Our dog, Thor, hadn't been doing well for a while. He's been having trouble with his hips, struggling to stand or go up and down stairs. Occasionally his functions would fail him, leaving messes to clean up. He was sleeping more and more and the vet had mentioned a while back that he had a large mass in his abdomen.
We decided to call it a day for old Thor.
It wasn't an easy decision, and one that we'd been discussing for months. We finally decided that it was the right time, making his final appointment with the vet. I was nervous about this part - would they make me feel bad (worse), suggesting expensive treatments to prolong his life? I needn't have worried. The receptionist was very kind and thoughtful - even though I don't do this everyday, it can't be unusual for her.
Toby was the one to do this appointment. While I was glad I took Zoe to her last appointment, I didn't want to do it again if I had a choice. It was good to stay home with sorrowing children, talking about what was going to happen and all the fun memories we had of Thor. The kids were sad, but understand that this is the right choice. They don't want to see him suffer needlessly, either. Talking about all the stories and adventures he's had helped all of us - how many other dogs get to travel internationally?
It's funny to think about it all, really - seeing him for the first time, cowering in the back of a kennel at the rescue center, falling in love with him just to hear that another family snapped him up before us, going home sad but thankful that at least he had a family now, only to be called by the rescue center an hour later to be told that the other family wasn't suitable and would we still like to bring him home? Taking him for long walks where he either pulled your arm out of its socket or helped you develop a cast iron grip, especially if there was water anywhere nearby. Seeing what happens when a bearded dog eats flour, drinks water and repeats a dozen times. Enjoying him swimming after water toys for the pure joy of it, as long as someone would still throw them. Watching a dozens of kids climb on, poke, pull, bend and generally abuse him, and never would he lose his temper - then seeing him morph into crazy psycho dog if another dog came near. He was a dog that could change the minds non-dog lovers.
Now, we are pet-free. I don't think that's a permanent thing (he wasn't even gone before the kids were inquiring after a new pet, cold-hearted beasts), but for now, we will enjoy our pet-free status. I'm glad to take a break from puddles of hair on the floor, racing to grab dropped food before he gets it, stepping in the poop in the yard that we somehow missed, and Dan sneaking into the laundry room to eat dog food (for real).
Nevertheless, it's the end of an era for our family. It's the first time since we got married more than fifteen years ago that we have not had a pet. I'm sure there will be more creatures we will one day call family, but for now, we'll miss this one, even while we sweep up the last of the hair.