Hello Heartache, Make Yourself at Home

How grief got me good this time

Stacy Davlin
Human Parts

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I was recently forced to make the gut-wrenching decision to have my not quite 4-year-old beloved Boston Terrier, Quincy, put down. He developed a mass of unknown origin — probably cancer — in his abdomen that was untreatable. I spent thousands of dollars to find this out, and I got a couple of good weeks with him before it was clear that there was nowhere else to go from here. It was time for the worst visit you ever have to make to the vet. He was given the peace that I cannot yet find. I gave him that final gift without hesitation. After all, he was the best dog in the whole world, and I owed him that and so much more.

It’s not the first time I’ve had to make that trip either. I’ve done it with at least three cats and one other beloved Boston before Quincy. I think the Dixie Chicks said it best: “So hello, Mr. Heartache, I’ve been expecting you.” The thing is, I wasn’t expecting it, at least not with Quincy.

Between us, my husband and I have a Brady Bunch of pets including a 12-year-old Yorkie, one 12-year-old cat, and yet another 10-year-old cat. Any of whom I had resigned myself to sooner or later being faced with taking the trip. In fact, I had even played it out in my head. How it would most likely go with each of these elderly pets. But Quincy was never on my radar. I mean, he hadn’t even reached his fourth birthday yet.

That’s the thing about grief. We just don’t know when or how it will hit us. We always try…

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Stacy Davlin
Human Parts

Native Texan, transplanted to the Atlanta, GA area for my job as an epidemiologist with CDC. Lover of all things true crime, medical science, and introspective.