Took Jack, our thirteen-year-old dog to the vet this afternoon for euthanasia. Her back legs have been giving her trouble for the last year or more. She could hardly walk. She cried and barked in frustration. She struggled to get around the house to be with us. She couldn't run along the fence outside and bark at strangers passing by, though she continued to bark at squirrels in trees across the street.
Jack was sent by God to our family. She was the little black puppy, abandoned late at night in our back yard when our old dog, Max, was dying of cancer. My younger son, who was four, had prayed for a new puppy. God delivered. (Few things have been that simple since.)
Jack chewed up a couple of cowboy hats, chewed the noses off teddy bears, and one memorable day chewed a hole in a sweater back I had just finished knitting. It took hours and hours to reknit it. But on the whole, she was a great dog, a true member of the pack. She loved and trusted her boys, Kris and Kurt. She grew to be wary of Lon as his dementia worsened. He kicked her from time to time, but this only meant she spent more time with the rest of us, sleeping on top of my feet if Lon was prowling about.
It is yet another sign of the end of an era, the end of romping and wrestling and playing young'uns at our house. Another milepost that reminds us that life is ever-changing, with many comings and goings. Jack's chair, which absolutely reeks of acrid dog smells, will go out to the garbage, her bowls will go to the basement. Eliza is watching the video she took yesterday of Kris feeding Jack a bacon cheeseburger. Here's a photo:
I am relieved it's over with for her. Some would say I took too long in coming to this decision, that she suffered. But she soldiered on, for us. I tear up as I think of that love--or that hard-wired dog behavior that looks like love. Nah. She loved us. God sent her here to do just that.