I am waiting for a service dog. I've been approved and accepted, and I'm waiting for the dog to be matched and trained and paid for! While I'm waiting, I'm doing all I can to prepare, naturally. I read, I talk, I research.
Naturally, one "knows" that people live longer than dogs do. As I'm a "senior citizen," I've made arrangements for the dog for when I die, assuming I will die before the dog will. But, what if I don't die first???
I follow some blogs by / about service dogs. One of them, SSD Winston, died the first of this month. It was so sad. He had been sick off and on for a while, but seemed to be getting better, when he suddenly became worse and had to be put to sleep. There was time for all of his "family" to get together and say goodbye to him, but still, how hard for all involved! He was the mainstay for his disabled partner, and now she is alone. She is less independent, less able to function, more dependent upon the vagaries of other people who have their own lives to live. She is most perturbed.
Another one, Venney, was in England. He lived to 12, which is old age for a Labrador Retriever. He will be missed by all his friends, but especially by his disabled partner who is devastated.
And I will be lost if I should outlive my service dog. To grow together in a relationship of mutual interdependency that is similar to a marriage, and then to lose the partner who makes your independence possible - that just seems to be terribly, impossibly tragic.
Yet, perhaps this is a metaphor for all of our lives.