Archive for February, 2015

Good Boy, Waylon

A little over a week ago, we lost our dog. This has been the longest we’ve been dog-less in our 10-plus years of marriage.

I’ve been thinking about this post for that whole time, trying to figure out what I wanted to say about Waylon. Even though I’m not the kind of person to think of my pets as my “furbabies,” Waylon and the dogs we had before him were definitely part of the family and there is an empty spot in my heart right now.

We heard about Waylon’s litter through a friend who also chose a puppy from among his siblings. We had just lost a dog and were looking for another. I remember going to pick him out and falling in love with the shyest, fattest little guy in the litter. A couple weeks later I brought him home and he promptly hid behind our bushes, a favorite resting spot his whole life.

The day we brought him home.

The day we brought him home.

We were told he was a yellow lab, that both parents were labs, but not registered. His parents were also farm dogs, so it was only fitting that he came to be our farm dog, providing the intimidation factor to critters and delivery people. However, underneath his large (150 pound!) physique was the sweetest personality. If you spent a minute to pet his head, he was your best bud for life, nosing his way underneath your hand for more attention.

Love that puppy smile!

Love that puppy smile!

Like puppies do, he dug up a few plants, ate a pair of pants that fell (or maybe were pulled??) off the clothesline, and loved to chase the barn cats. But the strangest thing he chewed up was several sets of solar lights. I thought they would be cute, lining the sidewalk to the door. But no sooner did I put them out that I found bits and pieces of them in the yard. Not learning my lesson, I bought another set. Well, those solar lights must have looked at him funny, because Waylon destroyed them, too. I did not try a third time.

One of my favorite pictures of him.

One of my favorite pictures of him.

A couple years ago, he developed a small growth on his leg, which we pointed out to the vet at his yearly checkup. Told it was likely nothing, we decided to watch and wait, as surgery on a dog his size would have not been easy. Around Thanksgiving last year it was noticeably larger, but didn’t seem to bother him in the least. By mid-January, it was much worse and caused the vet to clear his calendar for surgery the day after we took him in. I fully prepared myself for him to not come through the procedure, but he did and seemed to be doing well, even though he hated the “cone of shame” he had to wear. Then about a week later, he stopped eating and it was clear something was wrong. A trip back to the vet confirmed he had more internal tumors, and there wasn’t anything we could do other than a few more days of pain management.

Making the decision to let him go wasn’t easy, but it was the right thing to do. He wasn’t going to get better, no matter how many more surgeries or treatments we tried, and his quality of life was rapidly declining. I sat at my desk and cried, thankful it was close to the end of the workday and most of my co-workers were out of the office.

I don't have many pictures of Little C with Waylon - too much activity! But I'm glad I have this one.

I don’t have many pictures of Little C with Waylon – too much activity! But I’m glad I have this one.

Big C brought home his collar and hung it on his pen. I’m going to do something with it, but haven’t decided what yet. It has two metal tags, vaccination verification from the county, and when the wind blows just right they jingle, just as they did when he would come walking up to see what we were doing.

I find myself looking around, reaching out to pet him, and then remember, he’s gone.

Good boy, Waylon. Good boy.

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