So, folks, after a three-and-a-half year war against cancer, that day has come: we put Chuckles down on January 8th, 2014.
When we brought Chuckles home, I was a teenager, and he was a filthy 3-month-old pup that was scared of his own shadow. We hadn’t even meant to purchase him that day. His ‘breeder’ brought him to us holding him up by the scruff of his neck, and he simply hung there, resigned to this less-than-gentle handling.
We grew up together, he and I. He was a stubborn, loyal, and loving friend, and I was helplessly in love from the moment my fingers curled into his fur.
When I heard the words “chemotheraphy” and “Grade 2″ and “approx. 50% chance of reoccurance” my first thoughts were: “No, absolutely not. He’s mine and you can’t have him!” I didn’t want to share him with cancer, but it turned out that I didn’t have a choice.
We’ve been through a lot since then… Chemotherapy, recurrence of tumors, development of histiocytic sarcoma, more chemotherapy.
Through it all, Chuckles had very little time when his quality of life was poor… The vast majority of the time, he was running around, barking at backyard birds (INTRUDERS!), begging for toast crumbs, getting into fights with raccoons (and losing), getting skunked, trying to fit under the coffee table (hate to break it to you old man, but you only really fit until you were about 6 months old), and breaking all the girls’ and boys’ hearts by playing hard to get (No, you may not pet me. I don’t know you. Seriously, why do you even exist. Go away.).
He taught me to slow down, to pay attention to the little joys in life. He showed me that just because he wasn’t outgoing and exuberant, it didn’t mean that he didn’t love.
I learnt to be a little slower with him, to take the time to really get to know him, and to earn his trust and his affections. From that first little half-sniff of my shoulder when he was a puppy (accompanied by a newly raised tail and a single, dubious tail wag), to the times in his older years when he slept tucked up right beside me, I cherished every little moment I had with him.
I will miss having him around, but I will forever cherish the memories we made together.
May you rest in peace my old man.