Requiem for a Dog

02005-07-14 | Uncategorized | 16 comments

Arko 1 yr old

This morning shortly before 11AM the vet came to my house and put down the big dog, Arko. The dog had been in pain. He lost function of his left hind leg completely and, because a careless breeder left him with virtually no hips, the other leg could not support him. Arko had been refusing to eat any dog food for a couple of weeks, eating only meat offerings, and often hid out in a dark room. I know we did the right thing but it is hard to take a life – and it should be.

The above title link will take you to a set of Arko photos on Flickr.

Yesterday I spent an hour saving a hummingbird, which got lost in my garage and insisted on flying up against the skylight instead of down and out through the open garage door. I climbed on the roof several times to darken the skylight with black garbage bags and he eventually left…

This illustrates how important it is to keep our mind flexible, so that we can change perspective. The bird thought the only way out was through the skylight and it would have died trying… when all it had to do was relax a little, drop down a couple of feet, find a new perspective with a huge opening right in front of him… How often does this happen to humans! Often we humans are unhappy and even die because we get stuck on one perspective, unable or unwilling to shift. Genpo Roshi has explained that the word Dukha, which means suffering, is made up of two syllables, one meaning wheel and the other stuck. A wheel that is stuck cannot turn. It cannot change perspectives. The nature of a wheel is to turn. To be stuck is the worst thing that can happen to a wheel. To be stuck means suffering…


  1. Carolynn

    So sorry to hear about your old friend, Arko. It’s so hard to make that decision and say goodbye, but it’s the ultimate show of respect and unconditional love. My thoughts are with you.

  2. Carol

    I too am so sorry. Death is hard on and when it’s someone that close it’s even harder. He was a good friend. It’s like he knew it was time isn’t it… Maybe Arko knows more about the big picture than any of us now.

  3. Borya

    For one time in German:
    Jeden Tag wenn ich nach Hause komme, klettere ich über den Zaun in Nachbar’s Garten um einen kleinen Rauhaardackel zu begrüßen. Kennst Du diese kleine Kläffer? Er bellt jeden an und niemand traut sich in den Garten. Ich kenne den Hund, der übrigens Kobold heißt, seit seiner Geburt und mag ihn sehr. Er ist inzwischen für einen hund schon alt und ich fürchte den Tag, an dem es ihn nicht mehr geben wird.

  4. keats79

    I say requiem for a friend and companion. We are struggling with a similar situation with an old cat.

  5. Just Me

    My most heartfelt sympathies. It is a great loss.

  6. Luz

    Such a beautiful dog that I can imagine was such a big part of your family as is my dog. Sorry to hear of Arko’s passing.

  7. Carol

    And your thoughts on being willing to change our ways…to see other roads to take is so thought provoking. We really have to wake up or we are like that bird or the wasps that get stuck between my storm window and screen and insist on going deeper into trouble until I help them out and they fly free. Time to get out of my rut!!

  8. Adam Solomon

    All our thoughts are with you, but that goes without saying…so sorry for your loss. At least he’s no longer in pain. And the hummingbird story…eye-opening. I can’t begin to tell you how right you are–such a simple way to look at it, why don’t we all?

  9. Mel

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I have been in this situation myself many times and I feel your pain with you. What keeps me going is the anticipation of being able to reunite with them someday.

    Great point about the hummingbird. Sounds like the hummingbird had a hard time changing his/her perspective because of fear of the unknown. I think that’s the way it is with humans also. Perhaps people are unable to change their perspective because they fear what those changes might bring.

  10. princessflutter

    As heartwrenching as loss can be, it also bestows a feeling of relief that the suffering has ceased.
    I’m thankful that Arko is no longer suffering.
    Ottmar, thank you for sharing this part of your life with all of us. It is not difficult to get lost in your writings and your music.

  11. Eno

    It’s like they say, whether there is a heaven or not, that’s where dogs go.

  12. Gnome of the Garden

    Across a bridge
    To a new stream
    Life extended
    In a different Life
    with a view of you!


  13. Victor

    May we all be so fortunate to have friends of such devotion! Sorry for your loss Ottmar! And thanks so much for the perspective on the hummingbird!

  14. cookie jill

    I am so sorry for your loss…


  15. Malik Derendinger

    Hi Ottmar

    Es tut mir leid vom Tod deines treuen Freundes zu hören.

    Ich war todunglücklich als vor etwa einem Jahr mein Kater Bilbo, er wurde immerhin 15 Jahre alt, verstarb. Erst damals merkte ich wie sehr sich ein Tier in eine Familie einfügen kann. Es entstehen Rituale zwischen dir und ihm, es reagiert auf deine Gemütslage, es passt sich deinem Wesen an, es lernt und vor allem „liebt“ es dich. Betrachtet man all diese sozialen Verhaltensweisen, muss man sich eingestehen, dass diese kleinen Geschöpfe zu absolut gleichwertige Familienmitglieder werden können…

    Der Dalai Lama sagt einst über Sorgen und Schwierigkeiten: „Wenn du erkennst dass du eine Schwierigkeit lösen kannst, brauchst du dich nicht weiter darum zu sorgen. Zeichnet sich trotz all deiner Bemühungen keine Lösung ab, brauchst du dich auch nicht weiter darum zu sorgen, denn es gibt keine Lösung!“

    Fürwahr einfach aber nicht minder unwahr…


  16. Panj

    What a Blessing Ottmar, that you could be home with Arko as he slipped off his doggy suit…he must feel so light and frisky now, and very happy that no silly physical walls can keep him from your side…:-)
    By the way…I wonder if the Hummingbird will go back and teach it’s young and it’s young will teach their young…”if you can’t get free by going up…try down”…:-)
    Many warm hugsssss to your family from mine with extras thrown in for Bella!


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