Friday, September 12, 2008

In Memory of Trooper

Earlier today my parents gave me some depressing news: they had to put our family dog to sleep.

I know everyone thinks their dog is the best dog in the whole world. Well, Trooper was the best. Incredibly intelligent. Loyal to the nines. Good-hearted, without a mean bone in his furry 22lb. body. He had a wonderful personality that was equal parts joyful and stubborn. When you wanted to play, he could be a real wise guy. And when you were in the dumps, his companionship was unconditional.

He'd been with us for 17 years, since I was 13 and my sister was 9. She and I were just talking today; we can't really remember a time before we had him. He'd been a part our family's life forever.

Lately, he'd been going downhill. He'd lost his eyesight to cataracts, his hearing was gone, he had a bad case of arthritis, and was developing a myriad of other health problems. Inside, he was still the same dog we grew up with, but his body was letting him down. For the past year or so he'd been a roller coaster, with some good months and bad months. But last night, he couldn't stand. He was nearly comatose, his heart pounding, not reacting to anything. My parents made the difficult decision to not let him suffer any longer.

He lived a good life and it was his time, but I wish I'd been able to see him once more. I hadn't seen him since Christmas. My parents had offered to bring him up with them when they came to visit a couple months ago, but I didn't think a 24 hours of driving to and from a strange new place would have been good for him. If I'd only known... :(

Below are some photos from better days.

Trooper in his younger years.

Now the elder gentleman, enjoying the breeze in the yard.

Looking pitiful after a bath

"Oooh! Steak-cake!"
For his 14th birthday, my wife cooked him his very own steak.

I swear, it's like losing a little brother, a companion, a friend. People say that dogs know how their owners are feeling, and that was definitely the case with Trooper. He may not have understood literally what you were saying, but he could sense when you weren't doing well . Even if everything in your world seemed to be going wrong, he'd just sit down next to you quietly and look up at you as if to say "Hey, you look like you could use a friend right now." And you couldn't help but feel a little better.

I miss him. :(

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