I've been dreading this post. I just don't want to write it. Maybe because it makes it final. Maybe because it still stings my heart. Maybe because I know it makes me cry. I miss you Hank.
My usual bedtime routine had Hank on my heals following me room to room. But May 24 something was different. My buddy wouldn't leave his softy bed in the living room. He was sleeping pretty hard, so I left him to snooze. Around 2:00 am, I heard him up, which was nothing out of the ordinary for his old age to need a middle of the night bathroom break. I got up, but didn't find him at the door. He was standing between the kitchen table and fridge. Stiff. Back arched. Tail down. Horse-like. His eyes were marble-like. When I said his name, he didn't flutter. Something wasn't right. After some petting and talking to, he eventually walked over to the door, yet ignoring my affection.
I let him out. There was a full moon, and it was very bright. Bright enough, I didn't need to turn the back light on to see him. He didn't go far. He sat awkwardly on his back legs and gazed to the back of the yard. Since he wasn't going to the bathroom, I opened the door to have him come back inside.
Nothing. He didn't shudder at my voice.
I went out. Pet him and tried to coax him inside.
Nothing. He totally ignored me. And it was then. Then I realized this was going to be hard.
I got down next to him. Petting him and talking to him. He wouldn't turn he head to look at me, no wag of the tail. In fact, it was if he didn't even want me there. But I couldn't just leave him. No, not my buddy. I couldn't leave him laying there by himself, when he never left my side for the past 12 and a half years. His 50 pounds wasn't moving though.
I rushed inside and grabbed a large quilt. Adam wasn't home, so it was just me and my muscles. I gently wrapped the quilt around my buddy and used it to bundle him up and carry him gently into our bedroom. I brought in all his favorite bed and blankets. His face was sagging on one side and I'll never forget the way he looked at me. It was time.
I made my bed next to him so we could sleep together. And texted Adam letting him know.
How was I going to do this? Adam was gone, Emma had two days left of her time in Elementary school, Hope had her celebratory picnic left at her Pre-K school. Not now Hank, please, not now.
Adam text me back and said, "wait till I get home. I'll be there Thursday night." OK.
I didn't sleep anymore that night. The two days were being strong in front of the girls and keeping Hank comfortable. He didn't eat. He drank some. He mainly stayed in our bedroom. And so did I. "Sleeping" on the floor next to him every night. Napping by him during the day. Loving on him. Telling him how much I loved him. Telling him it would be OK. Kissing my favorite spot that dipped down right between his eyes. Petting him nonstop. This was my buddy. He loved me and my family every minute of everyday. He was the most loyal friend us girls (and Adam) could every have. He moved four times with us. He saw both girls come home from the hospital. He watched them grow up. He protected us. He knew when Adam was gone. He knew when I wasn't feeling well. He ALWAYS loved me, unconditionally. And I loved him too. Best friends.
Friday we made the call. And Saturday morning, May 28 was the hardest day of my life. We woke the girls up. Told them Hank wasn't feeling well, and that I was going to the vet to have him checked out...but he wasn't doing good, and he might not come back. We cried. They loved on him. We told him how much we loved him. Even though his tail didn't wag anymore, I knew he heard us and he knew.
He was my dog. He had been by my side everyday for the past 12 and half years, so I didn't think twice about who would take him to the vet. Adam lifted him into the car and I drove the hardest drive to the vet ever. We had our last hugs and kisses. It was time. My heart that was broke was now crumbling to pieces.
Rest in peace Hank. Rest in peace. You
He came back home with me and was put to rest by our garden. I missed him already.
The vet had made two paw print keepsakes for the girls. I gave them to them. We cried.
It didn't get any easier as the day progressed. Bedtime was the worst. I had never left him outside during the night before. And there he was. It was chilly out and dark. I hated leaving him "there" all by himself. I know. I know. But my heart just wasn't understanding yet. I'll miss you buddy.