Monday, January 22, 2007

Saying Goodbye To Oscar

We had to put our dog to sleep last night. He was 14 years old. He was the biggest, larger than life, sweetest soul I have ever known. When we got him as a puppy from the Humane Society, the first night we had him he started throwing up. He was so sick, and I think we ended up taking him to the vet 4 or 5 times after that first emergency call. We couldn't figure out what was wrong with him; I nursed that dog, letting him go to sleep in my lap, just picking him up and holding him. Finally, a coworker told me her dog was allergic to beef, and that I should try feeding him lamb meal and rice food. That was exactly what was wrong. I watched him go from a sick little guy to a rambunctious, frisky puppy. I have such a bond with that dog, I think from nursing him back to health. He was truly my first baby. My husband has a strong bond with him too, he was really our best friend. We enjoyed him so much. Everywhere we went, he was right there. If we took a shower, he laid down in front of the door until we came out. We couldn't close the door all the way, as he would poke his head in from time to time, just to check on us.

We knew that at his age, the time would probably be coming soon. Many times, I would come home, and he wouldn't come down stairs to meet me, and I'd make that long climb up the stairs, expecting the worst, only to find him just raising his head from a deep sleep. Last night, he woke from a nap, and tried to walk. His back legs wouldn't work. His eyes were darting back and forth, back and forth, uncontrollably. He was drooling. His breathing was very erratic. My husband called the vet, who said to come right in. My husband had to carry him into the car, as his back legs didn't work at all. I rode in the back of the car, curled up around him, and he laid his head in my hand. I told him that we would be okay, that if he needed to go, we would be okay. I also told him that he had taught us so much about how to love, we wouldn't be the same people had we never met him.

At the vet's office, she was having trouble hearing his heart. His drooling was concerning. The fact that he wasn't licking any one, no tail wags the entire time, let us know that he was in seriously bad shape. She thought was that it might be brain cancer, and said we could send him off to get an MRI. We discussed it, and neither one of us wanted to prolong his misery. So, we agreed it was time to say goodbye. They had a really nice room, with living room chairs and a rug, so it felt like we were at home. We laid him down in the middle, and spent some time with him. It was little easier, because he really wasn't there. We just petted him and tried to make him comfortable. The vet came in and explained what she would do, and we were petting him and telling him what a good boy he was. He died with his head in my hand.

We are going to get his ashes, which will give me some comfort, just to have a reminder of him in our house. It certainly is empty without him in it. He was truly a wise old soul, and I know he is in a better place. But we sure do miss him.

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