The Last Walk

The leash is resting quietly in the basket by the front door, no longer with a purpose.

The place where dog dishes sat is empty, there is no one left to feed.

The dog door is closed.

This morning I scrambled an extra egg and cooked up two additional slices of bacon.  I broke the bacon into pieces with my fingers, mixed it up with the egg, and asked Cody and Carter if they would like to help me feed Dexter a very special breakfast.  They knew something was up.  We don’t usually feed people food to our furry critters but today was different.

After we had eaten, Husband gallantly attempted to explain to the boys that this afternoon, the vet would be coming to our house.  He talked to the boys about how Dexter hurts; about how he can no longer walk to the bus stop.  He talked about how it hurts him to stand up and how sometimes he can’t even stand at all.  He spoke of the love we have for Dexter and how we hate to see him in pain.  Husband talked through his tears about the good life Dexter has had with our family and about how we will always love him.

Cody figured it out by the second sentence.  He saw the sadness on our faces.  His eyes overflowed, his lip quivered and he flung himself into Husband’s arms.  Carter understood the words but not the finality of their meaning.  He clung to the part about our good friends coming to visit us to take them on a special outing while the vet visited to give Dexter the medicine that would stop his pain – to make Dexter not be with us anymore.

They wrapped their little arms around Dexter’s furry neck.  They gave him kisses and cried into his fur.  Cody told Dexter that he would miss him.  Carter said goodbye.

There was sobbing and there was such sadness around our breakfast table this morning.

This afternoon in our living room we lost a member of our family.

Now there are two dog collars on our bookshelf, the jingle of their tags has been silenced.

Dexter always in the background

It is strange to be living in a house, a house that has always had a dog in it, without a dog.

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About shoes

I am a blogger, a former microbiologist, a stay at home mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
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32 Responses to The Last Walk

  1. Stir Fry says:

    Oh, it’s just so sad. When we went through a similar thing with our kids, they were in grade 1 and grade 2. We picked them up from school early so that we could explain what had happened before hubby left for work. Hugs to you and your family. xx

    • shoes says:

      I think it is good you included your children in the sad event, a tearful life lesson. Cody is in the first grade and Carter will start Kindergarten this fall. It has been tough but I am glad we talked about it as a family and worked through how we were feeling.

      Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment, I appreciate it.

  2. mimijk says:

    I weep with and for you all. It is truly the loss of a family member and your stories of walking to and from school with Dexter are evocative memories to those of us in bloggerland. I am so thankful your family came into Dexter’s life and vice versa. And I am so sorry for your loss today. These goodbyes are too hard..and yet the thought of not having these treasures in our lives even more untenable..

    • shoes says:

      Tomorrow morning’s walk to the bus stop will be one of much sorrow – we will miss Dexter with every step. It is so strange, this house without him. I found him as a stray so very many years ago when he was just a sad and extremely ill puppy. He had a great life with us and I am glad that he lived long enough for the boys to know and remember him. I am glad he is at peace.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss–but happy that you and Dexter and your family had such a wonderful relationship — ((((hugs)))

    • shoes says:

      We had a great twelve and a half years with Dexter. He was not very brave nor was he very smart but he was sweet, kind, and oh so loving. He was my four legged, furry shadow following me where ever I went. I will miss him greatly.

  4. I’m sorry to hear about Dexter. We too had to take our two older dogs Harold and Maude to the vet this year – at different times – they were 15 years old and had long and happy lives. We were happy to have had them around for such a long time and sad to lose them.

    • shoes says:

      I am glad we got to spend as much time with Dexter as we did. He was a wonderful dog. I am sorry to hear about Harold and Maude (I LOVE the names, by the way – great movie). It will take a lot of getting used to, not having him around.

  5. We have been through this and it is sooooooo hard! So sorry for your loss~

  6. Jodi says:

    Oh my, I’m so, so sorry. It gives me comfort that we can take their pain away, but the pain it instills in our hearts when they leave us is hard. I’m sending you a virtual hug.

    Run fast, run free Dexter.

    • shoes says:

      I am very glad we could make his pain end. It was not a hard decision in that we knew he would be at peace. We are missing him like crazy and it feels very strange not to have a dog around. Husband and I have been together since 1995 and we have only had a couple months where we were without a dog in our lives.

  7. Oh I am so sorry for your loss. What a hard, loving thing to do for your dog. Sending you love and light.

    • shoes says:

      It was so hard but he was hurting and no longer getting much enjoyment from his days. I am glad we could make his pain stop but that does not stop me from missing him so much.

