His name is Thunder and my boy is eleven years and a few months. He, at one time, was very regal looking – both parents were yellow labs and his dad was 125 lbs. Thunder was barrel chested, with muscular legs and just an all around strong looking dog. His bark could scare anyone – a deep, throaty, husky “a-woooof!!” as he looks at you, his muscular frame seeming to say that he is, by all accounts, a dog of stature. Now he is very frail, and you can count the amount of ribs sticking out. I won’t pretend that Thunder is an overzealous guard dog or that he stalks small dogs for kicks. Thunder is loyal, I’ll give him that, but he is timid, docile and is constantly fretting about something or other. Everything makes him nervous and jumpy, like walking across the floor, going downstairs, if someone hollers while watching a hockey game on television, or a loud rain storm. The dog shivers and shakes himself into a frenzy.
Right now Thunder is lying on a warm dog bed in my bedroom. He’s got all of his favourite stuffies lying all around him, and every so often he gets up and stumbles around, looking confused. Thunder has dementia…along with water on his lungs, hips that are giving out, and a lack of appetite. My husband and I have been constantly monitoring him; we refuse to keep him here any longer than should be, as that would be selfish. When his time comes to put him down, we will, and have known this all along. We have taken him regularly to the vet to get assessed, to pick up new meds, and to let ourselves know that he will be with us for at least another short spell – he always is deemed okay when he is examined.
Thunder, in a matter of a week or two, has declined to such a degree that we know that keeping him alive is not an option. He is no longer Thunder – in fact, he’s no longer a dog. We have an appointment to take him in one final time to the vet’s office tomorrow. We’re letting our little boy free, to remember where he is, and to no longer endure constant panting. I told him earlier that we’re taking him to see his sister tomorrow and to get himself ready for a wonderful visit.
I’m crying as I write this. He is my baby. I’ve said it so many times before; the only bad thing about a dog is they don’t live long enough. I wish I could help Thunder somehow, but it looks like the only help I can give him is to make him free from pain. If there is a heaven, I know he’ll head there to meet up with his sister who passed on seven years ago and who he loved. He’ll also meet up with other dogs that were a part of our family long before he became such a wonderful family member. I’m hoping my Dad is there waiting for him, ready to take him for a long walk with no sore joints, and above all, a beautiful lake to swim in. Thunder loved so much to swim.
You were a true friend, Thunder. You were part of many highs and lows in my life, and you loved me unconditionally. Know that you are loved so much, that you have given us only beautiful memories, and that we will, one day, meet again. I love you with all my heart, little guy. Give the others a kiss for me and tell them they are remembered as well, and even after all of these years, the love I have for them (and now you) will never dissipate – somehow it only gets stronger. I love you, my good boy.