Karma the Dog has been an integral part of my family for roughly one third of my life. Think about that… for 31% of my existence, there has always been Karma.
She’s been there to greet me when I get home – whether it is a long trip out of town of a short trek to the grocery store. Karma is never mad and, even when she’s grumpy, she’s still adorable.
Karma is pure, distilled, absolute love.
We’ve now reached a point in Karma’s existence where we have to question the quality of her life. How does one do that, though? She never complains. She’s never upset. She’s just two large brown eyes full of love that wants you to love her back.
What’s truly painful right now is looking at her and seeing that confusion in her eyes. Her back legs don’t work anymore. When she tries to walk, they don’t follow and she looks at me with a combination of non-understanding and fear that she is doing something wrong because she can’t walk.
Let that sink in.
My dog feels upset that she can’t walk to me, and she thinks it is her fault.
Her brain is that of a three year old human, so there is only so much she understands – and I wish I could force her to understand that it’s okay. This isn’t her fault. This isn’t anyone’s fault.
This is the reality of time marching on.
So now I have to spend hours upon hours wondering when I should let her go. At what point am I being greedy by wanting to her to stay for the sake of me – and not for the sake of her life.
Sometimes those choices are made for you. That choice was made by my dad.
This one, though, will have to be made by me at some point – and my single biggest fear is that I will make the wrong decision at the wrong time. Should I have let Karma live longer? Should I let go sooner? Is she holding on to life for my sake, and not hers?
When is it okay to say good-bye?
Karma loves carrots. She loves being held like a baby. She loves the smell of the ocean air when we take her on walks. She loves pizza crust. She loves listening to Enya. She loves her ears rubbed vigorously. She loves falling asleep on my lap while I watch T.V.
Karma the Dog used to have her own LiveJournal. I remembered that today and, when I went to check, it was still there: karmathedog.livejournal.com
(Man, I wish I could stop crying while writing these things.)
Karma the Dog is more than my dog; she’s grown up and lived vicariously through the Internet. Social media has helped to make sure she’s not just a “Croom” – but a Brooks, a Hunnicutt, and an adopted cousin to all the #KarmaTheDogs out there.
Karma the Dog is her own “person” and this is the part where I wish she could talk to me like one. I wish she could tell me what she wants.
For now, though, all I can do is hold her in my lap and tell her that everything is okay (even though we both know better).