It’s Hard To Dig A Grave…

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Written by Maggie Percy

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…with a cracked rib.

Not two weeks ago, Nigel and I were faced with an unexpected and unpleasant event. Our older dog, Lee, took a turn for the worse and was unable to eat, drink or walk within a three day period right before Christmas 2014. Two days earlier, I had fallen and cracked a rib. Needless to say, I was not sleeping well, and lifting things was not easy. Nigel had a flare-up of his shoulder inflammation at the same time.

Then our 60-pound elder dog Lee fell apart. We couldn't believe he failed so fast. We carried him outside on a stretcher made of a beach blanket, struggling to carry his weight so he could urinate. We tried lifting and holding him up. We tried to entice him to eat and drink. It was in vain. We finally took him to the vet's for euthanasia after much dowsing and careful consideration. It was obvious he was in pain and had lost control of all functions. Many tears were shed. We brought him home to bury him in the pet cemetery behind our home. But digging a grave when crippled isn't easy.

I wielded the shovel and Nigel swung the pickax. Each swing hurt badly. My efficiency was less than 50%; I could tell Nigel was hurting, too. If it hadn't been such a sad event, it would have been comical to watch it. Two over-60 people trying to do physical labor when they were clearly not fit for it. No matter, we managed to dig a good hole to bury Lee in, and we gave him a nice service. Right before Christmas.

Now the new year has started. 2014 was a real challenge in many ways. Most of them, we were able to see the opportunity. But the final one, losing Lee, was hard to assimilate. It was hard to be positive about. Lee was not the cutest dog I ever had. He was not karmically bonded with me the way a few dogs in my past were. But he was clearly the best dog overall that I ever had the pleasure to have as part of my family. He will be greatly missed by us and many of the remaining pets in our furry family. Thank you, Lee, for bringing your love and compassion and patience and strength to our family these past years. We hope you join us again in the future.

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