Tuesday, September 26, 2000

Tears to Tahoe

Today was the day. Before the vet opened for customers, they let us in to have Buddy put to sleep. Peggy came with me. Buddy was so happy to be out in the car, but lay with his head near my lap as I drove. I don't know if he was just feeling miserable or if he sensed that I was. The vet was almost as upset as we were. This is our third dog in 11 months that she has put to sleep, and as she was a classmate of our daughter-in-law, Audra, she was also aware of the other family tragedies we'd been through. She had tears in her eyes when she came into the exam room.

She decided to give Buddy a sedative first and he gradually got sleepier and sleepier. If it wasn't that I knew it was his final moments, it would have been cute/funny. As the sedative took effect, his tongue started hanging out of his mouth. He'd lick his nose, but couldn't seem to get the tongue back in his mouth and it would lie flat on the floor. I sat on the floor next to him petting him. Peggy and I were both sniffling.

The vet came back in with the injection. She just got down on her knees and gave him the shot on the floor so he didn't have to be lifted to the table. Then we both held him until his heart slowed...slowed...and slowed and finally stopped. It hurt more than I expected to watch the little guy die. He was a lovely little dog, but he had been in such pain and it was a favor to help him not hurt any more. Why do we treat our pets with more compassion when pain makes life unbearable than we do our humans?

It was a little awkward leaving the exam room. There was a dead dog blocking our way. I hated to treat him like a mound of garbage, but I had to push him out of the way to open the door wide enough to let us out. If I didn't have so many tears in my eyes, it would have been kind of funny.

"Dontcha hate Mondays? Wash, clean, slaughter pets.... "

Cruel, heartless bitch that I am, I found that comment by a friend to be humorous. After all this death--you just have to laugh through the tears.

After we got home from the vet's, showered, and packed, Peggy and I took off for a couple of days at Lake Tahoe, with our first stop in Sacramento to make a drop-off to the Sacramento Theatre Company. Then onto I-80 with our wheels headed up the mountains.

We stopped in the historic town of Auburn and decided to do some meandering through some of the shops. At "The Hairy Dog," we talked at length with the owner, who tried to sell us a $3,000 diamond bracelet (we decided that even the 50% discount wasn't tempting enough) and showed us some lovely paintings, all with lovely prices.

We had better luck at Nichol's Quarters, a combination gift/junk shop, where Peggy got some zebra statues to add to her collection and I bought a Halloween gift for Mike (who doesn't read this, but I won't say what it is anyway--but it's cute and will add to his cow crap collection).

Since it was after 1 p.m., we stopped in a little diner for lunch, splitting a club sandwich (since Peggy ordered one for herself in Sausalito and discovered it was more food than she wanted). We were going to just have the sandwich, but the owner of The Hairy Dog, who had come in for lunch, stopped by our table and told us we HAD to try the pecan pie, which the owner made herself. Well, with such a recommendation, we couldn't pass up the opportunity and split a pecan pie too. It lived up to its press and was just enough to satisfy without filling.

Back on the road again, with one final stop at a scenic overlook to take some pictures of Donner Lake. It was just a glorious day. Clear, sunny, slight breeze, and no people around. Peggy said, "It doesn't matter how the rest of the day goes. Thanks for this." I was pleased.

We got here to the condo around 3:30. Our plan had been to spend tonight in Reno (tho neither of us is a gambler) so we could take some night photos, but we were both so relaxed when we got here, that we just brewed up some coffee and sat here talking until about 5:45 when we decided we should go "do something."

We drove down to a small shopping center near the lake. Walked down to the lake and watched the changing lights as the sun began to set. Then we checked out the mall. Went through a Thomas Kincaide gallery, but decided not to buy any of the expensive paintings. (We saved a lot of money by not buying expensive trinkets today. Good for us!) We ended up at Jake's restaurant, where we sat outside on a balcony overlooking the lake and watched the mountains change color as the sun set behind them. Each minute brought a new look to the vista. The air turned cold, but we were nice and warm sitting under the nice lamps, which also provided a heat source and made it feel as comfortable as sitting in the living room.

The night is ending with waiting for Australian Cathy Freeman to run her race. Then I suspect that all this mountain air has made both of us sleepy enough that it will be an early night.

This place sleeps 17 in beds and we've both staked out couches for sleeping tonight!

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