Today I took Benny to the vet to be euthanized. He has been declining for so long I can barely remember when he was the feisty, aggressive, dangerous dog that I adopted from Phyliis because her husband wouldn't have him in the house. Over the many years I had him, he mellowed somewhat, but he was a biter to the very end. I have known for some time that it was time for him to go. He was deaf, blind, and barely able to walk. He was incontinent much of the time. Nevertheless, how I hated to make that decision. How do I have the right to decide that anyone should die? Once life is gone, there is no changing your mind. And who is to decide when non-existence is better than life, no matter what that life is like? The decision to end Lytton's life was in that way easier to make. He was so obviously suffering with no chance of relief. But Benny wasn't suffering physically as far as I could tell. He was just empty of everything that made him a dog. He never knew where he was, couldn't find his way out of a corner, couldn't find his food or water. Touching him startled and frightened him. He slept most of the time, and the rest of the time he wandered around bumping into things and falling down.
Still, death is permanent. Nothing makes that okay for me. And deciding that Benny would no longer exist was very difficult. He was a rotten dog, but he was a little piece of life that I have snuffed out.