The last ride.


On Saturday, we had untitleddog put down. He turned 9 last May, and has been plaqued with health problems. I’m not going to run down the list of reasons we had to do this. I feel like I’m trying to justify our decision, and at times, I’m not completely sure we did the right thing. Some days, he was fine. Other times, he’d puke up every drop of water he drank. He’d pee on the floor. His back was so sore, he couldn’t climb stairs properly. But yet, I’m not sure we did the right thing.

He hopped into the car so willingly┬ on his last morning, excited to be going┬ for a ride. untitledhusband rolled the windows down and let him get his sniffs of the humid summer air,┬ which smelled of grass clippings and sunshine.┬ untitledhusband gave him a chocolate chip cookie,┬ and told him we loved him, that he was a good dog. Then he┬ carried him┬ in to the vet’s office, set him on a steel table, and held him as┬ he got┬ his last shot.┬ He was always good about getting shots — he never whimpered or pulled back. He just took them.┬ It┬ lasted about 10 seconds,┬ and untitledhusband held him┬ to his chest as┬ untitledog’s breath left his body.┬ When he returned home, I could tell by┬ untitledhusband’s face that┬ he would carry that moment with him forever. ┬

untitleddog’s fur was like warm velvet. I called him “an┬ electric blanket on legs.” There was nothing better than having him at your ankles in bed on a cold night. He used to put his Kong (the only dog toy he couldn’t destroy) between his front paws and drag it around the yard┬ in┬ a backwards motion that looked like humping. He ate tampons whenever he could score them. He would chase a plastic ball around the yard like a seal in the circus, leaping at it and sending it skyward with his long nose. He once escaped from a plastic dog kennel, using his teeth to tear through the hard plastic. The caper resulted in an abscessed tooth, which required an expensive extraction. I held him like a baby every night when untitledhusband and I were separated, for at the time,┬ I thought I’d never have a baby of my own.

A year later, when we brought untitledson home from the hospital, untitleddog sniffed him up and down and declared him good.┬ If he was jealous, he did not show it.┬ Throughout the ear pulling and smothering and hugs, he was always a gentleman. Or dog. A gentledog. In the last few months, he’d taken to sleeping in untitledson’s toddler bed — perhaps because it was easy to get in to. It made me sad to think that untitledson would not grow up with him around.┬

I┬ sit here crying, for I’m not sure we did right by him. And now, it doesn’t matter what I think.┬ It’s done. I hope I can quit crying about this at some point. Cry headaches are such a bitch.┬ Wherever his little soul is, I hope he understands why we did what we did. I hope he knows how┬ empty┬ the house feels, and how sad I get when I see his Milk Bones in the pantry. As we told untitledson, he’s in heaven right now. His body no longer worked. The good part is that his back is no longer sore, and he never throws up anymore. The bad part is that he can’t ever come home.┬ ┬ ┬

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