03:37:04 pm on
Tuesday 28 Sep 2021

Gandalf is Gone
AJ Robinson

Source: AJ Robinson

It’s never easy saying farewell to a beloved pet. Let’s face it; any pet lover knows we MUSSTG go through the event many times over the course of our lives. Just the other day, we had to say goodbye to dear old Gandalf.

OVID-19 makes grieving more difficult.

Now, as we’re still dealing with COVID, the dealing with the passing of Gandalf was a bit different from pets in the past. Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, for example, we took them to the vet. Not this time.

A wonderful service Jo Ann learned of would come to our house. She set the appointment for last Monday. Normally I’d be at work, but I’ve been nursing a bad chest cold for several days, so I was working remotely up in my office.

I made a point of coming down to be with her and Gandalf for the final moment. She sat in her chair with him in her lap, his favourite place. The man gave him a mild sedative, so he would sleep. We had to laugh; he was snoring in no time!

Yes, that was Gandalf, tiny little dog with such a big pair of lungs. We held and pet him, stroked his floppy ears, and the man then prepared the final injection. He explained everything; how Gandalf would react, how long it would take, and then asked if we were ready.

We were. He gave him the shot. The tears started and I handed Jo some tissues. Gandalf’s breathing became labored, which was the first sign of the medication taking effect.

We held Gandalf. We wept. He grew silent.

He has his wings now.

The man got out his stethoscope and checked Gandalf’s chest. “He has his wings now,” he said. We said our final goodbye.

The man asked if we’d like an imprint of Gandalf’s paw. He had some putty or clay with him. We said yes.

He made a quick impression and set it aside saying we’d need to let it set for about a week. Jo Ann made sure to carve his name in it. The man then went outside to get a small wicker basket.

Easing Gandalf up into the man’s arms, we transferred him to the basket and covered him with a little blanket. He would take Gandalf away to be cremated and then return the ashes to us. He left a little booklet with us that had some stories and poems in it. Among poems was Rainbow Bridge, one of my favourites. And that was the end of it.

I stayed with Jo Ann for a few minutes as we comforted each other. Then I went back upstairs, partially to return to work, but mostly to give her some privacy. After all, Gandy had really been her dog and so she needed to grieve and on her own terms.

As with so many instances in the past, it had been a hard decision to make, to put down Gandalf, and yet we knew it was the right one to make at this time. Poor Gandy was in pain. His hips and spine made him miserable, his eyesight was terrible: he often had trouble finding his way back inside even with the door open and one of us calling to him.

May we all be so fortunate

The vet told us once that if he was a human, he’d been looking at double hip and knee replacements! Yes, the old dog’s quality of life was poor and so we did what any loving pet owner would do, we let him go. Gandalf passed from this world in our arms, surrounded by love and without pain..

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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