When I was very young, my family had a dog named Pluto. He was our first pet. We didn’t have him for very long though. My grandmother saw to that. “Anything with teeth can bite,” she’d say when people would tell her their pets didn’t. She generally distrusted animals - especially around children. So when she saw Pluto snap at me once, it wasn’t long before she was loading him into her mauve station wagon. They were taking a “trip.” Perhaps she took him to the pound. In the worst of all cases, she put him down with the small handgun she kept in her pocketbook. I don’t remember the ordeal well enough to confirm the details but most would be hurt at the very thought of what happened. Those people didn’t have a grandmother like mine. She told hard truths, made tough decisions and her love of family outweighed anything sentimental. My grandma, Margie Jean Ramsey, died last summer at 73 after decades of health challenges and having buried a husband and three children. Yes she was sweet, warm even, but she could also be as hard as granite. I learned from her that sometimes we have to be.
Read more at the The New York Times.