Old Dog was 17 years old. She was weak and palsied. And one leg was wizening up at a rate that was almost visible. She was stone deaf but had learned to respond to body language. We would beacon her with one hand or hold a palm out for her to stay and she understood all that very well. Her last couple of months she mostly slept. She ate little but seemed to not be in pain as she never whimpered or appeared restless.
Often in the last few weeks, I would have to lift her into an upright position and support her for a few steps before she was able to commence movement.
I felt the time had come so I said to Hub, “There is nothing for it, but to take her to the vet and have her put to sleep.”
Hub shook his head in disagreement and I could not understand as I knew we both wanted the same thing. For her end to be painless, and as humane as it could possibly be. So I just had to ask why he was not in agreement.
And that is when he told me the most surprising thing. Of all the magic ‘devices’ that make up a physical body – sight, touch, smell, emotions, etc., there is one too often overlooked. And it is the thing the brain does at the moment of death.
Hub was talking about the bright light, the warmth, the comfort, the peace, that comes at the very end. And although Hub (I think) holds no great faith in a paradise with harps and streets of gold, he is confident that at the moment of transition, our physiological bodies go into a transitioning mode that is as delightful as a sweet afternoon in the sun.
And his fear was, if Old Dog, was put down, shall I say, for lack of a better word, artificially, he feared that that loyal dog, so absolutely deserving of all good things, would miss the grand moment of euphoria, prior to that transition into --- nothingness, I guess.
I was amazed at this confession, but in pondering it I could not help but think that perhaps it was a notion with some worth. Many scientists are absolutely convinced that synapses in our brains do in fact deliver the magical euphoric visions that people with near-death experiences testify to.
But thankfully, if it be true, Old Dog was given that vision. She was given the bright light to guide her, the warmth and comfort of that light, and the peace it gives as well, because there she was one morning, asleep on the floor by the bed, and sometime during the night, she had followed the guide master sent to take her over to the other side.
We are sad because she has been with us daily for so long, life is not the same. But, at the same time, we are relieved that her exit was seamless for her.
And I am so much less sad, in believing what Hub told me, and thinking that her final dog-jog, was more than a well-lit, peaceful, warm, and comforting stroll. That it was, in fact, euphoric.