Personal Stories

Tough Decisions and the Dogs We Love

This has been a tough week and it’s only going to get more difficult. One of my dogs, Rudi, is…

This has been a tough week and it’s only going to get more difficult. 

One of my dogs, Rudi, is in failing health. She has arthritis in her back legs and hips so it’s difficult for her to walk on the wood floors in our house. She has doggy dementia and gets confused and her vision and hearing are both in decline. 

It’s difficult to see a dog that used to be so happy, bouncing around, in the state she’s in now.

Everyone who has a dog realizes this will happen. When Rudi turned 10 years old, the reality set in that I may not have much time left with her. 

The first dog I had as a kid lived to be 10. Her name was Katie. I came home from school and found her the day she died. It’s something I’ll never forget and was one of the saddest days of my life. We were best buds from the time I was 5 to when I was 15. That’s essentially my entire childhood. I just sat next to her and cried. 

Rudi is a Pekingese. Totally different in a lot of ways, but she’s been with me through some of the more difficult times in my life. The core of my early adult life and into the next chapter of building a family. 

I never thought I would ever have a small, fluffy dog like Rudi. It was actually the decision of my girlfriend at the time. I wanted a pug (which I now have thanks to the decision of another girlfriend who is now my wife). 

But it didn’t take long for me to become attached to her. I named her Rudi after Rudi Johnson, a player on my favorite football team, the Cincinnati Bengals. 

When my girlfriend and I broke up I remember saying “You know I get Rudi, right?!” She said that’s fine, surprisingly. 

This week, I had finally worked up the courage to contact our vet because I don’t even know how this type of thing works. I’ve never had to do it. Part of me wishes I would just find her the same way I found Katie. It’s hard but much better than me making the decision that her life should end and, worse, when. 

I couldn’t bring myself to call, I didn’t want to start crying on the phone, so I emailed them. 

They emailed me back, what I used to refer to when I was in sales as a ‘shit sandwich’. 

It opens with “We’re so sorry to hear this”, blah, blah, blah to here’s how it works and the cost wrapping up with we’ve really enjoyed getting to know Rudi (they also have boarding so Rudi has spent a lot of time with them). 

I haven’t been able to respond but know I should. That was Monday. It’s now Thursday. 

Anyone at the vet the day I have to bring her in will probably be surprised to see a 200-lb guy crying over a 12-pound fluffy dog. But, I don’t care what they think. That’s going to be one of the most difficult days of my life and I’m not looking forward to it at all. 

Now I have to make the decision of when I’ll have say goodbye to my friend and long-time companion.  

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