It's been a sad weekend for us. Today Don brought our old black lab/hound mix, Major, to the vet to be euthanized.
Major came into our lives ten years ago as a pound rescue. We were told he was about two years old, though of course no one knew his actual age. As the years went by it became apparent he was well over two, probably more like six years old when we first got him... so he was quite the senior citizen.
In the last few years, of course, he's declined in mobility, but he was always a dog who enjoyed his creature comforts. Early on in our ownership of him, we couldn't keep him off the couch; so we covered it with a sheet and it became "Major's couch." His couch is in the same room as the woodstove, which is a good thing because if there's one thing this dog loved, especially in the winter, it's heat. Sometimes he would literally wrap himself around the stove and sigh contentedly.
When we got Lydia, Major was top dog at first... but with Lydia's dominant personality, he got demoted to second lieutenant. But that was okay. As long as he had his couch and his woodstove, he was a happy canine. And in the yard, the dogs were great friends and often played together.
Almost three years ago we almost lost him due to a horrible infection on his head; but with some antibiotics, he healed up and stayed with us a lot longer than we anticipated. In fact, we called him our Energizer Bunny because he kept going, and going, and going...
On Saturday evening, Don let Major into the yard before bedtime to do his business; but something happened to his back legs, and suddenly they wouldn't support him any more. Don put a water bowl nearby and left him there for the night (which was probably a relief, as it's been terribly hot and the nighttime was cool and lovely).
Sunday morning, unable to move his hefty weight, we shifted him into our hay sled and brought him into the house where he sighed with contentment and slumbered for the day. Toward evening he whined to got outside -- he hadn't lost control of his bladder -- so we reloaded him in the sled and pulled him outside. Again he spent the night on the cool grass.
This morning Don and I put the camper shell on the back of the truck, loaded the sled in back, and Don drove him to the vet for a gentle exit to his life. As it is, we probably let him go for too long, but you know how it is with pets.
Lydia, sensing our mood, has been worried and apprehensive. As Don drove off, I took her for a short walk to distract her. Back home, she sniffed intently in the yard where Major spent the night. Clearly she knows something's up, but hasn't figured it out.
It's hard to lose a pet. Goodbye, Major. Thank you for many happy years.