For years, I've read the stories on some of my hunting forums about the day you had to make the decision for your dog. I've always hoped that that day would never come - that I'd go to work and come home and he'll have passed while sleeping. Of course, that's not the case.
We picked him up at 6 weeks old, driving 100 each way in the snow to get him (keep in mind that is no small feat in NC). When he was young, I bought a new leather wallet, stopped to run another errand, only to come back and find him chewing on it. In his younger years, he was overly protective (never aggressive), just protective.
He's been there as a friend when times were low. He's been a clown when we were happy. He was a big chocolate head on my wife's shoulder after her 4 miscarriages. And a big chocolate brother during her pregnancy with our 2 little ones. He's been tugged on, hit and fallen on since our little girl arrived 4 years ago. And he's been a big silly object for our 4 month old to laugh at.
As he aged, he began to have seizures related to low sugar. Each one took a little from us and a little from him. But he'd rebound and be back to himself in a couple days. It had been a long time since his last seizure when he had one about 2 weeks ago for no reason. He appeared fine, but something seemed a little off to me. Sometime Friday, he had a stroke. He struggled to walk this weekend, but got better and then took a turn for the worse Monday. Since then, he hasn't walked on his own or attempted to stand or move. It's just not in him. And we can see it in his big brown eyes.
So for lunch, we had cheeseburgers, tots and ice cream. My wife and I will spent the afternoon reliving our memories with him, shedding a lot of tears. He looked at us one last time and said "It's OK. All better." He knew.
When I made the call to my wife, she asked what I wanted to do. I couldn't say anything other than "He's not there." I stepped into the bedroom to say it as I didn't want him to hear. As I did so, I looked out the window and saw a flock of geese flying over. In 3 years, I've never seen geese anywhere near our house. As that is what he hunted the most, it was only fitting.
You have been with me for almost 15 years buddy. You weren't perfect, but neither am I. I hope you feel better and understand this is our final act of love to you. I'll think of you every time I see geese and when those leaves start changing colors as that was always your favorite time of the year.
Love you Hunter. You will be missed.
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