I spoke with my sister and dad on Monday night, and they told me that they had to put my dog, Chuckie, to sleep. I say “my dog” in the sense that for the last eight years, I didn’t live with him, I didn’t feed him, I didn’t take him outside when he needed it, but every single time I went home, I was the only person he was concerned with.
We got Chuckie, a light-brown cocker spaniel, when he was about 2 years old. He was, prior to that point, an outside dog. (This is something that I personally disagree with, to be honest, but I’ll save that rant for later.) There were several large dogs that also lived at that old house, and he had to fight for food and water. My mom joked to the woman who lived at the house that, “if you don’t want that dog, we’ll take him!” A few days later, they gave him to us. We already had another cocker spaniel, Jumanji, and my Dad didn’t want more than one, so we gave him to my sister’s boyfriend. Chuckie lived there for a couple weeks, until my sister took him. You see, her boyfriend’s family grew angry at Chuckie’s in-home restrooming, but instead of trying to train him, they kicked him. My sister saw this, and literally put the dog in her car, and left.
Once she got home with him, we decided to keep him. It was at this point, that Chuckie started to gravitate towards me.
Jumanji definitely considered my dad to be #1. Chuckie considered me to be #1. Every single night for most of my teenage years, Chuckie would climb under the covers and sleep next to me. He would always defend me against “I’m gonna get him”‘s and tended to end up wherever I was in the house. He sat beside me when I spent countless hours learning things about computers, or reading books, or searching the Internet for the latest anime, or playing PlayStation. It’s cliché to say that he was my best friend, but he was. There’s nothing like having a friend like that. He didn’t care about how cool I was or anything, he just wanted to be with me all the time.
Years have passed, and more recently, Chuckie had started not responding when we called his name. He had lost his hearing. His eyes also started getting cloudy. As it turned out, he was completely blind in one of his eyes, and the other one wasn’t doing well either. We had discussed what we would do if he did go completely blind and deaf, but I never really wanted to face that reality. Chuckie was my dog, and I didn’t want him to leave us.
On Monday, the veterinarian told my sister that a growth that was on his mouth was cancerous. It wasn’t something that could be removed, and it was an aggressive form of cancer. He was destined to decline quickly and painfully. They decided that in order to ease this suffering, they would have him put to sleep. While I wish that my family would have given me an opportunity to say goodbye, I am glad that he is no longer suffering from it. It would have been selfish of me to have made him suffer just so I could see him again.
The times that I shared with him will be with me for the rest of my life. Whether it was throwing the ball for him (and the way he couldn’t figure out what direction the ball would be bouncing), or just the way he HAD to sleep in my bed with me (and many other times when I wasn’t there, and he still slept in my bed because he missed me).
You were my dog. Rest in peace, buddy.