See You At The Rainbow Bridge, Lucky

He was the best dog a person could even dream of asking for from day 1. I met him on a Saturday afternoon and he was by our sides for the next 16 years always eager to pander to our every whim. I was considering taking him on as one of the many “foster” dogs that have crossed my path through the years. The story that preceded his introduction was that he was thrown out of a car window on a gravel road as a puppy. He was then picked up and taken to the humane shelter where he met my friends. The wife had been talking about getting a little dog, like a Pomeranian or a dachshund. The husband met Lucky at the humane shelter and adopted him as a gift to the wife. Lucky was as far as we could tell a Sheltie (Shetland Sheepdog), though it’s debatable that he may also have had some Border Collie history. The family who adopted him comprised of 3 adults and 4 cats all living in a 1 bedroom efficiency apartment. A bad match for a herding breed, but as it turns out it was only a rest stop on his way to our house. We knew each other from church and the husband said the dog had to go because he constantly chased the cats. NO Frickin kidding? To put pressure on me he said if I didn’t take him, he would have to go back to the pound. I suspected in my heart that he was coming home with us that day. They brought him out of the apartment on a leash which neither of them – human or canine – knew how to use. He took one look at me and jumped in the car. We loaded his dishes and other paraphernalia shortly afterward and never looked back.

I used a collar and leash on him only when we went out in public or when we played flyball. Lucky and Eric were taught by Clyde who brought fyball to the United States and they were the best start team around at the time. The two of them had the timing down so well that his nose touched the sensor line the 1/100th of a second after the light turned green.

[will add more soon]

This morning I looked out the kitchen window at the glorious sunrise with the mist shifting across the ground and I said to him “Lucky, it’s a good day to die”.

I made the appointment yesterday. The night before he gave me the thumbs up, t was time to go. 16 blessed years with this good old boy. I’ve had him almost as long as I’ve had my son.

This morning he woke at 0645. He stood up and shuffled like old men do to the foot of the bed, leaning on the pedestal, getting his bearings. I got up as I’d done several times during the night and stroked him along his back feeling the spine under his loosely draped skin. I turned on the light and his cloudy blue eyes tried to focus. Then he tottered out the bedroom door and looked around for the kitten troop, now 4, the last kittens he raised. He walked to the water bowl and drank. Circled right a couple of times and looked toward me. I picked up his bowl and took it to the kitchen for breakfast. His favorite flavor of moist cat food is salmon, it’s also the smelliest. The kitties gathered round as he ate and I sat down on the floor next to him stroking him every few minutes. He lapped at the broth and attempted to take some bites. He ate about half and then lost interest. He circled and headed for the kitchen and back room. Last week he could no longer make his back legs lift him up the single front step and he now preferred the handicap exit in the back room that goes straight out to the ground.

Pete came out of the barn to greet him. He barely had enough strength to stay standing while he urinated and I saw his knees buckling with the effort. I went out and did the morning routine. He walked over and drank out of a puddle, then tottered after me to the barn for hay and to the paddock. He stood quietly by the tree while I tended the horses. I saw a flash of recognition as I came back under the fence and he walked with me back into the house.

It’s now 0722 and quiet in the house. I’m going out to prepare the truck for him.

He panicked only for a moment when we got to the vets door and wanted to go back to the truck. There was a flash moment when I second guessed the decision and almost came back home with him. Instead, I let him go sniff for a few minutes then picked him up and carried him in. I took the collar off – he hasn’t worn one for 10 years and then only because we were around other dogs, he didn’t need it but it’s a requirement. He was quiet in my arms, maybe a little unsure of what was going on but no struggles or whining. I held him while he died. That is my duty and honor for the lifetime he dedicated to us.

I’m back home now, I have a couple of hours before I have to go to work. The cats are all sniffing me and looking wide eyed. There must be some scent left from his final moments. I put him on the table and held him, telling him how awesome a dog he had always been and letting him know he was only going to the Rainbow Bridge so he could wait for me with Charity, Milo, Smoky (the dog), Tinker, Fawnie, Genie, JJ, Scratchy, Smokey (the cat), Bo and all the other critters. Then we had to move to another room (damn). I carried him and held him while they shaved his leg and gave the injection. I swear his heart would have kept him alive another 2 years. He was all heart.

The vet asked about his condition. The last 48 hours he has lost most of the use of his back legs, lost his appetite, he’s drinking, can’t get up the step alone, vomiting and has diarrhea. He’s mostly blind and deaf and has very few teeth left. The vet said he had a good long life in a great home and that meant a lot to me. The whole thing took about 15 minutes and he was gone. I know I made the right decision. I didn’t wait too long until he was miserable.

This is how I will remember him. On kitty patrol. This photo with Booda who was about a year old. Lucky was around 12 in this photo from the Springville house.

He had the best tipped natural ears. Lol

So long my dear old friend. I thank you so much for the time and joy you gave me and for taking care of Eric, all the kitties and most recently discovering your herd dog instincts when “helping” with the horses. You will be missed my friend. Your job here is done and you did it well.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ida
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 08:37:44

    I am so sorry to hear that he is gone, I didnt know him too Long but long enough to know he was the sweetest, loving dog around… He always greeted me whenn I would come to visit.. Enjoy your run with the angels Lucky and all your friends that have gone before you…. Hugs girl you were the best friend Lucky could of had!

  2. Frankie
    Mar 23, 2012 @ 11:49:23

    I’m so sorry. I knew it was coming, but it’s always so hard, even when you know it’s the right thing to do. Lucky really was a good old boy, and I’m glad you and he had each other. I’ll lift a glass for him tonight, RIP, Lucky. Big hug to you, my friend.

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