(This is not a photo of Troup
Yesterday, I stopped for a “sales call” at a veterinary clinic that I don’t exclusively service. I wanted to drop off some of our new brochures and talk with the Dr.’s if possible. I pulled into the parking lot at the same time as another vehicle. I could see he had a dog in the car, so I waited for just a minute because I didn’t want to barge in ahead of this person. He’s the client, not me. Back in “The Old Days” I would have probably been in a hurry and ran in ahead. But…..I have time now. I watched as the man opened up the back hatch of his car and helped his dog out. A beautifully colored Rottweiler. I could see the dog was struggling. He was weak in the back legs and muscle atrophy had taken most of his back end. I immediately jumped out in case the man needed a hand. I followed him in without saying a word, but was there if he needed. As they were heading in he said, “Cmon Troup, hurry up before you run out of gas”. It was then that I knew. This was their last trip together. I stepped ahead and opened the door for them. When we got inside the receptionist greeted them warmly and said it would be just a minute. I stayed back, not wanting to get in the way. Nor did I want to talk to the receptionist about pet cremation services, or even say who I was. I just told her, “I’ll wait”. Wanting to give them their space, I stayed a comfortable distance away from the man and “Troup”. But, all of a sudden Troup turned around, looked at me and with all the strength he could muster, walked over. His tail was wagging and his tongue hanging out as he panted away. He leaned up against me as I pet him and scratched him between his ears. Then the man said softly, “Yup, this is our last trip to the vet……… but we’re okay with it, we know it’s time.” I told him that I was sorry to hear that and that he is a beautiful dog. Then they were called in. I gave “Troup” one last pet and look in the eye, and watched them walk away. This all happened within the course of about 5 minutes. But it still has a lasting impression on me as I write about it this morning. I suspect it will have an impression on me for a long time. In fact, I will probably always remember it. There was something about those five minutes with “Troup”. I wasn’t there as the person who you come to after your pet has died. I was just there. I don’t even know if I was there for anyone other than “Troup”. Or maybe in a strange way, he was there for me. Silently teaching me one of life’s lessons. Either way, I’m glad I was there.