My parents had to make the very difficult decision to put the family dog to rest last week, a week that should be dedicated to counting blessings and not filled with sadness. Tia was struggling and while all dog owners (and pet owners in general) know that the day will come, it doesn’t make it any less difficult.
Tia was a chocolate Labrador, our third Labrador. The second, Ginger, was a golden Labrador and she for all intents and purpose was the family dog; the one my siblings and I grew up with. When she passed away and Mom and Dad got Tia, we had all pretty much moved out at that point. But I think we all still identified with Tia as a part of the family.
I feel for my Mom, a vet tech in education, even if not by trade. It speaks to her love of animals and dogs in particular. She dedicated the time to her morning walks with Tia, she had a special blanket in the back of her car to drive her back and forth to doggy daycare – she loved Tia, as wild as that dog was.
I feel for my Dad, Tia’s “master” for sure. He dedicated lunch hours to stopping at home to let her out, was always the one to deal with her antics in the yard chasing rabbits, groundhogs, etc., and while she was a chore at times, she’d lay at the foot of his chair and keep him company when Mom wasn’t home from time to time. I know he’s going to miss her a lot too.
And I reflect for myself, the owner of an old and aging dog that is all my children have known. I think about Paxton aging, the inevitable that will come one day, and my gut drops a bit thinking about those difficult decisions. I think how quickly time flies, how Paxton would sleep in my bed before kids, go on runs with me and travel in the car to different places, just to “go for a ride.” Truly man’s best friend. It makes me sad for what’s ahead, but thankful today that I’m blessed to still have him and he, his health.
So to all pet owners, be thankful this week as you maybe reflect as I have on the bonds and friendships that our fur kids provide for us. And rest in peace, Tia. I hope doggy heaven is full of rabbits, unending dog biscuits and an exact replica of Mom and Dad’s couch. You were a great dog, and will surely be missed.