings. But lately, I've come to understand that people, particularly men, can help to move things forward for all of us if we can be more honest about some of our human interactions.

In this case I'd like to come clean about my relationship with a dog that lived with me until he became I'll and was "put down" in 2011. Scooter was a lively Jack Russel terrier that had his quirks (he would chase is own tail when anxious). He would also "hump" your leg as an extreme show of excitement and affection. But it's more likely that it was because he needed more exercise. Between work and spending time with friends, I left Scooter on his own for more time than he deserved. I think that I was thinking, "At least I saved him from the pound," giving myself permission to neglect him. Thankfully, I had a neighbour who regularly took him for walks when I was at work.

Eventually he developed some sort of growth behind his eye that was causing him pain. I made the decision to "put him down" rather than let him suffer. I actually told him what I planned to do. He tilted his head and looked at me, unblinking. I don't think he understood my words. But I'm sure that he understood my tone. The photograph below looks like a guy and his dog. The truth is that it was taken on the day I took him on his last car ride. I was with him when the vet gave him that shot. Scooter was shaking, just before, and managed to gently lick my face. It was a goodbye.

I've thought about getting another dog. But I'm not sure if I'm suited to being a good dog owner. I feel that I need to be more considerate of its feelings and needs. It has to be more than a companion to fill my emptiness. I should be prepared to reciprocate his/her devotion.

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