I am writing this with a lot of pain in my heart and soul. Yesterday I did a terrible thing that 36 hours later I am still in pain. Even have some regrets. Morally I don’t think I should have done it. Morally I NEEDED to do it. There comes a time in life when you have to do what is best for someone else. Again, morally it is wrong but morally it is right.
I am talking about have a pet put down because their health is not good. Yesterday morning about 5am I woke to the sound of my dog shaking after waking. Usually the second or third thing I do after I wake up is walk to the bathroom and take a leak. So naturally, like father like son, my dog followed the same habit. Usually he would wake, stretch out his body, shake and then take a leak. So, by the time I hear the shake, I have just a few seconds to get to him and guide him outside to go “pottie”
Tucker boy as I called him was a rescue dog. About 5 years ago a lady brought him to my house to determine if I would be a fit father to have a dog. She checked out the house, made sure there were no little kids around, noticed I had a back yard that was fenced in and chatted with me to make sure I was not some satan worshiper who would sacrifice the dog for a chance at a blonde blue eyed virgin. Satisfied all was well with my house, I wrote a check to her rescue for Tucker and this Tucker became a part of me. His first night in my home was spent doing some whimpering and whining, a lot of walk around to check the place out and a lot of trips outside to train him to piss there instead of on the carpet inside.
The next 4 years were great. A lot of laughter, anger and even car rides, sometimes just around the block for the hell of it. Some of the best times with Tucker were spent throwing a ball and watching him chase it down, bring it back to me and fighting me for it. Then tossing it again and repeating. Tucker didn’t care for toys that squeaked or jingled. Hell, I bought him raw hide bones and toys he wouldn’t even touch. One night I was playing with him, held the ball in my hand, made a fist and put my fist on the floor. Next thing I knew, tucker was lying on his belly and then rolling over. Laughing at it, I held the ball in the air and he started jumping for it. Then I put my fist back on the floor, Tucker immediately went to his belly and then rolled over. Whoever had Tucker before me had taught him a trick. Working with him, he knew how to sit, how to beg, even play dead. He was such a wonderful dog. I taught him my favorite trick and that was having him sit, then holding his snout in place, commanding him to stay. I would take a treat and put it on his snout, again commanding him to stay. I would move my hand and while he stared at the treat, he would not move a muscle. Then on cue, I would say get it and he would instantly jerk his head to the side and catch the treat before it hit the floor. Damn I loved playing with him.
About 18 months ago, I noticed that when tucker would go to his food or water bowl to drink, his back legs would shake. The vet later said that Tucker was getting old and he had arthritis. Not much to do. So I put him on the old fart dog food, you know, the food for seniors, in hopes it would help with his joint pain. The next thing to go with Tucker was his eye sight. The vet now tells me he had cataracts so bad in his eyes, he was practically blind. Many times Tucker would walk himself into a corner, bump into walls or chairs or whatever was in the way. Tossing the ball was not a thing of the past with him because he did not know when I threw it.
This is hard for me to type. I am sitting here wiping the tears from my eyes remembering the good and bad times with him. The pictures I took of him while he slept with his tongue hanging out, or laying half way out of his bed while he slept. There were times I would gently nudge him back into his bed and he would groan slightly and continue his snoring. Now I look at is empty bed right here beside my recliner and ask God to forgive me for having him put to sleep.
I had to do it. His quality of life was nil. In the past few months, Tucker wouldn’t even get out of bed, or even sit up before he would pee all over himself. Yesterday morning at 5am, hearing him shake and his collar jingle, I sprung from bed and rushed into the living room to help him outside. Instead what I found was Tucker lying in the kitchen on the tile floor. Lying in his own feces. He didn’t even have the strength to get up and do his business. Instead, with his head in his water bowl and his body covered in feces, his tongue was searching in his empty water bowl for a few drops of moisture. I knew at that point his quality of life was very poor. I picked him up in my arms and took him to the bathtub to give him one final bath. To bath him one final time. I made sure he was clean from head to toe. Bathed him twice just to be sure. Picking up in my towel, I brought him into the living room and proceeded to dry him off from his bath. Taking his brush, combing his bear and and fur, I cried because I knew that this would be my final hours with him.
At 7:45 I gently picked him up, walked out of the house to my car and gently laid him in the front seat. Making the drive to the vet, I gently stroked him on his head and down his back. His blind eyes looking in my direction, he knew where we were going. His eyes pleaded with me to not do it. To let him die at home and in peace. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t allow myself to watch and let him suffer like that. Leaving him in the car, I walked into the vet office and the lady behind the counter knew why I was there the instant she saw me without Tucker. Without saying a word she handed me a consent form and asked me if I wanted to stay with him. All I could do was shake my head. I couldn’t do it. I went back to the car, picked Tucker up in my arms for the last time and walked back inside. Cradling him in my arms, I rubbed his chest and belly one final time before she took him from me. Before she walked away, I kissed him one final time on his dry nose, removed his collar and watched her walk away with my little buddy.
As the door closed, I imagined him closing his eyes and taking one final deep breath knowing what was to come. As I the door clicked shut, I spoke out loud to Tucker one final time telling him I loved him and asking him to forgive me.
I miss you Tucker. I love you Tucker. I hope you have forgiven me little buddy. I pick up his collar one final time as I close this out, give it a jingle and call out, “Tucker bud, let’s go outside.”