Friday, February 08, 2013

My Buddy, Draco - En Paz Descansa

Days like this are tough.

I'm sitting here, hanging out with my buddy of 14 years, Draco. I should clarify, I am sitting here saying goodbye to my buddy...

Draco's been a damn good dog, but it's his time to go, he's got too many issues that come with old age, and for a large dog, over 100 pounds, 14 years old is a ripe ol' age (when the vet saw him late last year, he was shocked that Draco could still walk around and stuff). I wish it didn't have to be this way, but... sigh.

When my mom called to tell me of their decision, I was on the last day of a crazy intense job where I had been working 14-16 hour days for a month. She said the vet was coming over that day, I was shocked and told her to postpone it a few days because I needed to be there, she said ok. I needed to get that job done, my mind was split on thinking of the task at hand and thinking of my poor old buddy only having a couple days left, and more so, I couldn't let him go through that alone, I couldn't imagine him being put to sleep surrounded by strangers.

He's been a great dog, the sweetest dog, never a mean bone in his body; yes, he was insanely wild in his youth and completely untrained (for that, I blame us, not him). When I still lived at home, I would take Draco for walks around the neighborhood, people would see him and gasp, they would gather up their yapping small dogs and hide them, I could hear people inside their homes saying things like "That guy is walking a horse!" It always made me smile. I think with a bit more care and attention, he would have not just been a great dog, but the most amazing dog ever!

For the last few years, he's mellowed out quite a bit; he doesn't jump on anyone anymore (he used to routinely knock my mom to the ground), those old hips just can't handle the jumping. Now, he just follows my parents wherever they go, which annoys my folks to no end, they don't understand dog psychology. I think these last couple years he's been happier than in his earlier life if only because my folks started letting him indoors, I think when he was allowed indoors and could hang out with them all the time, it helped mellow him out...

He was a damn good dog, I hope we were ok to him... I wish we would have been better to him, he deserved it.

*Edit-- Well, I am home now, the deed was done at around 5pm. It was really difficult to stare into those big brown eyes as they prepped him for the lethal injection. They wrapped his muzzle and shaved a part of his arm, all the while Draco stared up at us with those eyes that wrinkled into a questioning expression. The vet said we could be with Draco when he injected him if we wanted, and I immediately went to his side and pet him under his mouth and around his ears the way I always did. My sister also knelt down to pet him, which surprised me as she was even considering not being there today, but I am glad she did, he deserved to be surrounded by his family. My mother stood off to the side and I could hear her weeping. They took the muzzle off and Draco kept trying to look at the vet as the doctor put the poison into his veins, but we held his head and pet him with love as he drifted away in our arms. It was really tough to hold him as he went slowly limp. The doctor checked his pulse and pronounced him "gone", then said "It's OK, close your eyes" as he shut Draco's eyes, I thought that was very kind of him. My sister and I continued to pet him for a few minutes until the doctor said he needed to put him in a bag. Now THIS was the toughest part, watching the doctor put my beloved doggie into a blue trash bag. Watching Draco's eyes, the life now gone from them, open as his neck flopped at an unnatural angle nearly broke me. That's an image I wont be able to undo, but I needed to watch it all out of respect for him. He was a good dog and he will be remembered.
Here's puppy Draco sleeping on my sleeping dad... awwww...
Draco and my dad a few years later, both a bit older, hopefully wiser...
And one of my favorite pictures of the big galut!

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