"Now being a barber is a lot like being a barman or a soda-jerk; there's not much to it once you've learned the basic moves. For the kids there's the Butch, or the Heinie, the Flat Top, the Ivy, the Crew, the Vanguard, the Junior Contour and, occasionally, the Executive Contour."
- Ed (Billy Bob Thornton), The Man Who Wasn't There,
A hodge podge of good design, music ephemera, offbeat Americana, ad critiques, misty water colored memories of places I've lived and the Minnesota Twins.
I also run a little country blog called Both Kinds of Music.
I realize the decision to euthanize your pet is tremendously difficult, but I can’t shake the feeling that I did the wrong thing.
Gus was almost 13, but had bad arthritis for a few years. Some days he needed help getting down stairs by harnessing his back legs. Getting up from laying down was nearly always a struggle. Just not much strength back there.
He had a giant tumor in his ear that went down into his ear canal and who else knows where. It blocked the entire thing and stuck out his ear and inch or so. Pretty gross. It was inoperable as he would’ve bled out if we’d tried to remove it. My folks tried to have it removed and the doctor had to stop for that reason. What was removed grew back in a matter of weeks. Besides, the operation was outside of fiscal means.
It constantly wept - whether it was from infection roiling inside the ear or just like having a constant open wound. I had a rag around all the time to clean and dry it. It would turn his white fur yellow. The vet also said it that having a mass like that was like having a constant headache.
In recent days it started to bleed. It’s hard to say how much because blood always looks like a lot, but I lost my shit earlier this week around 1am because I couldn’t get it to stop and it was just flowing to the point that I thought he would die. We took him to the ER and they wrapped his head in a bandage that made his look like a civil war soldier. And they put the cone of shame on him. He was so scared and mad and wouldn’t sleep. I took the cone off in the morning because he was miserable then he ate and fell right asleep. Didn’t mess with the bandage at all.
He bled through the wrap and when I removed it I felt so terrible because the regular seeping hadn’t stopped and just collected under his chin with the blood that must’ve been awful to have under his nose. Nor had the bleeding stopped. Probably because of the wet environment.
With the bandage off, it would clot, he’d shake his head and it would start bleeding again, not a lot, but just enough. Stop then start again. Who has a perpetual bleeding wound? Was this the new normal? What if I wasn’t home when it bled like this? My walls look like a crime scene from shaking his head. I can clean up after him, that’s a small price. What about infection?
All that said, he was so full of life. So much enthusiasm. In no uncertain way, he tells you when it’s time to walk and eat. When it’s time to poop. Just to go out cuz he’s tired of being inside. Wagging his crooked tail.
It was a joint decision to put him down with my sister who bought him as a pup and lives nearby, but couldn’t keep him at her place. She didn’t think that having to go to ERs, wrapped heads and painful mobility was anyway to live. We went back and forth over a day and I almost said I wanted more time. But who is the time for? Could Gus have kept going? Sure. What face did he put on when we weren’t around? Was he secretly miserable? What kind of life is an alternating perpetually seeping/bleeding ear?
What would he have said given a say in the matter? I can live with this. I still love to walk and poop and bark and sleep. My life is pretty good out here. I got another 6 months in me. Or would he have said, I put on a good face, but yah this hurts a lot.
He’s gone now. I could’ve said stop outside the vet’s office, in the room, but felt like we’d chosen a path and didn’t want to yank the emotional chains everyone had hanging around them, but now I feel like I made the wrong choice. Like I let my buddy be put down without exhausting the possibilities. The WORST part was after the last injection and the spark, the glint that was always in his eyes was gone. I’m sorry Guster, but I hope you understand we didn’t want you to suffer pain anymore and at least give you the dignity of dying humanely and without having a long, drawn out hobble to the end.
Jerry Jeff Walker - My Buddy
Today I said goodbye to a dear friend and unwavering companion. Gus had an insatiable vigor for life even as his ailments took him down.
Rescued from the side of the road, Gus ended up having a rambler’s life wandering around these United States as he lived with almost all of my family. From his time a hillbilly pup in Alabama to a rat hunter in Harlem, over to the Cherokees as a fierce woodsman who turned back bears and finally in Los Angeles as the seasoned sage who would’ve chased those damned feral cats if his legs let him.
We bonded at an early age while he stayed with me in Minneapolis. He loved to chase after tennis balls with his big goofy paws and then not drop the ball when he brought it back.
When I’d see him at my folks’ place, he would greet me with a hearty barks, lots of licks and an immediate desire to play “throw me the ball and I won’t give it back”. NEVER turned down a chance to play ball, even as he got older and the returns became fewer and fewer.
Eventually his arthritis made it only possible to roll the ball a few feet. Even so, his distinctive thunderous bark always said “HELL YES I WANT TO PLAY BALL.”
Even brought it with us to the vet today so he could take it with him so wherever he goes he’ll have someone to throw as far as he wants, for as long as he wants. Heck, maybe he’ll save it for me.
I love you Gus and will miss you terribly. Bye buddy.
xpost just becuase