Everything I needed to know about life, I learned from my Cocker Spaniel

On Sunday morning I did something that I never thought that I would ever do.

I gave my Cocker Spaniel to the Anti-Cruelty Society.

Even writing it makes my heart hurt.

You see, I’m what you would call a “dog person”.   Since my childhood, I’ve had lots of dogs - 1 German Shepherd, 3 mutts, 1Akita, 1Labrador, and 1 Cocker Spaniel to be exact.  Although all of the other dogs technically belonged to my parents, Capone – my cocker spaniel, was all mine.

For all intents and purposes he was my first child.

By now you are probably thinking, “I thought this chick was cool, but what type of person gives up her first kid?”

I’ve asked myself that same question for the past three days.

I got married three years ago, to a man who for all intents and purposes is NOT a dog person.  But out of his love for me, he married us both accommodating years and years of having his clothes peed on and his shoes eaten up.

As my dog grew older, his bladder became weaker and weaker, and waking up to “puddles and nuggets” became a more common occurrence.

We found ourselves bleaching our hardwood floors daily and shampooing our carpet weekly.  We tried walking my dog before and after meals.  We tried locking him in his cage during the night.  We tried a gluten free diet.  We tried thyroid medicine.  We tried everything.

Even with the introduction of our son into our lives, we continued to try to make things work.

Unfortunately, my dog couldn’t help himself.

So on Sunday morning, my husband did what I could never do, but what also needed to be done.  I had always told him that he would have to be the one to take him if it ever got to the point where it became unbearable.

So he asked me if I wanted him to go get some coffee.  He left out the house.  An hour later, in panic, I realized what had happened and I cried.

And though it hurts me deeply, I don’t resent my husband and I know that this was the best decision.  So for now, I try to appreciate all the little lessons that Capone taught me.

He taught me that good things happen when you least expect it:

He was given to my parents unexpectedly.  At the same time, my sister and I were moving out of the house for the first time and they gave him to us.  In return, I received eight years of unconditional love.

He taught me that you protect the ones that you love:

When I moved into a place on my own, my cocker spaniel turned into a vicious guard dog when he sensed danger.    He had a heck of a sense of discernment.   He often tried to attack people who wore their pants down low.

He taught me that the only things that really matter are food, water, and love.

He taught me that sitting in the sunlight makes you feel great.

He taught me that dogs, like people, like the taste of a good martini.

He taught me that sometimes, no matter how much it may hurt, relationships change and that no one is to blame.

He taught me that sometimes, the best way to love something is to recognize when you can’t love it the way it deserves to be loved;

He taught me that in life, sometimes the introduction and expansion of love in one aspect of your life calls for the end of love in another.

So I love you my Capon-y Macaroni.  Thank you for being a great friend.  I pray for you every night.  I hope that you are adopted by a millionaire who will feed you filet mignot for the rest of your life.

 

[Image provided by fashionstinks.com]

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    Kay S

    Kay Smith is a Chicago-based freelance writer and blogger who focuses on race, politics and urban culture. Having worked on public policy at the state, regional, city and community level, her opinions have been featured in the Chicago SunTimes and a host of news websites (under very mysterious sounding pseudonyms). Follow her on Twitter @kaywillsmith or contact her at kaywilliamsmith@gmail.com.

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