The Last Wagon Ride

Occasionally I see people pulling a utility wagon with a large dog on it in a park.   It is a lovely sight.  It shows how much the human loves the dog.  Walking is our most important time together.  Many of us become very attuned to our dog.  We are like two energy body tethered to each other and eventually become one.  When a large dog loses mobility due to age, some of us would do anything to make up for it.

However, I rarely see the same wagon with a dog again.  I had been wondering what happened to the wagon.

Now I know.

My 80+lb dog started to refuse walking more than a block.  He wanted to go out and walked several yards to finish his business.  Then he turned around and went home.  Sometime I could entice him to walk around the block, but not to the dog park he used to love to go.  The weather was great and I wanted him to spend some time in the dog park, where he was loved by senior humans.  I thought for a while and decided to buy a utility wagon.

Every morning for a couple of weeks, I put him on the wagon and pulled it to the park.  He walked around, got treats from his friends and lay down. Then I put him back on the wagon and pulled it back to home.  It was a physical work.  People loved to see him on the wagon looking around.  “My dog has a chauffeur,” I told them.  He looked happy and content.

Then my dog suddenly collapsed in my apartment.  He defecated unusual amount of poop.  He lost control of his lower body and rolled on his feces.  I didn’t think any taxi would take a poop covered dog, so I put him on the wagon and pulled him to the ER for 20 some blocks.  On the way to the ER, I promised him I wouldn’t let him suffer.

Long story short, I took him home and spent a night with him.  The next day I took him for his last wagon ride.  It broke my heart but I knew it when I ordered the wagon.

He didn’t suffer and he passed in my arm.

With my last dog and cat, I let them suffer because I couldn’t let them go in time.  Not this time.  It was the gift only I could give him.

Then I realized that it was how I wished I would go.   Unfortunately being human, only I can give the gift to myself.

Dogs Keep a Promise


Last night I talked a woman through putting her unconscious dog to sleep.  She is somebody I constantly bumped into in Central Park when I took my dog for a weekend morning off leash walk, a doggy friend, not a human friend.  We never saw each other without dogs.  My dog passed about a year ago.  Since then, I haven’t seen her.   That’s how it works.  People with dogs and people without dogs occupy separate worlds in the city.

She was one of those people who lived for their dogs, who won’t leave their dog alone more than a couple of hours.  One of us who don’t trust people, but trust dogs.  One of us who learn what love feels like for the first time through our dogs.

Her dog had a cancer surgery and came back home O.K.  Then suddenly the dog collapsed and lost consciousness.

I’ve been there.  My dog had a brain tumor and one day suddenly collapsed at the ripe age of 14.

She knew there are no options but one.  She just needed confirmation from somebody else.  She had already spent 10 hours in the hospital waiting for her dog to regain consciousness.

Most of time, we know what we should do, and still sometimes we need to convince ourselves to do.  We get  trapped in the fear of should have, could have, might have.  What we need is somebody who hear what we can’t say and mirror it back.

She said she wanted to follow her dog.  I told her I felt the same way. But then after one year I still feel my dog’s love saturating my life on a nice spring day.

Dogs keep a promise a person can’t.
–Dr. Bloom.
A quote from Hannibal by Bryan Fuller