Poo was an extremely healthy and happy dog ever since he came into my life as a small puppy in the winter of 1992. Ben, my business partner at the time, got Poo in January. He was about six weeks old so we figured that he was a November baby. Both Ben and I have November birthdays, Ben's birthday is on the 18th and mine is on the 14th so we arbitrarily set Max's birthday to November 16th, 1991. When Ben left for a nine month band tour around the Western USA he left Max in my care. He became the main focus of my life for the next 15 years.
Ben was the first to take Poo on walkies at night, and I continued the tradition. We went on walkies every single night, rain, cold, or heat, 363 days a year (we took New Years and the 4th of July off--Max was not fond of fireworks.)
In February 2006 Poo tore a ligament in his right knee. My vet said there is an operation, but it was only about 50% successful and that's for young dogs (Poo was 109!) He had been suffering with diabetes. I had to give him insulin injections twice a day and he had arthritis, cataracts, and was hard of hearing. But, despite all of that he still was a very happy dog. He just started getting weaker and weaker in his last few days and I could see that he was hurting. I didn't want him to get so weak that he could no longer go on walkies. So, Monday morning we took our last walkies; at noon Mom came over and we gave him his favourite meal, baked chicken (with the bones still in it!); and at 3:00PM we had him put down.
It's hard to think that I'll never hug him again, kiss that beautiful face of his, listen to him complain about me being gone for so long, and see how easily he forgave me (especially when I pulled out a little piece of lunch that I brought home for him), watch him walk back and forth in front of the TV until I took him on walkies, or have to put a rolled up blanket down the middle of the bed to keep him on his own side (only to wake up and find him sleeping on top of me). I know I did the right thing -- he is no longer in pain -- but I am and probably always will be. I hugged him, kissed him, and whispered into his ear that he was a very good dog, and then he was gone.
Poo has been the most wonderful experience of my life. Who would have thought that a dog could teach a human so many things? Poo taught me not to get so upset when I was cut off by another driver. When I would start to complain (and I did complain!), Poo would gently put his paw on my shoulder, as much as to say, it's not that big of a deal. Poo taught me that there is such a thing as mornings! He would go in and out of the bedroom doggy door (making as much noise as possible -- sometimes even popping the door open and closed with his nose again and again to make even more noise!) He would be standing there staring at me with the biggest smile on his face possible! He knew I could not refuse such enthusiasm! Eventually I grew to love mornings too. He taught me the meaning and power of unconditional love, and for these, and countless other lessons, I am eternally grateful.
I will miss this dog for the rest of my life, and I will never forget him.