Clinic Stories

Two True Loves

He walked slowly up the driveway from behind the office, a man well into his 80s, and entered the front door. He was a big man - tall, broad shoulders, huge hands. In his day he had been a force and even though he was bent with age, his demeanor radiated confidence. In a raspy voice, he struggled with the words. "I need to put my dog to sleep". My offer to get the dog from the car was met with a simple "No." He shuffled to the car and carried the 45 pound dog back around to the waiting room. He laid her on the scale, and there she stayed, no longer able to stand. "Do you want to be with her when we put her to sleep?" "No, I can’t." "Do you want the ashes back?" "Yes." He paid, and before leaving, walked over to his dog, and in the simplest and most heartfelt words I have ever heard, said "Good bye, Lady. You’ve been a good dog. I love you." He then turned and walked out of the door. I never saw him before and worried that his grief could be more than he could bear. This was not the sensitivity I expected of the man I saw walk in the door.I was at the front desk when he came to pick up Lady’s ashes. His spirits were good and he words were as economical as before. Holding the box of ashes he proudly announced in his hoarse whisper, "I’m going to bury her with my wife." This was the man I thought had walked into the door. I am certain that before nightfall, his two true loves were reunited.

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