We put my dog to sleep today. His health had been declining the past couple of weeks, and this morning it took a turn for the worst and he had a seizure in the front yard. I’d still been asleep when it happened, but both my parents were there with him. Dad came and woke me to tell me what happened, Mom came back in and called the vet to see if they could take us. Luckily, they could fit us in fairly quickly, we were there approximately 45 minutes later. The last thing we wanted was for him to continue suffering, whether it meant medications or the final sedative.
We brought him into our lives exactly twelve years ago, we went and adopted him from the shelter on my 20th birthday. I made the decision that since it was my birthday, I was the one who’d get to name him, and he became Tator Tot. Officially the name came from a Ron White joke, but it was much easier to explain to people we named him for his coloring. He had the same color as a cooked tater tot. (I named him Tator instead of Tater because it just looks better to me. It’s not spelled potate.)
We joked that this dog had nine lives, and nine of someone else’s lives. There’d been more than one occasion where he seemed on the brink of death only to bounce back, and I half expected the same to happen this time. I suppose that’s part of the five stages of grief.
And so today, after a short exam by the doctor, it was made clear that this was, indeed, the end, and putting him under would be the best course of action. The vet said it was likely he may have had a tumor in his brain, because his vision was suddenly gone and there were a few other signs, and that most likely is what triggered the seizure. As a family, we decided today was it. We all gave him a gentle pet as farewell, continuing to pet him as the shots took effect, and at approximately 1:30pm Mountain Time, he was gone. He was an amazing friend, and we know he was extremely happy with us. Today was the first day in over a decade I was able to eat lunch at the dining table without a fuzzy nose snuffling about my feet, hoping I dropped an entire burger for him. I can’t say I enjoyed not having that minor annoyance. I’ll miss you, Mister Tot.