Last night, I had to put down the first dog I've ever had, Shadow. He was a good dog, and I'll miss him. Anyone who has had a dog in the family understands.
My first thought when I got up this morning was that Shadow wasn't going to be part of my daily routine anymore. I wouldn't be letting him out of his kennel to go outside. I wouldn't be filling the water dish for him; I wouldn't be feeding him.
Shadow loved getting the newspaper. We have had a newspaper box next to the mailbox since we moved into our new home last year, so it's rare that he was getting the paper anymore, but that's something he won't do again.
It's for the best. His quality of life wasn't good anymore and keeping him around would have been selfish of us. We tried to save our cat, Fritz, when he only had a fifty percent chance of pulling through with a liver problem, and after a lot of expense, the heartbreak came anyway, and Fritz suffered the whole time. I didn't want to put Shadow through it. His hind legs stopped working properly last night. Everything he loved to do--chasing squirrels, getting the paper, playing fetch--all depended on his legs. He had skin issues, and he'd been listless, as well.
I sat there with his head on my foot, as he had lain so many times during our down time every evening for so many years before this past year, knowing I had to put him down, not waivering in that decision, but hurting over it anyway.
My wife and I went together, and we both had our hands on him as he died.
I really couldn't have asked for a better dog. He was lively for so many years, but also very obedient. Somehow, he knew his yard's boundaries without anyone really showing him, ever since he was a puppy. He was a great watchdog for a long time. When he went to the vet, they let him have the run of the place.
I know lots of people have lost their animal companions and that my situation is not unique; I know plenty of people, including me, who have lost human family members recently, too. I just had to write about it a little.
In loving memory
pick of the litter
aka "Pouting Pooch"
aka "Crazy Pooch"
aka "Shadow Bear"
"Throw" was his favorite word.
"Go get it" was his favorite activity.
I will never forget the time when Shadow went to get our paper, didn't find it, and went somewhere to get someone else's. To this day, we have no idea where he went to get that paper.
I will never forget the big dog's bark that came out of his mouth at seven weeks.
I will never forget how he'd growl a warning when Heather acted like she was going to pinch him.
I will never forget how he jumped up and down on the bed with Heather in that hotel in Tennessee.
I will never forget how excited he became about going for rides.
I'll never forget how he howled when he was left alone.