Friday, March 20, 2009

Gone to the Dogs

That's Jim on the left, Georgie on the right.

I really shouldn’t ever say “never” – that word always catches up with me, yanks me out of whatever I’m doing, and proves me wrong. This time, it’s a dog situation.

We had a lovely few days in New York and New Jersey, visiting family and friends, eating ourselves silly and me gleefully behaving like a tourist. There will be at least one post about the trip later, but right now I only mention the journey because less than five minutes after we were back home, Georgie, our girl dog, let out a sound I’ve heard her make only once before. I knew exactly what it meant: She snapped the major ligament in her left rear knee, putting her in pain and making her instantly lame.

Because this also happened four years ago, we knew what the choices would be: surgery to repair the knee; medication, which would guarantee a life of pain and deterioration; or put her down.

Mowgli instantly knew what he wanted to do, but I struggled for three awful days. She is not young. She has another, fairly benign health issue that might or might not indicate something serious. We don’t know how long she has left, with or without putting her through major surgery. The procedure is not cheap, and even though she’s in really good shape for her age, her recovery will be harder this time. And my love and esteem for her aside, she is a dog, and we’re in the middle of a recession for crying out loud.

Here’s the masala part: the man from India, where street dogs are a serious problem and most pet dogs live outside, wanted to do the surgery, arguing that the dogs trust us to take care of them, so we should do everything we can for them. Me, the American who raised the dog from a 10-week-old, wasn’t sure if surgery would be worth it, because of the cost of the surgery and the age of the dog.

We discussed it for days, but the final call was mine because technically, she is my dog. His position struck me as emotionally based, whereas I spent a lot of time trying to work the problem like a math equation, attempting and failing to solve for more than one “X.”

And here’s the “never” part: I said I’d never put her through major surgery at her age. But on Tuesday night, I looked at her and realized I simply couldn’t bear either of the other choices. It’s not logical, I’m still conflicted about spending the money, and yet, my decision came in the blink of an eye.

The surgery will take place on Monday.


  1. I know it was a hard decision, but I'm glad you're doing the surgery. Poor thing. I hope she pulls through OK. When she's sitting there looking at you in a couple of weeks. you'll be glad you did.

  2. Sounds like the right choice to me!

  3. My best to Georgie. Hope all goes well and recovery is swift.



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