I went to the animal emergency care with my friend a couple of days ago.
This is a big deal in my world. Historically, I have been extremely fearful of dogs, hell pretty much all animals. I’m still uneasy around them when they are unleashed or unhandled, but am not the screaming, heart-pounding wild woman I used to be in their presence.
To this day, though, I will not willingly enter any space where they are unhandled or unleashed. But here I was.
Knowing my history with animals she had asked me to be with her. I was humbled. And I also knew I had to do it. She said I seemed to “understand.” The vet wanted her to euthanize; she was convinced that would be a betrayal and that Louie would make that decision. After sharing her life with Louie for 9 years, she knew she would recognize when that decision was being made. I agreed based on the end-of-life I’ve witnessed in humans whom I’ve loved who have transitioned. Once they make a decision, our society often accepts and uses morphine-induced euthanasia. We don’t name either–the euthanasia as euthanasia nor the decision as theirs. But really, as their conversations go silent; as they stop desiring or retaining nutrition; as their organs fail in order, they/their bodies—not us—are making the decision. Life, my friend and I both agree, is life and it ends. But it should be honored as belonging to the owner of it.
As it turns out being uneasy around animals is not the same thing as hating, nor does it require me to hate, animals. There are people who cannot be around young people without a similar discomfort, uncertainty, and uneasiness. But rarely do we accuse them of hating young people. And eating (or not eating) animals is not corroborating evidence of one’s lack of compassion or awareness either.
My diet no longer including animals, among other life choices, is more and more affected by a determination that where I can I should honor all life. (Which may mean that I might have to stop wearing my beloved Chucks and Adidas soon, but that’s another post). Still, it’s not all about that. Like I started growing out natural hair, the diet choice never began at some uber-conscious awareness of things. Yet here I am.
And there I was. In an emergency room for animals. My uneasiness curbed for the cause.
Louie lives. She’s elderly and sickly but feisty and in charge of herself. I’m very glad my friend invited me to be with her; it gave me a new perspective on myself I couldn’t have gotten otherwise and probably helped me as much as I “helped” her.