My family and I made a difficult decision this Friday (two days ago). We decided that it time to say goodbye to Filly, after 17 years of companionship and unconditional love. In the past 8 months or so, Filly's health had rapidly deteriorated. He lost most of his strength and couldn't go up and down the stairs and had to be carried, he had lost his appetite and was reduced to skin and bones (something that's really serious for a dog that had always been really fat, almost obese). Not only that, but one of each of his front and back paws was positioned at a crooked angle, making it difficult for him to walk around.
But despite all those problems, Filly kept on going. There were periods of time during the past 3 years when we thought his time was up but each time, he proved us wrong. He just kept on going, no matter how much the odds were against him. But this time, we decided that enough was enough, it wasn't fair to keep him with us when he was suffering. Filly deserved to be at peace.
We brought him to the vet this afternoon, and on our way there, I cried the whole way. I tried not to, I believe that dogs can sense someone else's emotions, which is why they're always there to comfort you when you're feeling down and they're really happy, when you are too. I didn't want my negative energy to affect his final moments, but I couldn't help myself. I raised this him from puppyhood until now and as cheesy as it sounds, he's my best friend.
I still remember the day my parents brought him home. I had no idea that he was coming home to us. It was a cold day in January and I had just finished school. I was bundled up from head to toe in winter gear and I spotted our red Previa. I waddled my way to the car and in my mom's lap in the passenger seat, was a dark brown bundle of fur. It was a surprise gift from my parents.
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of Filly when he was a puppy but I can tell you I fell in love. He was sassy, stubborn and rude, acted as if he owned the whole house right the beginning. But I loved him, and took care of him, I sang him songs while he slept on my leg and I told him stories about my day. He was there when my first boyfriend broke up with me over a decade ago, and he was there when my grandfather passed away 3 years ago, always patient and always comforting.
There's one memory of Filly that I remember really well. I was in 5th grade and my teacher had read horrifyingly scary Halloween stories to us in class. That night, I had nightmares and was afraid to sleep alone. I crept into my parents room and slept on the floor, next to my parent's bed. When I fell asleep, I had another nightmare and when I woke up, there was a large shadow looming over my face. I almost yelled out loud before I realized that Filly was centimeters away from my face, looking at me. I pushed him away and to my surprise (and delight), he lay down next to me for the rest of the night.
He was undoubtedly part of the family and was very much loved. But when he had to share that love and attention with another dog, he was a good sport about it. We brought home Yoshi, our beautiful akita about 3 or 4 years after Filly's arrival. Despite the size difference, they became friends and always looked out for each other, Filly being outspoken and loud, while Yoshi would silently observe and intervene if anything (or one) showed any signs of a threat to Filly.
Shortly after Yoshi's passing in 2010, Filly had to share the spotlight with another dog yet again. Obi was brought home in March, 2011 and had been trying to convince Filly that they were best buddies ever since. Filly, being much older, wasn't interested in playing with a young pup with no manners. Filly, once again, became a mentor to another puppy.
And Obi reciprocated Filly's kindness, during the past few months, when Filly had difficulty getting up, Obi would use his nose to push Filly up and push him to help him walk. When Filly was still asleep when someone was eating in the kitchen, Obi would go and bother him, to have Filly chase him to the kitchen, where we'd give some table scraps to Filly (even though Obi never received any himself). It's amazing how humans are the only ones capable of showing kindess and love.
When we arrived at the vet's, we waited about 20 mins in the car before Filly's number was called. Everyone, except my mom, went inside. As my dad handed Filly over to the nurse, my eyes were brimming with tears and I began to hyperventilate but I cradled his head, kissed him and whispered that he's a good dog before leaving the room.
I don't know why they don't let you stay with your dog when they're administrating the shot. I didn't want to leave Filly alone with the nurse and doctor, both who are people he didn't know, especially since I was afraid that his last thoughts were going to be that we abandoned him. I wanted to be with him while they were giving him his shot, to tell him that I was still here and that I'll be with him until the end. But I wasn't allowed to. Instead, I was outside the door, crying hysterically and hyperventilating.
After what felt like years, the nurse came outside and told us that he was at peace. There he was, on a metal table, exactly as I had seen him a thousand times, but he wasn't there anymore. I petted his head and said goodbye for the final time.
I had arrived home about an hour and a half ago, and I still can't believe that Filly's gone. It seems weird to not see him on one of our many rugs, to no longer hear his paws make that clicky sound whenever he walks. I'll never be able to run my hands through his coarse fur again, feed him table scraps or feel the warmth of his body pressed to mine when we're both asleep and dreaming. He'll never greet me at the door again when I come home and he'll never come running when I call his name.
But all good things must come to end. Even though you're gone, I'll never forget you. Thank you for being my companion and my greatest friend, for always sticking by me, for all the memories and for all the laughter. You've always been a good dog and I can only hope that I've filled your life with as happiness as you've filled mine. You're reunited with Yoshi now and I'll see both of you again.
I love you, boy boy.