The Reality of Owning a Dog
No matter what, it's worth it in the end.
Last night was the first night in months that I slept through the night; but I would have given anything to hear that shrill little bark at 3 AM. Last night was the first night in months that I didn’t have to re-puppyproof my room before bed. But I would have gladly spent those extra 10 minutes to make sure you had everything you needed for the night.
Losing a pet is never easy, but damn, this one is hitting me hard. Maybe it’s because it’s so raw, or maybe it’s because Chance was so young. Maybe it’s because he was MY first dog, and I tried so hard to give him the best life possible. I knew he was on borrowed time, but I made the mistake of planning for the future anyways. I imagined what he would be like a year from now, three years from now, even 10 years from now, because I had convinced myself we were going to save him. I did a good thing by rescuing him, so surely that earned me years with him, right?
If only that’s how life worked. Unfortunately, I was only given four months with him, but those four months were so full of love for my sweet, stubborn little husky.
It’s things like this that make owning a dog so hard. Even though I only had a short amount of time with him, I loved him as if I had had him for 10+ years. I took him everywhere with me, literally going out of my way to find places that were dog friendly so Chance could tag along. He had his own little bed right in my passenger seat, and he even learned how to crawl into my lap so he could be close to mom all the time (yes, I let him to do this—not on the highway—because I knew my time with him was short). And then in the blink of an eye, I lost him. My travel buddy, my living stuffed animal, my alarm clock. Just like that, he was gone, and I felt the effects immediately. It doesn’t feel fair. It makes me want to never go through it again, but I know I can’t live my life without a dog.
In that way, dog people are crazy. Well, animal people are crazy, but coming someone who has had many types of animals, dog people are really crazy. When I first learned that Chance was sick, a month after adopting him, I had the unspoken option to euthanize him then. I knew his prognosis was incredibly poor then. As I’m reminded of often, most sane people would have euthanized him then, to spare themselves more time to get close to him only to lose him. But instead, I decided to try. Granted, I work at a vet office and have the access to everything he needed, but honestly, I don’t think that made Chance’s prognosis any better.
Thanks to me, my family, and all of my coworkers, Chance got to live a life, although short, full of love. All he knew was love, and that means I did my job. Sure, I’m left heartbroken, but I’ll always remember the love he showed me. He will forever be the standard I hold dogs to, and he will always be with me when I finally am ready to bring another dog into my life. He was a once in a lifetime dog, and he taught me so many lessons in a short period of time. He taught me so much about unconditional love, and he taught me that I am capable of taking care of something besides myself. He taught me how to put another living being before myself.
Thanks for coming into my life, Chance. From the moment I got you off the truck, I knew you were mine.
From the moment you were diagnosed with pythium, I knew it was my job to help keep you happy and comfortable for the remainder of your life.
And the moment I knew you were done fighting, I knew I had to be with you until the last moment, to make sure you knew love until the very end.
If I went back, knowing everything I know now, I would do it all over again. The lessons Chance taught me, and the love I got from him will stick with me forever. I love you so much, little dude. Go run free.