Tue, 18 Feb 2014 02:24:20 +0000

I cut my dog's hair this week.

This shouldn't be so emotionally complex, but she's old and she's frail and she's shaky. So it is.

Leaving a dog at the groomer should be a guiltless act. But when that dog is sensitve, attached and 16 years old — and when she looks at you as if this is goodbye, forever — it gets complicated.

Perhaps I should've done this sooner, but it's been a brutal winter and her puffy hair kept her warm. But it soon became matted and uncomfortable; it became more merciful to cut it, though it meant letting her shiver in the Connecticut cold twice a day.

It was a terrible haircut. My brother says she now "looks homeless." So it's possible we'll have to go to the groomer anyway. If so, the stress I caused her seems wasteful.

I was an anxious boy who stumbled upon an anxious dog about 16 years ago. I remember she had expressive eyes — like that of a human. Even today — even with a burst of cataracts in her left one — they poignantly communicate angst or sorrow or happiness.

It really shouldn't be this complicated, but it is. If it wasn't, though, it wouldn't be worth it.