Thursday, January 11, 2007

Our dog Ruthie

Thanks everyone for reading and responding to the posts. I will most likely address them in the future because I think the ideas and topics can be expanded but I'm feeling down and depressed today. My wife and I had to euthanize a beloved pet yesterday. I wrote about her on my other blog and decided to cross-post to here.

Beth's favorite picture of Ruthie

We put our dog Ruthie down today. There are other euphemisms for death: putting to sleep, no longer with us, gone to heaven, the suffering is over, and euthanize are some of them. I would have given up a great deal in my life to never have to face this day and to keep myself from using any of these words.

I've owned a lot of dogs in my life and known many more. Some of these dogs have been whip smart and others not the brightest bulb in a room of one. Some have been outgoing and friendly while others needed to have their trust earned. I've known ones that were great play mates and others content to be loving companions. Some have been big and some have been small and many have been medium. Some have been clowns and others have had a dignified air. Some have been great pains in the arses and others have been capable and helpful.

Ruthie has been the most unique dog I have ever known. I don't know if I will ever have the language or the words to describe to you in a way that will convince you of this but I am inalterably set in my conviction of it. My sister described her as sweet and that is part of her essence. I will probably write more about Ruthie in future posts, but I don't have the heart for it just now.

Theologians and other religious scholars have been endlessly debating whether animals have souls. Most reject the notion, trying, I think, to reserve a special divinity for humans and separate us from animals. Every dog and cat I have lived with and known has had a personality that helps to distinguish and identify them as individuals. And when they die, the special little spark that animated the body is gone, never to be realized in my lifetime again. It is this fact of an individual personality that convinces me that animals have souls. It is a Jewish tradition to light a candle at sundown to honor the deceased and on the anniversaries of their death. We will light a candle tonight and in future years but they aren't necessary to remember Ruthie.

Ruthie, Mochie, and us way back in Watsonville. It took many months for Ruthie to look at or warm up to me but eventually she did.

Beth and Ruthie with my nephew Hunter and niece Alena when we lived in Watsonville

Mochie and Ruthie. We found the perfect companion for Ruthie when we adopted Mochie. There was never a time when they squabbled or even growled at each other.

Mochie and Ruthie basking in a slant of sunshine in our dining room in New York.

Beth enjoying the fresh air with the dogs. There was an instant establishment of a special bond between Beth and Ruthie during the moments they first met. Ruthie always kept herself in close proximity to Beth, almost annoyingly so at times, making Beth the center of her universe.

my favorite picture of Ruthie