Bro Was Killed By My M.S.

The hardest thing about putting Bro down was that, if only I didn’t have M.S., he might have had several more years left in him. Whether he was in pain or not is not entirely clear to me. If he was, he was very stoic about it, as dogs sometimes are. But I was totally incapable of caring for him.

As most of you are aware, Bro only had three legs. He lost his right rear leg to surgery to stop a cancer in January of this year. The Dr. only gave him six months to live at the time. That he had shown no indication of infirmary in the 10 months since the operation led us to think maybe he had no need to lose it in the first place. It had broken in a slip on a wood floor, but the x-ray had shown signs of cancer, so we took it off. But he never developed illness.

As my M.S. developed, though, he had less and less exercise. I used to take him for walks with my three wheeled bicycle, but had not done so for at least the last two months. I had fallen putting the bike away and have been reluctant to get back on it since. I have to get over that.

Barbara, who had been putting him on the run for his bathroom duty, had gone to Hawaii when he started having an inability to use the remaining back leg, so I was alone with him. Unfortunately, the only way to get him out for bathroom relief was beyond my abilities. I could no longer put him on the run. For a number of days, he remained in the house, despite having no option to go outside ad thus no chance at an acceptable bathroom break.

Not his fault, but it was quite a mess. Friends later cleaned it up, and I have no idea what I’d have done without their help.

But I was the one that decided to kill him.

I have never been so aware of what the implications of having M.S. are.

Also, several items come to mind as side-benefits. One has to do with the simple fact that one can die as a complication of a non-fatal disease in a different person. Perhaps it would be better to just observe that you can be killed over it, whether you are a person or not, since that is what happened in this case. Another is the fact that I get a little touchy in this situation.

So what is going on here? I suppose I’m just feeling sorry for myself. Bro’s ashes sit on a table with a picture of a man and his dog taking a walk staring out at me. I suspect that my sorrow should rest more with Bro than with me. All I really know is that I miss him.

He never complained. Not even when he was justified. Like Barbara’s cat does, for instance. I’m not criticizing Barbara or her cat, mind you. Well, not very much. I’ve always been allergic to cats, so I’ve never gotten close to any of them. Not until Katin, at least. Katin is Barbara’s cat, and I don’t seem to be allergic to him. Maybe I’ve finally just outgrown it.

At any rate, Barbara has been without a cat as long as she has been with me because of my allergies. She got Katin during our separation and I’m very glad she did. Not only does she love him, but I’m glad to have him around too. They say people live longer who have pets, and I believe it. We need our pets. Love has never shortened lives. At least that’s not the general rule.

Why, though, do our most significant pets live so short a time? That seems like a very significant flaw in the overall plan. It may even be one of the most glaring flaws in the argument for an intelligent creator. Why would an intelligent, caring for humans, god do this? I just don’t get it.

He was the only dog Ive ever had who would stop licking when told to. He lived to please.

Rationality lets me off every time. Bro’s time had come. He‘d never have lived forever. I couldn’t care for him myself any longer. What kind of life would it have been for him without hind legs, anyway? Sooner or later, it was bound to come to this.

Still, I miss him, and I killed him.

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4 Responses to Bro Was Killed By My M.S.

  1. George,

    I’m so terribly sorry for your loss. It’s one I know closely having lost Shyla after 15 years. I’m sorry that you were unable to care for Bro as you would have liked to at the end, and I’m assuming that you had him put down at the vet, rather than you having to take his life yourself.

    It’s amazing to me how stark the lessons become when we are in emotional pain. I’m glad you have the reflective mind and big heart that you do so as to have access to these deeply meaningful insights.

    My guess it was an act of compassion to have him put down at this stage. I remember Shyla was very uncomfortable–embarrassed even?–when she couldn’t control her bowels any longer. Grace took her before we needed vet intervention and she took her last breaths in my arms at home.

    I miss her terribly still, some 3 years later.

    Part of the gift I received from her was to experience her full life span–from a puppy to a wisdom-filled crone. She taught me how to live with in-the-moment joy; dignity and grace through pain, illness and eventually death; and so much more. I couldn’t imagine a bigger gift from a being than that.

    Thank you for sharing your tender emotions right now and I hope your journey unfolds with a lot of self-compassion and acceptance of the different stages of grief. To me, the depth of my grief shows me the depth of my love.

    Much love to you, my friend.

  2. Hank Raymond says:

    It was his time George. His quality of life was going downhill fast and nothing anyone could have done could have changed that.

  3. Jim Leonardis says:

    I’m so sorry George. Bro was a gift that stayed with you many years, and the memories will be with you for many more. As any of us know that have had a loving relationship with a dog there’s not much in life that can be as rewarding and fulfilling. Their love, Bro’s love, is unconditional, a very rare commodity, and as such is tough to replace.
    I would take exception to your statement that you killed him. Of course you would have wanted his last years/months to be different but they were what they were. I have no doubt that Bro was appreciative of whatever you gave him and accepting of the things that were lacking. Like all of us, you did the best that you could. That’s all we can do.
    May you be left with fond memories and images of times together, loving affection shared, and gratitude for the time you had together. It’s a long journey some times.


  4. Barbara says:

    Bro was a sweet-natured old boy. He’s left quite a hole in the house.

    I, too, must protest your idea that you or M.S. killed him. You had a tough decision to make and chose a merciful path.

    and thanks, friends, for kind & thoughtful comments.


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