So as I am working through this process of making a decision about Curly I am noticing there are a number of DUMB things people can say. This usually happens at the dog park - that great social forum akin to a children's playground. So for the sake of others who are losing or have lost their pet, I am going to rant (just slightly) about inappropriate things to do or say when someone is making this type of decision:
- DO NOT suggest that you can always get a replacement dog. That should be an obvious "do not" but for some reason people (usually ones without pets) think that will help.
- DO NOT tell me stories about dogs that have lived to 18 or 20. My dog is DIFFERENT. and it is not a CONTEST. He might live until he is 16 but I'm not sure that extra year will be all that great for him.
- Do tell me about all of the heroic measure you took to keep you dog alive. Again, it's not a contest. And isn't this about me right now??
- DO NOT second guess my choices. They may not be your choices but they are what I am comfortable with. I may choose to spend GOBS of money to keep my pet alive or I may not. It is my choice. I have provided the best possible care within my means. DO NOT JUDGE ME.
- DO NOT tell me that he looked pretty good the last time you saw him. Really? Does that 15 minutes give you the right to question my ability to judge my dog's health? This one especially irks me. Yes he looks good because I brush him and feed him good food. He looks great in fact, he just feels like poo because his body is shutting down. That 15 minute of park fame is not real.
And after the decision has been made :
- DO NOT try to talk me out of it or make me feel guilty for not trying to do more. Again - obvious but not always observed.
- Again, do not tell me that you had a dog that lived to 18, 20, or 50. I don't care... mine didn't. Mine is sick and I chose not to let him suffer for another year.
- DO NOT tell me about a magical solution. It is too late. He is gone and I am sad. And I doubt that your magical solution ever will cure that.
All you have to do is say that you are very sorry for my loss. That's it. SIMPLE. SINCERE. SHORT. I know it is a hard thing to talk about because you have to face the same thing some day. And sometimes it catches you by surprise so you aren't prepared to respond appropriately.
Don't assume everyone wants to be treated the same way that you want to be treated. The best quote I've seen on that is from our ultra talented, ultra smart designer in a piece she created for her Love Life book. She stated:
So true Kal, so true...
NOTE: Curly is still with us. He's on a bit of a rally at the moment. The "not to say list" is a combination of things people say to me as I debate the final decision and things I've heard people say to other people who have lost their pets. Curly dude is still here but is on codeine at the moment.