Thursday, February 19, 2009

He's not here

I miss my dog. I took him to the vet yesterday afternoon and had him put to sleep. I didn't think it would be this hard. I never imagined I would react this way. These pics are from his last day.

Of course it was rainy and windy. Bogie always hated these days. He didn't like the noises, and he hated getting his feet dirty, much less his whole underside. Which is how it has been for him whenever he goes outside since his back legs quit working.

I left the inside front door open for him in the morning, because one of his favorite things to do was sit and watch cars go by. He liked to keep an eye on things. We have to keep the door shut in the winter, but yesterday was different. I didn't care how much heat was lost.

I was pretty much an emotional wreck the whole morning... even moreso afterward. I took him for his last ride in the car and let him sit up front. We arrived right on time for his 2:30 appointment. They took us into our room, but I had to stand and hold him on the metal table until 3 before the pregnant vet finally came in. Most of the time he hid his head under my left armpit while we waited. They did at least apologize for the delay. After that it went pretty quick. I was gone within 5 minutes - just me and his collar. I can't believe I'm saying it, but it was one of the saddest days of my life.

He would have been fine if not for the arthritis in his back hips and legs, and the knee damage on the left rear leg. He hadn't been able to walk on all fours since last summer. The back left leg really hadn't worked for some time, and he was just starting to not be able to even push with the back right leg. Forty five pounds is a lot of weight to pull around on two stubby front legs, and his underside and back feet were getting pretty raw. Plus, not being able to lift his back side made going potty difficult. He had a rash from having to sit in his pea, and it was a chore to arch his back for number two. It didn't help when there was snow on the ground, and now that it's getting muddy, that just made it all the worse. He never did like the mud, or dirt. So pulling himself through it to go to the bathroom was frustrating and probably a little humiliating. I think he was trying to hold it in lately, and Tuesday he had a major accident. He literally pooped all over the house. And he had diarrhea. I felt so bad for him when I walked in and saw it. He has only "went" in the house maybe 10 times in his 10+ years. Maybe. And that counts potty-training. He was such a good dog. You could tell he was embarrassed. I was already planning to call the vet this week, but I knew then it was time. I just hoped he didn't think it was because of that.

He quit eating regularly several weeks ago. And now with the diarrhea we had to wipe him every time he went to the bathroom. He hated that and would give us the ol' Elvis lip. He had pretty much resigned himself to being carried around. Which, for a dog who had always been so very proud and distinguished was pretty amazing. Every time he needed to "go outside," and sometimes just to get to another room, we would lug him into our arms, flip him on his back, and he would look at the world upside down while his back legs just flopped to the side - useless.

We always had dogs, cats, and horses when I was growing up. All of them died eventually. But Bogie was different. He was the first pet I've had that was fully indoors. He was born in June of 1998 and we got him in August of that year, in Findlay, Ohio. He was a floppy-eared ball of fir. I don't think he ever did know he was a dog. He thought he was one of us. And he was. Every night he would go to bed with us; every morning he would mosey into the kitchen while the coffee was brewing. He sat with us while we read or watched tv, and always saw us off when we left and greeted us when we returned.

This is so much harder than I imagined it would be. In fact, I always used to think people were a little weird who got all upset when their dog died. Now I'm wondering if I will ever be the same. I literally cried harder yesterday than I ever have in my life. I must be nuts. I have had two people I referred to as my "best friend" die, yet here I am completely numb over Bogie's death. I have been present when humans have died, and I know it's not, but this seemed even sadder. I don't know. I just didn't know I would be like this. On the one hand I wish I hadn't been there when they put him to sleep. I don't know if I'll be able to remove it from my memory. But I didn't want him to have to go it alone, so I was glad I was there. He was such a good dog.

I keep thinking he should be coming around the corner any moment. Coming up to the chair for me to scratch his head. Eventually crawling under my feet to hide under the desk. Needing carried outside to go potty. And then barking incessantly when we leave the house. Just last week he laid with me while I was sick on the couch. And yesterday I had him killed...

I feel stupid. I probably shouldn't even be blogging this. I'm sure people who have no pets think this is insane. I don't care. I miss my little dog. Last night was the first time we've been in this house that he wasn't here. It is so quiet. The nest is completely empty now. I am sad.


Rick said...

I know exactly how you feel, before we moved from Mishawaka to Columbia City I had to take our dog "Paco" to have him put down. My wife and I had Paco since the first year we were married, he lived about 15 years. I was the tough man I volunteered to take Paco to the vet, I was OK until they brought his lifeless body out to me wrapped in a blanket. I sobbed the whole way home. I was a wreck for about a week or so.
Your in my prayers!

grace said...

Don't regret writing this. Your words are a beautiful tribute to the memories and love that you've shared with Bogie.

Jim said...

Don't ever regret writing this. Don't ever regret what you had to do, either. Whenever we take on another life in our world - wife, children, pets - we take on all the responsibilities, including being there when times are bad, maybe even terminal. And I don't think less of you for feeling this way - you have a big heart. Good.

And again, I am sorry about it nonetheless. Bogey does sound like a good doggy. I know it is hard.

Tammie said...

Just want to echo what Jim and Grace said. I'd be more concerned about you if you didn't miss a pet who had been such a part of your life!

dan horwedel said...

Thanks for the comments and encouragement. I appreciate it.

Leslie said...

I'd barely gotten in the door from work tonight when Jim told me about Bogie. I'm so sorry to hear of Bogie's passing. I know mere words will not dispel the grief and pain, but please know we are thinking of you during this time.

Cindy said...

oh I'm just so sorry, Dan. We had almost the same exact scenario- back end paralysis-- right down to the events of the horrible last week when we knew... I'm so sorry. There's no shame in pouring your heart into a living creature who shares your life and home.

dan horwedel said...

Thanks Leslie and Cindy. We appreciate the thoughts and prayers.