My loyal readers will remember when I adopted Pepe Zorillo from the local animal shelter.
And you’ll also remember that I had to put him on Prozac to keep him from attacking me.
The last time he did it, during my fourth week of radiotherapy, he broke off a claw in my arm and a tooth in my leg. The doctor at the radiotherapy clinic said this had to stop. My system was too weak to fight off a massive infection at that point.
So I had my friend Georgia talk to our local vet, Dra. Nina, to see what, if anything she could do. Dra. Nina’s first thought was that she would take Pepe and re-adopt him out. But when Georgia explained to her the attacks on me, Dra. Nina said he would only get worse and needed to be put down. Apparently Pepe was what Cesar Milan, TV’s dog whisperer, calls a red zone case.
He was beyond rehabilitation.
And so I had to make the really hard decision. Put Pepe down (okay, let’s be blunt, kill him) or just live with his attacks on me. And according to my radiotherapy doctor, it pretty much came down to a choice of Pepe or me.
If you’ve known me for the slightest period of time, you’ll know that it’s all about me, me, me. But, in this case, I still couldn’t make a decision.
What finally convinced me to do what I did was that Pepe was no longer welcome in the house. He had to live outside. That was the only way I could guarantee that he wouldn’t attack me again. But actually even that wasn’t enough.
You see, to get to my bathrooms, I have to go outside. No, they’re not outhouses. They’re perfectly normal bathrooms. It’s just that they can’t be reached from inside the house. And every time I had to use the bathroom, I took the chance of being attacked again.
And, I told myself, it’s not like Pepe would have a good life living outside all the time. He would want to come in so that he could sleep on the bed or the sofa or some other comfortable place. I’d made him a comfortable bed on top of the dryer with blankets, but he ignored those.
But I had to make a decision, and any one of you who have had pets know how hard it is to have them put down even when they are old or in pain. I had to rationalize to myself that Pepe was in psychological pain. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been so mean.
And, so, on the Sunday afternoon before my fifth week of radiation, the week I went up to stay at Georgia and Tony’s house in Tlaquepaque, Kathi and I took Pepe to Dra. Nina’s and she put him down. Over and over she assured me that I was doing the right thing. Over and over I hated myself for doing it. And I still do.