There were more tears and lots of tissues at the vet’s office. As we said our final good-bye to Abby, we knew we were doing the right thing. Part of loving Abby was letting her go.
The decision was wrenching for us. But it was comforting to know we could prevent any further pain, suffering or—equally important—deterioration in the quality of her life. When the time comes, I hope we will be able to do for each other what we did for Abby—ensure a loving death with dignity, devoid of unnecessary suffering.
At one point during Abby’s final days, when we were using the special harness to carry her outside, my husband remarked, “It’s a good thing we go to the gym.” We each had a handle and shared the load, but it was a bulky, clumsy process getting her outside several times a day.
He had a good point. We work out regularly, eat well and keep ourselves in good shape. Were we not fit, we would not have been able to care for Abby as we did at the end. Equally important, we would not be able to take good care of ourselves and each other in our retirement years.
“Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?” Tina Turner asked in her song about love. The answer is clear. We all do, so we can love our pets, ourselves and one another. A broken heart, after all, is far better than no heart at all.