Watching a furbaby grow old is heartbreaking. I've said goodby to quite a few pets over the years. Promised myself I would stop rescuing my beautiful labrador retrievers and then would hear about one at the shelter or being given away and there I go again. It will be a year soon since Buddy crossed the Rainbow Bridge. He was a yellow lab that was given to me after his owner decided a labrador puppy in a house trailer with 5 people was too much of a challenge. We had 20 acres, a pond, and oh how that boy loved to "go". He would shout and jump when the leash was in my hand and it was an adventure every time. He rode across country in the back of my SUV, fighting with his brother Gus over the cool air vent as we moved to the desert. Last year his beard got greyer and his walks got slower, but he was ready to sit on my lap if I let all 85 pounds of him, still wanted held when the fireworks went off on July 4, and ate ice cream from a spoon without ever biting down too hard. Such a gentleman.
I noticed a little sore near his groin on a Sunday evening. I called the vet the next morning and we got a Thursday appointment. He chased a rabbit Wednesday evening, so he was still loving life. Thursday morning he moved a little slower as we trekked to the vet. "I don't like the feel of this" the vet said. And I felt the mass that was living in my boy's belly and groin. The one that must have hurt during the walks, and ached at night, but he never showed me he was in pain. "What are his chances?" I said through tears as he slept in my lap. "Less than enough for me to tell you he will make it. He is probably in a lot of pain. We can try some antibiotics for the open sore, then surgery, and wait and see. We'll need to keep him here." I said I needed to think of him and I knew I had to say goodbye. They took him into the back for his IV access and when they brought him in to me, the tape on his leg was pink. I asked him how a studmuffin like him would let them put pink tape on his handsome leg. He walked over to me and bowed his head into my chest and just stood there. Then he layed down beside me to be "spooned" like we would do when he ate too much or the sun was shining and we got our tans and took a nap. The vet and the tech started crying and my boy, my friend, my Buddy, went gently into the night to meet my other furbabies. I told him to tell them all "hello" and that Momma loves them all everyday. I walked out of the vet with his collar and a broken heart.
I touch the urn filled with his ashes and miss him. I tell Gracie, his new sister how handsome he was. She was left abandoned and tied to a fence at a kill shelter, then spent a year in a shed because of heartworm. She listens. Then licks my face because I took too damn long talking while she waited for her ice cream.