Yesterday was a pretty shitty day for me.
It wasn’t supposed to be, but as it turns out the die was already cast on Friday for my life to change, I just didn’t know it yet. Corina and I spent the weekend in Halifax and had a pretty good time. we flew out Friday afternoon and flew back Sunday night to Hamilton. I drove down the 403 to Paris, excited to go pickup my dog, The Dude. I walked up to my parents house and sneakily opened the front door, hoping to surprise him and Wally, my parents dog. I opened the door and nothing happened. I just figured the dogs were outside.
My Mom and Dad walked over and said we’ve got some bad news. At first I thought it was someone in the family, my mind not immediately entertaining the thought it might be my dog. My Mom started to explain that something had happened to The Dude. I immediately thought he must have run away and something happened. He was a notorious runner and this was always my biggest fear with him. But that wasn’t the case at all.
On Friday he had been playing in the backyard with Wally and my Mom called them back in and Dude didn’t come when she called. She went out to check on him and he was lying on the ground by the fence. My Dad was just getting home on Friday so they both took him to the emergency clinic in Paris. They tried to help him but he had gone into a full shutdown. He apparently had an aneurysm on his heart that burst and all his organs shut down on him.
I was immediately mad at myself for not giving him his heartworm medication on time. He usually gets it the 20th, but with how hectic life had been with Marlene’s funeral and everything it got forgotten until Friday, the day we left for Halifax. I know it probably had nothing to do with it, but he had heartworm for the 2 1/2 years we owned him and we had him on the medication year round in an effort to kill the heartworm and extend his lifespan.
All I can really say is I’m pretty devastated about this. He was my dog. After Corina and I got him I spent a year working from home doing freelance and pretty much ever since then he was my dog without much doubt. He followed me around the house, and pretty much lived for when I came home after work at the end of the day. I loved The Dude so much. I just feel so shitty that I couldn’t be there for him at the end. He was there for me, always waiting and super happy when I walked in the door. He helped me through the hardship of losing my mother in law just by being The Dude and being there.
Our house feels so empty without him here. We bought this house and about a year later got The Dude so much of the memories of this place involve him. I sit in my office and get out of my chair and look to see where he would be lying behind me so I don’t trip on him. When it was dark in the office I would shuffle my feet across the carpet so as not to step on him when I couldn’t see him. I did that last night. I woke up this morning and looked for him before I stepped out of bed. Usually he’d be up in my grill at the side of the bed looking for me to give him a pet first thing in the morning, or over harassing Corina to get up and let him out.
He was an old dog. We had no idea how old, but I always liked to think optimistically that he was on the younger end of things. He was a rescued dog from a kill shelter in Ohio, but we didn’t know much more than that. Either way we believe he had a tough road to end up with us. I knew he was old, but never wanted to believe that we wouldn’t have a few more years with him. He was always a vibrant brute of a dog. He fashioned his own doggy door through our screen door with his head, he was always just strength and power even though he was old.
I think most people who ever met him fell in love with him. He was a dog who often had a happy grin on his face and was always so happy to meet you, be it on the street or at our front door. You were a new friend and possible new source of pets and cuddles. He loved surfing out the back window of the car. I used to love seeing the reactions of kids and adults alike as they saw his friendly face hanging out the window with his trademark bandana on.
But now we soldier on without The Dude, the dog of many names. When we adopted him his name was Chance, as dubbed by the people who had him in foster care. When he was initially rescued they had called him Kirby. We got him and he subsequently became The Dude, after Jeff Bridge’s character from the Big Lebowski. I have no idea why I named him that, it just kinda came to me. He had many other nicknames I tagged him with, with my favourite being Mr Harrooo, after the sound he made when he howled.
Rest In Peace Dude, I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for you in your time of need.