Remembering Trevor

Trevor. Rest in Peace, Old Boy.

Good and Faithful 
“It’s not just arthritis,” the vet said. “He has some kind of neurological issue–maybe he’s had a stroke. That’s why his tail curls off to the side. And that whining at night? That’s not because he’s in pain–it’s senility. It’s the canine version of Sundowner’s Syndrome.”

“What can we do for him?”

“Well, I can give him an injection of a long-acting steroid. That will help for a month or so.”

“And then?”

“I give him another shot. It’s a bandaid, really. We can’t fix him.

We thanked her for her evaluation. Rich called the kids, then we made an appointment for the following Monday. We’d return to the vet’s office to execute one final act of compassionate ownership: After over fifteen years, it was time to euthanize Trevor.

But first the kids would say goodbye. It was right to provide time for farewells; after all, he’d been a Lagrand longer than me. Rebecca brought her tribe on Sunday; we returned from church to find all five of them, somberly gathered in our entry hall, forming an absent-minded circle around the dog. Big boy Phil, who is nine, curled into my lap when I sat on the stairs and reached out for a hug. I could feel the sadness seeping from him.

I explained a little bit about the Sundowner’s Syndrome. “He gets confused when he sees the darkness coming. It makes him anxious.”

“Is he afraid of the dark?” Phil asked.

“You could say that,” I answered.

Who isn’t afraid when darkness descends? The thought arrived later, long after the our kids and grandkids had left.

We’ve seen a lot of darkness around here lately. We attended two memorial services on Saturday. Distance parts us from beloved children and grandchildren at a tender, fragile time. And then there’s the ugliness in the news, reports of unspeakable evil shattering lives.

And our pack of three is now a pair. Trevor’s overjoyed bark will never again greet us as we return home, return to our sanctuary, our refuge from the snares of a challenging, beautiful world.

JD, Trevor, My Husband, Rich, and Doc. September, 2010.

He taught us a lot during his lifetime. 

And I’m thinking right now, right in the middle of this separation anxiety, this collection of hurts, this threatening darkness–right now is a good, good time for me to remember that light overcomes darkness, drives it right back to into its black hole. Trevor taught me, after all, what to do when confusion or fear chases me:

I’m going to chase after God and sit at His feet. 

For You light my lamp;
The Lord my God illumines my darkness.
Psalm 18:28 (NASB)