A eulogy for our dog
I found him while taking out the trash. He was across the road, drunk on scents and discovery, oblivious to everything around him up to and including traffic. I rolled my eyes and went over to him, prepared for a several minute chase to save him from a tragic vehicular demise. Instead, he took one look at me and almost literally leapt into my arms. When I returned, Karen's shocked expression was adorable. After all, from her perspective I had left to take out the trash and simply come back with an excited dog in my arms.
Because I'm a dork, we named Scirvir after "Scirvir the Wanderer", a character in my favorite game at the time: Demon's Souls. The name seemed appropriate because, when we found him, his tags said he was from Germantown, a place several miles away from here. He was filthy and panting and wandering the streets outside with reckless enthusiasm. After giving him a bath, we realized his natural colouring just made him look filthy. He also hadn’t wandered miles to get here. He simply had expired tags and had escaped from foster care at a house down the road. We adopted him immediately.
He'd been with us through our lives together. Through David's birth. Through our marriage. (Yeah, it was in that order.) Through the best and the worst those years had to offer. All the way through into his old age, he retained the enthusiasm and energy of a puppy. Even last night, he greeted all of his visitors with a wagging tail and mustered up the strength not only to tear apart his early Christmas present, but to go on a full length walk with me, my father, and his dog.
His last two days were paradise. On top of his visitors, we'd been feeding him the people food he'd always wanted, petting him endlessly, giving him all of our attention. When he went out, he was free to wander anywhere, the leash never dictating his path. On that last night, we moved all of our blankets and pillows to the living room and let him sleep between us.
On his final day, an entire rotisserie chicken awaited him, followed by rest.
The euthanasia was performed at home. Scirvir was as enthusiastic and happy to see the doctor as he was anyone else. He passed with his face buried in chicken, in his cozy bed, while being petted and told what an amazing dog he was.
Man, he loved that chicken. Part of me was sad that he didn't get to finish it, but in a way, it meant it was bottomless. Scirvir was always a “bowl half full” kind of dog, and that bowl was definitely half full.
Wherever we go after life, I'm not going to pretend it's something we have any hope of understanding. You start thinking about what it could be, and realizing you are already using our perception of reality to understand it, and that is probably wrong. One thing I do know is that there IS a point to existence. Otherwise, why would existence bother? That energy that is, in the strictest sense, truly us... it has to go somewhere.
Another thing I know is my dog. He's not self-reflective. He doesn't concern himself with things like shame or pride. He is what he is and does what he does without hesitation or regret. And wherever he's wandering now, he will do so for the same reason that he had when I first saw him:
Let's go see what's over there.
O Toy-breaker, Leaf-bearer,
so careless, so graceless,
yet never so noble;
O parhelion, who follows the day;
O hungering one, who leaves us
now starving for scraps of time;
O seeker, O speaker, O finder of friends,
O he for whom all is ever new;
Forgive these clumsy hands upon you,
forgive these clumsy words we give you.
We ask but that we may find you again
as we sing you down with the dusk.
No shining son was ever so beloved,
No setting son will ever be so missed.