Owning a pet is a wonderful experience, especially when you have a dog like Han. Han, with a huge, thick coat of yellow hair, and a disposition so sweet. Han who allows my niece and nephew to crawl all over him, Han who barks only when necessary, Han who allows smaller dogs to boss him around (poor thing, scared of my mom’s tiny Lhasa Apso — Han never gets to be top dog), Han who rests his head on my knee to let me know it’s petting time, and Han–named for Han Solo–who has been losing strength in his legs these last few years.
Today I had to put my sweet Han down.
Making that decision to take Han’s life has niggled at me this year. Han was over 13 years old, and sometimes he couldn’t walk very well. One night, several months ago, he couldn’t walk more than a few steps before falling down. The next day? He’s trotting beside me as we go for a walk.
I kept wondering would I know when the time is right. Yesterday, while at the vet with Spencer, I talked to Dr. Liz about Han. How do you know when an old, infirm, beloved dog needs to go? She gave me a good way to think of it — does he seem worn out or is the percentage of time when things are good much less than the percentage of the bad times? Han qualified for both.
So yesterday I made the decision that it was Han’s time. I looked at my calendar and decided that later next week would allow me plenty of time to give Han the “puppy love” that he needed before the end. I came home last night, looked at him, and told him I loved him (oh, and cried too). I also said, “Han, I hope this is right. If there’s something you can do to let me know I’m making the right decision it would make this easier.” An hour later he couldn’t walk anymore. See, isn’t he sweet? He made it easier for me, silly dog.
So, Han, I love you and thank the universe that you were part of my life. Goodbye, sweetpea.