I’m writing this with a view.
Tuki is lying with her head on my outstretched leg. In two hours, she will be gone and I will be bereft. I’ve never had to put a dog down before.
In between writing, I put my hand on her head and stroke the space from just above her nose and between her eyes with my thumb.
We’ve had nearly 15 years together. Our 15th Doggiversary would have been November 30th. That was the night I found her, a three-month-old stray puppy gamboling in the grass with a friend’s dog.
“Who’s the other dog?” I said, as we watched the two of them frolic from a porch above the patch of lawn where they were having a grand old time giving chase.
“No idea,” she said.
I ventured out into the dark for a closer look. Lucas, Ann’s dog, was a seven-year-old Schnauzer/Yorkshire Terrier mix. He weighed about 10 pounds. The other dog was bigger but, as I got closer, I could see how young it was.
She spent one night with us, and those of us not crazy in love with her from the jump (my then-husband) were moving in that direction. Animal Control picked her up in the morning so she could be reunited with her owners. We filled out a “first dibs on adopting” form if no one claimed her.
Fast forward three weeks.
The Humane Society says we can adopt her. But, they say, she has kennel cough and they want to keep an eye on her for a couple of days. The next day, they call and tell us to pick her up. We bring her home.
A week later, we’re at the vet for the second time. The first vet said it was bronchitis and threw pills at us. The second vet says, “I don’t know if this dog is going to live through the night.”
I ask how what it will cost to see if we can save her. Money is short, but I decide I can handle giving up three months of cell phone service.
As we leave, I can hear her shrill puppy cries as the vet tech and vet insert an IV.
The next morning, the vet calls.
“Good news,” he said. “The antibiotics did the job. She popped up this morning and gobbled her food. We want to keep her another night.”
Fast forward to now.
There are not enough or the right kind of words to express the universe of love, kindness and joy this dog has brought me. She was the valedictorian of her manners class. You could leave a plate of food in reach and she wouldn’t touch it if it wasn’t offered. She caught two squirrels, and tried to be a good friend to all her feline housemates, some of whom were more receptive to her overtures than others.
So, I am going to get dressed now and the three of us – that 13-year-old, who is now 28, and Sweetheart, who’s been my best human partner for 10 years – are going to do the last, best right thing we can for someone we love.
4 thoughts on “Goodbye, Tuki, and thank you for 15 amazing years.”
Sorry to hear of the loss of Tuki! Losing a pet is such a heartbreak and not easy to get over. It will also be hard on the cats in your home that liked her. They’ll keep wondering “where is she?” I had to have my first cat at put down. I still have pangs of guilt that I didn’t do enough for her. However, she made it to around 17 years. Not bad for a kitty that got left behind when her family moved away!
Thanks, Diana. I’m so glad I wrote that while we were together this morning, because I sure am a mess now. Knowing that she’s out of pain helps some, and the vet was lovely. Once the sedation had taken hold and we were lying next to Tuki (on the floor, me on one side and Talia on the other), Dr. Poehlmann felt her leg and said her knee was really swollen and she had no muscle left in the leg. It was time. We’re letting the cats eat the rest of kibble in her dish. She never minded sharing; we mean humans were the ones who’d squirt them with the Evil Water Bottle. But not today.
Oh dear sweet Tuki … Amy I am so sorry for such a painful loss. Peace be with you and your family, human and otherwise.
Thanks, Ann. xoxo