Monday, April 21, 2008

Dogs and death part 1

This is my border terrier Banner. He's a sweetie, and I love him ... but he's a little ball of anxiety. Banner is what behaviorists call shy/aggressive, especially around other dogs. We were at the vet's office last week, and our vet was running a little late. I heard some nose-blowing coming from the behind the exam-room door, and the receptionist told me in a whisper that the appointment before ours had turned into a euthanasia.
When the door to the exam room opened, a middle-aged couple walked out, sobbing, and holding a lifeless golden retriever, wrapped in a blanket. Its legs were drooping loosely to the side. They walked past us, and as they did, the dog's legs nearly fell into Banner's face. He sniffed with curiosity but did nothing. I'm telling you, had this dog been alive, Banner would have lunged and growled at the big dog getting in his face. I think Banner knew the golden was dead. And this dog that gets anxious at the littlest thing, showed no signs of anxiety about death—no licking of his nose, no yawning, none of the normal things dogs do when they are nervous. I felt the need to reassure him, saying, "Don't worry; they don't do that to everyone here." But Banner was completely fine.

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