Bucky - Goodbye Beautiful Boy
by Russ Privitt
(Grass Valley, CA, USA)
I remember the day I got Bucky. I had the pick of the litter - but he was the one who picked me. As I stood watching the 5 week old pups roll and wrestle and nip each other - one of them - alert and happy, immediately ran to me. This dog became my boy right then and there.
I remember the day I took him home - he fell right to sleep on my truck seat - snoring as I rubbed his fat little belly.
He was with me almost constantly for the next 14 1/2 years.
I am lucky to have had him and we even had extra time - Labs typically don't live to be almost 15 years old. Even though I knew mentally that our time was close - I simply was not prepared for the day we had to say goodbye.
I had to leave on a business trip, and I asked my good friend Lyn to stay with Bucky. Shortly into my trip, she called to tell me that he wasn't eating and seemed to be in pain. Another good friend Don, helped get Bucky to the vet. I spoke with the vet several times per day on the phone, and we tried many tests through the long week that I had to be away. My dog simply wouldn't eat, and they didn't know why. Finally, I arrived home late Friday night and went to see him.
He was disoriented and weak - it was painful to see him that way and I thought I might lose him right then - but he was glad to see his dad and perked up with new energy. I decided to take him home, to be together if it was to be the end - or to restore his strength if I could. I hand fed him broiled chicken breast all that day Saturday, and slowly his appetite and strength returned.
He had a good night, and seemed to have regained some strength, and Sunday we had the most precious, beautiful day together. I am so thankful for that day - we walked outside in the yard, rode in my truck to town - and simply sat on the couch together with his head in my lap. He was home - and we were both happy.
However, that Sunday night he woke me up in the middle of the night. He was in pain, and wanted to go outside.
I will spare the details of that night, but it was awfully painful for him and very hard for me. I felt so helpless. He would no longer even drink, and I squeezed water from a cloth into his mouth. I held him through the night and comforted him as best I could - but I knew the end had come for my boy.
Monday morning, February 1st 2010, I took him in to the vet. We brought him in to an examination room, and the vet explained what I already knew. I gave the OK for him to be euthanized, and held him close and spoke softly in his ear as the doctor shaved his leg. His veins were so collapsed that it was hard to get the needle in. His peace came amazingly fast - and I knew that I had done the right thing - but my heart was broken beyond what I ever thought possible. I left his beautiful, old body lying on a stretcher in the clinic - and sat outside in my truck in the parking lot for a long time.
I couldn't think - I was overwhelmed with pain and sadness. I wanted to die myself. I was in intense physical pain and my vision was cloudy to the point of being black. I felt like my body was under a ton of dirt in the deepest blackest hole.
It took quite some time to regain the ability to even drive home.
That day I took a very long walk alone - several miles covering many of the places he and I had walked together all those years. I had not seen some of them for a while since my boy had gotten to the point where he was no longer able to walk so far.
My house is empty and quiet now. I don't like being here. It's been 8 months and I still cry often. Tears stream down my face as I write this. His ashes are in a nice cedar box on my mantle - and I found a great picture of us together at Tahoe that I put in the front panel of his box.
At first, I thought I was going crazy because I could hear him breathing, walking around and the jingle of his collar. I had many vivid dreams about him the first couple of months - it was if he was there - and I was so happy - only to wake up and realize it was a dream and begin crying.
Time has passed, and I think I will be OK. I remember him and the things he taught me. Even to his last day he was always happy, and ready to go. Even as an old man - stiff and sore - he never complained - never hesitated to get up and go.
I think I will be OK - but I am missing the love in my life. He was both my brother and my son. I am thankful for all we had - the wonderful blessing he was. Many people still say that it's not the same without him. They see me and think he should be there. Well - I do too. You couldn't know him without loving him. He has a huge fan club and people always smile when they think of him.
I am getting to the point where I can smile again. Today marks the 8th month that he left this world. My life will never be the same. I think it is very hard for people who live alone to lose a pet. But I am convinced that I will see him and know him again when I pass to the other side.
Someday, I will get another dog. That dog will be different and wonderful in its own way - as every dog is. At the moment though it isn't time to do that - it just wouldn't be fair. I will know when it's OK.
I have loved one of the most wonderful creatures that God ever created.