March 25, 2006

The Hardest Decision

Yesterday, Megan and I made the hardest decision we have ever had to make.

We knew it was coming, but we didn't want to admit it. But it finally faced us, demanding an answer, and through our tears we knew what the answer had to be. We will send our friend and companion, who traced the arc of our lives together almost from the beginning of our relationship, through the last door of life into a place where we cannot follow him.

Hannibal has been deteriorating. We've known this a while. But because he was still interested in begging our cheese and toast and ice cream, we overlooked that he was having more trouble walking and standing. Actually, we didn't overlook it, but we simply made adjustments for it, occasionally remarking on it. Over the past year, he got sick a lot, and we accommodated that too. We did what was necessary, dropping lots of money, because that's what you do when someone in your family gets sick. You care for them, and spare no expense.

Some may say that we went overboard. Our vet seemed impressed that we were willing to take care of him past the point where some other dog owners would. Not to make ourselves sound saintly, because perhaps when we own a pet the next time we will make different decisions. But we love this dog and treasured every additional minute that he spent with us.

On Tuesday, all that will come to an end. We will be left with his memory, and our lives will have to adjust once more...this time to his absence. We have traveled a lot of roads on our journey to this moment, which have ranged the gamut of emotions from joy and happiness to most recently sorrow and grief. But one emotion has remained constant - our thankfulness for Hannibal's contribution to our lives. I told Megan the other day that I felt he made me a better person, and I mean that. And I know that half of the great people that we've met and made friends with in the past 15 years would not have entered our life had Hannibal not been present. With his pure white coat, so distinctive among dogs, to his friendly and outgoing demeanor, his patience with people, and his love of life, he was a magnet and made friends in the most unlikely places. Our lives have been enriched not only by Hannibal's presence, but also the ways in which he has led to other, important presences in our lives.

Hannibal, we will miss you terribly. You will leave a big hole in our life. Eventually, we'll find ways to fill the hole, but like dirt settles into a hole, those new things will settle and pack in, leaving a lasting imprint that will constantly remind us of you. Posted by Picasa


Blogger typingelbow said...

I will miss Hanna-blee too. My thoughts are with you guys.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Mary B. said...

I called him Hannah-belle in New Orleans using my thickest shades of Scarlet O'Hara accent. He seemes to like it. :)

10:29 AM  

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