Posts Tagged With: dogs

Saying Goodbye to our Pet

 

IMG_2388

Last pic of our buddy Rocky

 

A few weeks ago we had to put down our lovable dog Rocky. We had Rocky for 8 years. He was a great dog. 

Rocky started losing weight pretty rapidly. Our first visit to the vet revealed that he was having heart issues. I took Rocky home and began a wet food diet to get him to eat, which worked. After a few days, he started to swell up like a balloon. His sides were huge. Apparently, this is due to the heart not working properly and causing certain liquids to not leave the body.

My wife and I knew that Rocky was nearing his end and so we started talking to Claire about it. Claire, I believe, has a certain understanding about death. I don’t think she fully grasps the totality of it, but she knows its a going away of sorts. We had several conversations with Claire to prepare her for the inevitable. Claire seemed to get it. There were a few moments of sadness and one time where she cried a little. 

I took Rocky to the SPCA for one last checkup and the vet confirmed it was time. Rocky would not get better and the combination of his age and condition did not justify the cost of treatment that would give us a few more months with him. I scheduled Rocky’s appointment to euthanize him and went home. It was one of those weird moments that you never expect to have to do. “What time is best to kill your dog?” “Hows Tuesday?”—It was weird. 

When I got home I told my wife the news and she was very upset. Jess has grown up with animals all her life so losing one has always been difficult. We spoke with Claire and told her that she had a few more days with Rocky and then she would not see him again. I’m not really sure what went through Claire’s head, but you could tell there were conflicting ideas. In some sense, she wanted to spend time with Rocky, but she also wanted to go and play—her normal thing. On the last day, we had Rocky, Claire had to go to school so I had her go say goodbye to him. Claire hugged Rocky and gave him one final treat. Then we went to school. Claire wasn’t upset at all. 

After dropping Claire off at school I took Rocky to the SPCA. For the most part, I was fine, but once I walked into the room and we laid him on the tabletop where they would administer the meds I got choked up. The vet was really great about explaining everything and making sure I was ok with every step. The vet asked me if I wanted a few minutes with Rocky and I said, “no I’m ready.” I placed my hand on Rocky’s head and stroked it. “He’s in a better place now”, said the vet as he checked for a heartbeat. 

It was over.

I left the SPCA sad, but once I got into the car I realized this was necessary. Rocky had been miserable the last few days. I went home trying to guess how Claire would react once she got home and didn’t see Rocky there. Would she cry? Be angry? Possible responses to her questions ran through my mind. 

I picked Claire up from school and told her Rocky was gone. Claire was sad but she was ok. Surprisingly, Claire was totally fine as the days went by. I figured Claire would be ok after a while, but I never expected it to be this fast. My wife and I were definitely more emotional than Claire. As we prepared for the inevitable loss of Rocky in our mind all we kept thinking about was Claire and here she was moving on with ease. I am always amazed at how resilient kids are. Thank God for that. 

Advertisements
Categories: dads, death, dogs, fatherhood, fathers, putting a pet down, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Beauty and the Beast

photo

My daughter Claire has a really cool relationship with our dog. I guess most kids do but since this is my first experience with the whole canine, Homo Sapien relationship it is neat to experience.

Rocky is a mutt that has ¼ Pit bull, ¼ Boxer and ½ of what we think is Rhodesian Ridgeback. A pretty unique mix if you ask me. When we first got Rocky he was all about cuddling with you and being playful. He is almost 5 and is still the same but 70lbs bigger.

We were not sure about whether or not the dog-baby relationship would work out. Growing up I never had a dog and I had heard that dogs could get jealous and sometimes attack children because they felt threatened. When we brought Claire home the first day we did the whole “introducing” thing where Rocky got to smell her and see there was a new favorite in town. Rocky was curious about her but never got territorial or jealous.

Fast forward a year later and you will find Claire rolling on top of Rocky trying to take his dog toys. Rocky will let her take it out of his mouth and then gently, get it back from her. Rocky will sit patiently by Claire’s high chair as she eats, because he knows she will toss him a scrap or two. There are benefits to this relationship on both sides. It is amazing to see that Rocky recognizes that she is fragile and that he cannot play with her the way he does with other dogs, my wife or I. Somehow this beast knows that our little beauty is to be treated with the upmost care. For example, a few months back I heard Rocky give a loud yelp. When I went into the room he was in I found him still as stone with my daughters hand in his mouth. Claire had discovered his tongue and wanted to keep it for herself. Rocky didn’t bite or do anything aggressive he just waited for her to release it and then went to the other side of the room. I guess he needed a time out after that.

There are the occasional moments when Rocky will run past her and knock her to the ground by accident, or have his iron rod tail hit her upside the head. His tail really hurts when it gets you. For the most part he is a really good dog and knows how to act with Claire. However, I’m not just going to leave her alone with him. Rocky might be a great family dog, but he is still an irrational animal and you never know what could happen.

Still Rocky surprises me.

There have also been moments when people come over and Rocky gets between them and Claire until we give him the okay. Rocky’s instincts seem to tell him that this little one needs to be protected and I appreciate that.

Categories: children, dogs, fatherhood, home and family, pets | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.