The Pain of Life
by Robert Dean Karp
(Santa Cruz, CA USA)
5/07/2012, early morning:
Akila the Wolf Malamute has been the closest thing to a child that I will ever experience. I listened to most every breath, and tended to each and every need as it arrived. In the recent past his breathing often became fast and accompanied by excessive panting, walking distances became very short. Getting comfortable became a challenge. We tried swimming therapy, Laser treatments and Acupuncture. His lack of interest in eating and drinking was the final indication that things were getting as close as they needed to be. Releasing Akila from the pain of life became apparently clear to me day by day over the past month or so. The past several days the bad has definitely been outweighing the good. Losing the only real partner I have had for the past 14 years, I found myself in need of the strength to do the right thing, for I knew this was the right thing. The thought of waiting longer would be at the price of more pain for Akila, and more degradation of both of our mental well-being which has been under much duress during this final process.
The birds started to chirp their greeting of another day; this was to be one of the saddest days of my life. Hearing them will always be another reminder of Akila. I did not greet this day well as puppy was sleeping comfortably next to me. Happy and at peace, and that is all I wanted for him.
Akila’s passing was as peaceful and sorrowful as could be imagined. Dr. Burtch at Pacific Vet has been caring for Akila since 2008 at the onset of his IBD issue when he bloated. She euthanized Akila in his favorite place - his truck, his den, his comfort zone. She was quite taken back as the tears fell from her cheeks. She said “I never witnessed a person with a bond as strong as Akila and you have shared”.
I will miss him forever and feel that this was the right thing to do at the right time. I never imagined the void I feel within me, one I have never felt before. Every day Akila possessed a significant amount of my mental capacity. He was always at the forefront of anything I did or planned. Akila’s special needs became pretty intense over the past couple of months, and to witness his decline over the initial weeks to the final days will be imbedded in my thoughts forever. I let Akila go before his degenerative myelopathy got to a point that he could not walk at all, or get up to relieve himself most of the time. Akila left as a proud Wolf with his dignity intact. Akila and I made hand/paw impressions in clay which I will be able to treasure forever. Now it is just me left to contend with the Pain of Life without Akila by my side.