There’s a reason they call dogs “man’s best friend”: We love ‘em! Dogs are loyal, fun, and happy as clams just running in circles and sniffing interesting smells, wagging their joyful tails the whole way.
But when they get old they need to be killed. And that’s where men come in.
When a dog gets to the point where yearning for death’s sweet release is obvious in their doleful eyes, that’s where Dad moves beyond being the “male-legal-guardian” and “certified-husband” -of-the-house and becomes the MAN-of-the-house.
But ending the life of the 14-year-old golden retriever that your children sincerely cherish as much as each other, and you, is super lame, to say the least. But it doesn’t have to be!
Below is a guide to putting down your family dog when it’s his time but in a cool way.
1. Cry silently while clenching your jaw tight and staring with a steely gaze out into the calm autumn chill.
Don’t force this! It will come naturally because what you are about to do is extremely sad, made only sadder by its necessity and the mercy it renders.
Contrary to common belief, men crying is very cool as long as it’s done begrudgingly. The tears need to look like they’re pushing so hard to get out of your face that they might start leaking out your whisker holes.
2. Do it with a gun.
Veterinarians and women will suggest you give the dog a chemical injection so it can slowly drift off into the great beyond. But shooting the dog in the backyard where he’s chased so many squirrels and wrestled you in so many piles of leaves is the only way to know you have killed him where he is most comfortable, instantly and without pain, pure and simple.
Yes, it sounds barbaric and unnecessarily bloody. But standing up straight and aiming true at your beloved family pet symbolizes taking personal, intimate responsibility for the whole life and comfort of your dear hound, all the way to the end. Not just shipping him off to a sterile steel table to be bonked into drug-induced dreamville just to save your feelings.
And holding a shotgun stoically looks cool (Listen, in today’s violent climate I have no right to think that, let alone write it in an article, but you don’t always get to choose your feelings and when we lose our ability to be honest — that’s when we truly lose our freedom).
3. Whisper something into the dog’s ear right beforehand, while your family watches.
It can be anything (one last “good boy,” a sincere “I love you. You know that right?,” the Lord’s Prayer, etc.). Whatever you say, it will be a sweet, loving gesture that will make the dog that provided you with unconditional love and enthusiasm throughout its long life feel your breath and smell your smell one last time before the life blinks out of his eyes forever.
And it will set the proper somber mood in front of your family, who will view you as the one unquestionably in charge of the situation, which is very cool.
4. Make your son watch.
This one just feels right. Can’t really explain it.
5. Get it done before breakfast.
After the dog has been put down and buried in the makeshift grave you dug on the edge of the woods of your gigantic country backyard, you’ll gently place your big calloused, working-man’s hands on the shoulders of your little son and your little daughter and walk them back into the house where you’ll all eat hot scrambled eggs and sausage links as you take turns fondly recounting stories of how special and loving and funny your family dog was.
There will be tears and grief, but every time the mood gets too sad you will be the one to soldier through and bring up the story of when the dog chewed up your business loafers and brought them to you in his mouth, and how you started shouting at the poor mutt but then quickly couldn’t stop laughing about how proud the little guy was. He was so unaware that he should be ashamed of ruining shoes. He was so genuinely happy and he just wanted to help! And that summed him up perfectly: He was happy and wanted to help.
The family will laugh and they will cry. You’ll all miss him so much. You’ll never be closer to each other. It will be heartbreaking and beautiful. And cool.
You put down your family dog when it was his time to go, something only a true grown man can do, and you did it in a cool way! Which makes it all the better.