Goodbye sweet boy. It's not fair.
I had to say goodbye to my baby this morning and it's absolutely unbearable. I just need to say some things.
I remember the day I first met you, you came running up to me and when I sat down on the ground, you laid down in my lap, right on your back so I could give you belly rubs. You didn't want to leave your brothers and your mother but I promised you that this would all be a distant memory someday and that I would make sure you would have a fun and beautiful life. That was the commitment I made to you in my heart and I always tried to live by that.
I remember the day I gave my heart to you completely. You were messy and stinky and I gave you your first bath. You wailed like you thought you were dying but when it was finally over I wrapped you in a towel and held you in my arms as I laid back in the recliner. You quickly fell asleep and I sat there for ages, just watching your cute little teeth and nose as you slept. The way your eyebrow twitched, the occasional deep sigh.
You got big so quickly and I started taking you out for longer and longer walks. We traveled and explored and played. We ran, we swam, napped under the trees. You got to meet so many interesting creatures, big and small, and got to smell so many strange and curious poops along the road. You always had fresh tennis balls, and more toys than you cared for. I may not have had money for some of the things I needed, but I made sure you always had the best food I could find for you. You got to enjoy frequent special meals, salmon, chicken, steak, to name a few.
You had no idea how you would just make my day when you would stick your tongue out at me. Or take out all the toys one by one from your toy bucket. I loved our little games, like hide-the-toy and come-find-me.
You knew love and affection, every single day. I just wish there had been more of those days for you to enjoy. I knew something was weird with the way you walked after a few years. I wanted so badly to be able to manage it with you, to prevent further damage, to help you recover and enjoy a long and happy life. Eventually I could no longer deny that you were struggling beyond what any young dog ever should. I wish this didn't have to happen, I wish you could have been all better and I could take you to more places, make more memories, meet new people and animals. You were only 4 years old. I'm so sorry sweet boy. I'm sorry there wasn't more I could have done. I'm sorry you became trapped in a broken body, wanting to do more, wanting to run and play like the other dogs, crying because it hurt too much. It wasn't your fault. I wish your breeder had been more responsible. I wish I had been more careful when selecting a dog. I just wish so many things had been different. But knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have chosen any other dog. You were weird and quirky, adorable and fierce. You lugged around entire tree branches, but you were afraid of a plastic bag scooting across the floor.
Now, you're not here to growl when the car doors slam shut outside, or bark when the front door opens. You're not here to howl that beautiful song when the doorbell rings, or when I go in and out to get the groceries. You're not here to beg for an egg when I crack them on the side of the sink. You're not here to hover when there's a chicken in the oven. Your absence is always and everywhere and I have no idea how to go ten steps without breaking down.
I have never known a pain this deep and true. I will miss you everyday.
However, I am glad to not have to hear you cry in the night because it still hurts despite all of the pain meds you're on. The pit in my stomach is gone from knowing that you weren't enjoying a full life. I know you couldn't help it when you peed and accidentally poo'ed on your bed, but I know you were scared I would find out. I tried to let you know that it was okay. I am glad it didn't get to the point where you would be doing this everyday. Having you put down was the responsible and right thing to do. I can rest easy knowing that I put your needs before my own. When I look past the grief and sadness, I know that there is no regret and no shame. I did right by you, and you were well respected in the end. In your own comfy bed, outside in the sunshine, with the fresh air, surrounded by your family and your favorite toys. Exactly the way I wanted it to be.
Goodbye sweet boy. Thank you for making my life sweeter and fuller with your love, your loyalty, and your big goofy self.