Tukae

I don't even really know how to start a post like this.  Yesterday, we took my little Tukae dog to the vet to be put to sleep.  He was 16 1/2 years old and has been really sick for the last few months; you could feel tumors all over his little body.  He was all but completely blind and deaf, and sometimes he  would fall down just because his little legs would give out.  He spent most of his days sleeping because he was in too much pain to do much else.  But even with all of that, you still never met a happier, more loving dog.

Tukae was and will always be a vital part of our family.  He came into our lives one Christmas morning and has been the best thing for our hearts ever since.  He slept in my bed every night, and even after I moved out and got married, whenever I would come to visit he would find whatever room or whatever bed I was in and sleep with me.  He was the best cuddler. And that little dog was more adventurous that most humans.  He had a love for life and our family that went far beyond mere words.  We took him everywhere with us- boating, camping, hiking, you name it.  He loved to ride on the four-wheeler and on the front of my dirt bike.  He didn't love to swim, but he loved riding in the boat with the wind in his fur.
(that was the picture of him that I opened up on Christmas morning 16 and 1/2 years ago.)

And he was smart- oh, he was smart.  He was still learning tricks up until he started to lose his sight and hearing.  He knew when we were trying to teach him something and he wouldn't give up until he learned what it was.  And when there was a treat on the line, he would roll through his set of tricks, one right after the other just to get it.  That was my favorite though, he knew how to communicate with us.  The relationship we had with that little dog was so much more than just a pet; he was the heart of our family and we all understood each other.  He knew when we were sad and he knew when we were happy.  He knew when we were packing for a trip and he knew when he was invited or when he was going to be left with Grandma.

I hope he knew how much we loved him.

I hope in his last moments he wasn't afraid, and that he knew we were with him.

His health has been declining for the past couple years, and I've known the whole time that I wanted to be there for him when it was time to let him go.  I didn't want him going into that room alone and afraid.  I wanted to be holding him and petting him and telling him how much I loved him.
I took the day off work and went to my mom's early in the morning.  When I got there, my brother called the vet and made an appointment for 1:00.  We spent the next few hours snuggling and loving on Tuk.  He just laid in his bed and took in all the attention.  I laid my head down next to him and listened to some music and he put his head on my neck and his paw on my face and gave me kisses.  He was always the best at comforting me when I was sad.
When it was time to go, Mariah and I got in the back seat with him.  We had his bed on our laps, thinking he would want to lay on it for the ride.
But he was up and wanting to stick his head out the window.  Mariah had to hold him up the entire time because his little legs weren't strong enough to stabilize him through the driving, but she didn't mind.  He had his head out the window the whole way; his little white ears flapping in the wind with a big ol' smile on his face.  He was the happiest little dog, right up to the very end.  I'm so happy he was ours.
When we got inside the vet's office, he knew where he was.  Even without being able to see, every dog knows the vet and no dog likes it.  That was the reason I wanted to be there.  I knew that this was going to be the hardest moment of my life, and that I was going to be sobbing the entire time.  But I also  knew he was going to know where he was.  After everything he had done for our family in his life, I didn't want his last moments to be alone on a table, confused and afraid.  I wanted him to be comforted by his family.  We brought his bed in and I held him the entire time.  When the doctor came in, she asked if we thought he should be sedated.  After a moment of thinking, we decided it was best because a dog groomer hadn't been able to get near him for years without them almost losing a hand.  We knew that Tuk would be extremely stressed and upset without it.  Brenden took him from me while she gave him the shot.  She told us it would sting a little and his little yelp as she gave it to him shattered my heart into a million little pieces.  But immediately after, Brenden handed him back to me and I felt his body slowly relax.  It had been years since I felt him that calm and relaxed in my arms.  He'd been in so much pain for so long, so he was always very cautious with letting people touch and hold him.  That was such a tender mercy for us to be able to hold him like that before saying goodbye.  To know that he wasn't stressed out, scared or in pain at the very end was everything.  The doctor left the room after giving him the sedative and gave us a few more minutes with him like that.  It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, to say goodbye to my best friend.  To be the one who says, you've done what you needed to do and you can let go now.  I absolutely believe he was specifically sent to our family with the purpose to bring happiness to our lives; to ease our heartaches and trials which would be many.  He completed his mission with every fiber of his being right up until his last heartbeat.

When the doctor came back in, I gently laid his little body down on his bed.  She gently shaved off a little patch of his fur to put an IV in his tiny arm.  I leaned down and put my face to his and kissed him and told him how much I loved him.  I told him thank you for everything.  I told him that it was all going to be okay.  The doctor injected the drugs and within just a matter of seconds, he was gone.  I held his little head and kissed him again, tears falling onto his fur.  The doctor left the room again and I just stood there next to him, petting him and telling him how much I loved him.

I'm happy our family was able to be there with him.  I'm happy he wasn't alone or afraid or uncomfortable.  He slipped away so peacefully and despite the throbbing in my heart, I take comfort in the fact that he is no longer in pain.

I held his little body the entire drive home.  I couldn't stop petting him, he was still warm and it just felt like he was sleeping in my arms.  When we got home, I laid him in his bed in the grass next to the garden.  The clouds had cleared and the sun was warm on us.  He always loved to lay in the sunshine and he did it often. I laid my head next to him like I had been doing all morning and I told him over and over how much I loved him and what a joy he was to have in my life.
After I felt like I had said my proper goodbye, my mom wrapped his little body in a blanket.  He tucked his favorite monkey stuffed animal inside with him, and I put him down in the grave Brenden had dug in the garden. Mariah, Johnny, my mom and I picked little bundles of wild flowers and laid them on top of him.  And then as we were all gathered around his grave, my mom said a prayer thanking God for letting us have him in our family.  And as we all stood, I gently buried my little dog.

I'm glad we brought him home and laid him in our garden.  I'm glad that I will be able to look at the flowers growing where his body was laid and know that he is in them.  I'm glad that I will be able to talk to him often, even if I won't be able to hold him.  I'm happy he is in a better place, out of pain and able to see and hear and run.  I'm happy that I still have all my memories of him and that I can visit him there.

But above all, more than anything- I am so happy he was my dog.

4 comments:

  1. I'm sobbing reading this thinking of the day this will be be and my pup. He's only one and I hope I have many more years of happiness with him...but it's still hard to think about. Animals are so much more than just pets...he was a lucky guy being able to have so many great years with you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ugh Whitney. I'm crying. I had to put my childhood dog down after he was hit by a car and I still cry when I think about it, 15 years later. I'm so sorry. I know your feelings exactly. Sending you a huge hug.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm crying so hard right now I can't see straight. That's the hardest thing about animals, knowing that their lives are so brief, and that we have to continue on without them. I'm glad that he got to be a part of your family, because I'm sure that there was no family that could love him any more than you all did. And I hope that the pain in your heart starts to ease with time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kept having to wipe the tears away to finish reading the post. This makes my heart so heavy. Dogs are so special. Im so happy he is free of pain, but can't even imagine what its like going through what you did. That is one day I am not excited for. I love the idea of those flowers you put in his grave. I hope you guys are doing okay! That picture of him on christmas is the cutest thing ever.

    ReplyDelete

No need to stalk in silence, leave a comment.
do it.

There was an error in this gadget