  8. So tough and sad. Goodbye Dexter. You were evidently loved.

  9. How terribly sad for the family!

  10. my27stars says:

    I am so sad for you and your family. How hard for your boys to have to go through losing such a dear friend. You and hubs too, or course. Family pets are so hard to say goodbye to – such amazing unconditional love from those furry creatures. It’s so sad that so much love has to come from such short lives. Dexter’s at a never-ending party with all of his buddies now, and he’ll never have to clean up quickly and destroy all evidence when he hears the car pulling in the driveway. :)

    • shoes says:

      Ah – thank you for such a sweet comment. We are hurting and missing him badly. Carter told me that he thinks that Dexter’s party friends will continue to come over to our house when we are away and continue their parties. I rather like the idea but I wonder if they will be as neat and tidy as Dexter was at cleaning up and hiding the evidence. :-)

  11. Hetterbell says:

    I’m so sorry. In the weeks after you said Dexter was struggling I would feel so relieved and pleased whenever I saw a post telling of his latest adventures, but as soon as I saw the title of this post I guessed what must have happened and I felt so sad. I’m in floods of tears as I write this because I know how absolutely awful it is to lose a lovely dog who has been part of the family for years and I really feel for you all. I’m so sorry for your loss. I know you will miss Dexter greatly, but I’m sure he would thank you for sparing him pain. You will all always carry Dexter around in your hearts. Thank you so much for sharing him with us too, so that we were fortunate enough to get a glimpse into his special character.
    Hugs!

    • shoes says:

      We have been watching him slow down for a while now. I am glad we got so much time with him as we did although he makes the loss that much harder I guess. Dexter was such the sweet and kind soul and we will be missing him for a very long time. It was my pleasure to share him with you, he was such the character, I am glad so many got to know him through my words.

  12. Mary Ann says:

    So sorry to hear your news.

    Today at church the priest shared a story about a family losing a dog, and the little kid asked his parents why dogs don’t live as long as people. The parents didn’t know what to say. The little kid said, “It’s because dogs learn how to love faster than people do.” I thought that can be very true sometimes. My dog Lila seemed like she wouldn’t be able to figure out how to love when we first got her, but now she knows!

    Knowing that you gave Dexter a great life should help you feel a little better right now.

    • shoes says:

      Dogs are very good at learning how to love. Such a sweet story you shared! Dexter was an ill abused puppy when we got him – he almost did not live through puppyhood. I think because of this he was not trusting of many people and he always kept me in his sight and would become quiet upset when I left him. He was my shadow, moving from room to room as I went about my day. It is very lonely and quiet without him there by my side.

      We were lucky to have him in our lives for as long as we did, almost thirteen years. I am glad the boys got a chance to know him and that they are old enough that they will remember him too.

  13. Dogs are the best. I’m so sorry to hear about Dexter. Of course his pack is mourning. Piper wants a dog so, so, so bad. I know it’s inevitable. We will get a dog. But I have a long list of dogs I’ve loved and lost. I’m not ready for the pain again, but we can’t get the dog love or people love without the risk, can we?

    • shoes says:

      Husband said last night that he wished that dogs could live forever or for at least as long as we do. I thought about it and said that if that were the case, we would never have had Rosy or Dexter in our lives since that would mean that our first dog, Elenore, would still be with us. We love them for the time they are with us, morn them when they pass, and we hope our hearts heal enough to love another. There are so many out there in need of love. I know Dexter can never be replaced, he was special and one of a kind, but I feel that we will not be a dog-free home for too long. Knowing our track record, some random stray will wander into our lives or we will make a trip to the humane society and come home with a sweet eyed furry friend.

      Piper is right to want a dog – they are wonderful!

  14. Beth says:

    Shoes – so sorry for the loss in your family. When I was in first grade, our dog Sunkist died. I still remember what a great dog he was – loyal and loving and protective. Those dogs become a part of your soul and are never forgotten.

    • shoes says:

      You say it so well – each and every dog, and cat (I would say all pets here but I just don’t feel it for the fish) we have had has become a little part of our soul.

  15. I am so sorry about your loss. Dogs are family, and one of the hardest things to do is to say goodbye to them. We lost our golden retriever about four years ago, and my dudes still talk about him. We did get another golden and a little dog, too, but we still miss our big old dog. Thinking of you and yours!

    • shoes says:

      Thank you. We are sure missing Dexter a lot right now. I am sure that the time will come when we will introduce another dog into our family, but Dexter and Rosy (whom we lost last year) will be fondly thought of and greatly missed.

  16. We had to go through this a few years ago with our family dog and it is just heartbreaking. The kids still have pictures of him up in their rooms. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • shoes says:

      Thank you. It has been hard. It is hard enough just to lose Dexter but to talk about it with the boys and watch their sadness makes it that much harder.

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