The things that happen one Sunday afternoon while you are completely unaware. Just a normal Sunday afternoon where I am doing something really cool, and find out something happened suddenly. The way life is, most days. There’s this great video I watch anytime I am having a bad day and while it may not make me feel better, it makes that day suck a little bit less. In that video there’s a line that says that the real worries in your life is something that will find you on some idle Tuesday. It also says that your life is 50% chance, just like everybody else’s. I just got finished putting a peanut butter cheesecake in the oven and decided to call to wish the old man a happy birthday. That’s when I found out what happened. The family dog, Riley, had seized. It was bad. Now his mind appeared to be gone and he was running around smashing into things. He wasn’t getting better. There was nowhere they could take him. After all his health troubles up to this point, it was clear what had to be done. Call my old man callous for ending the dog’s pain with a bullet instead of an injection, but it was quick and he didn’t suffer. That’s more than most can say.
Riley was the offspring of our old dog Zoey, who I did an In Memory post for. She was given to me after a major surgery. A pure-bred lab, she was an awesome dog. But she was not my dog. Not by a long shot. Just like her puppy, she was my old man’s dog. Everywhere he went, she followed. We bred her with another pure-bred lab and had a whole bunch of puppies. Riley was unique among them. The whole lot of them were black as obsidian, except him. He was white as a sheet. Little albino dog. The only one from the litter the family kept, he was the most loyal dog you could imagine.
More than a little of a momma’s boy, everywhere that Zoey went, he went. Everything that she did, he did. Make no mistake, for how much bigger he got than her, it was clear that she was the top dog. It was so fun to watch when he would finally get on her nerves and she would run his big ass down and bowl him over and get on top of him in an act of dominance. Like the wolves they descended from, she is the alpha dog. Of that there is no question. And he was a good kid.
However, like I said, he was most definitively the old man’s dog. I told this story in the post for Zoey, but I knew who everyone was at the house on the lake by how they walked. My cave was in the basement, and everyone in the family had their own walk. Sally (my mother) was always slow and plodding. She was never in a hurry. My sister’s walk was angry. A fitting theme, since anger is her stock and trade. But the old man always had the clickety-click of doggy feet behind him. Everywhere that he went, those two were there. If he was out plowing snow, they were in the plow truck with him. If he was on the 4-wheeler doing work outside, they were on the back. It was kinda cute how the two would fight over who got to sit on his lap when he would be watching the news at night. Never would he have let that be the case when he was younger. My old man got so much more lenient as his years are getting on.
For example, every day that Sally would leave for work in the summer and he didn’t have to go to work, the two would be up on the bed. He would bemoan how spoiled the two are, but deep down I knew that he kinda liked having two big pals to do stuff with. I was never big on the outdoor stuff or the vehicle stuff, so he got to have a couple of happy helpers to be with him.
When Zoey passed, I think it hit Riley hard. Dogs process death differently than us, and he was a very lonely dog for some time. But then he came back and life resumed for the big white mutt. For a couple years he was the only family dog and he was just like Zoey. Everywhere the old man went, there he was. If anything, he was much more insisting than his mummy-dog. He had to absolutely be involved with everything.
Then things took a turn. He had a health problem which caused one of his eyes to be in a massive amount of pain, all the time. This was on top of digestion issues and fatty deposits he had. Pure-bred dogs have a lot more health problems than mutts, and he was no exception. After surgery to remove the eye that was in pain, he was a happy dog again. But his health had been declining more and more. Today, it all came to a head. As was told to me on the phone, he started having seizures and then subsequently running around and losing it. He was smashing into things, like he couldn’t tell where he was or what he was doing. I was told that the old man took him outside to where he wanted to lay him to rest, next to Zoey, and ended it. Once-again, think him callous, but he did what had to be done to stop his pain. My family isn’t rich, and his mind was gone. I can’t imagine how much it hurt, but the deed is done.
Riley was a good boy, and while he wasn’t my dog, I am going to miss him. He was a good boy, and now my parents only have one pet left – my cat. And her health is declining fast. She’s completely deaf and I think she is really scared at night. She yowls like she is in pain, but I don’t think she is. During the day she is alright. I think her vision is going too and she’s scared. Her hair is getting matted and she sleeps virtually non-stop. I think this will be her last winter too. I suddenly am feeling very alone out here. But all that is a post for another day. I’m really tired right now, and I got laundry to do. Being an adult sucks.
Until next time, a quote,
“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings