For years, our old pooch, Dusty, has been crazy as a loon. Three years ago, it got so bad, that Bob took her to the vet and asked what to do with her. The vet gave us crazy pills which sort of worked, and over time, we figured out how to manage her craziness. She has torn up our house, chewing baseboards, destroying carpet, eating through cords (always the very expensive cords), escaped all kinds of kennels, and through it all, we've managed not to kill her. She was deathly afraid of storms and fireworks, and Bob and I learned to dread storm season and were thankful for the drugs located in the kitchen drawer to knock her out for the worst of them. Yesterday, it rained and thundered a little, and Dusty seemed to be fine. Since Bob and I got together, Dusty has adopted me as her person. She doesn't get up until I do, she follows me around and lays next to me, and when the storms come, she wants to be up close and personal, but yesterday she was happy just laying on the floor. Bob and I were worried about how she would react to the boys, and we had decided that if there was any trouble we would have to do something about the dogs. Duke LOVES the boys. He can't get enough of them. He likes to lick them, smell them, and he lets them bruise and batter him without flinching (he even survived Ryan's death grip on his weenie). Dusty likes to count the boys and make sure they are all okay, but she really doesn't like to be close to them. As the boys are getting more and more mobile (we've mastered the military crawl, and I'm sure it's just a short time before it's full-fledged let's make Mommy chase us crawling becomes a fact of life), they are becoming obsessed with reaching the dogs, their beds, their food, etc.
Yesterday, James startled Dusty by grabbing her tail, and she bit him on the head. I couldn't believe it. When she gets scared, she'll snap at you, but with the reflexes of a unaware 8 month old, James didn't dodge her attack and he was bitten. Luckily Dusty doesn't have very sharp teeth (she's destroyed them in her McGuyver-like escapes and on my baseboards), so she didn't puncture the skin, but she did leave a welt and a couple of scrapes. The scariest part is how close her teeth got to James' eye. It put Bob and I in a horrible position. We love that crazy-ass dog, but we love our kids more. With storm season just starting to gear up and the boys starting to get mobile, we just couldn't trust Duster. Her quirks made it impossible to send her off to live with someone else - it's just not fair to dump a crazy dog on an unsuspecting kind soul. I called the vet and asked what to do, and they gave me the prices for putting your dog to sleep and cremation.
It broke my heart and Bob's heart. We know Dusty is a pain in the butt, but she's our pain in the butt. After many, many, many tears and a very sleepless night, I took Dusty to the vet today. The house feels empty without her. The cat can walk through the house in peace, Duke doesn't know where his best pal has gone (he's laying on the floor next to me - something he never does), and every time I realize that she's not here, I tear up. I know when Bob gets home from his business trip, he'll feel the sting even more. I don't really have words for how hard this day was.
Dusty has always been part of the landscape of my life with Bob, subtly working her way into my heart despite how she tortured my beloved cat. She was half of our dynamic dog duo, and now it's just Duke. We all miss her, but I know it was the right thing to do, and I hope I never have to do it again. Maybe I'll have a talk tonight with Duke and Emma about how dying in your sleep of old age is the best way to go.
Rest in Peace, Dusty. You were loved, and you will be missed.