Yesterday I lost my best friend. He was short, furry, and walked on four legs. His name was Lucky, and he was quite possibly the best thing that ever happened to me.
We first adopted Lucky when I was about 10. He was about 3.
At first he was a difficult dog. He had terrible separation anxiety and would destroy things when we were away. If put in a crate, he would break out at all expenses, often hurting himself in the process. After a chipped tooth, some scratches, and a burst blood vessel, we decided we could not keep him. He was too much work, and he was only doing harm to himself. He would be better off elsewhere. So, after a few weeks of having him, I said goodbye one morning as I headed off to school.
I don’t remember feeling particularly upset that morning, perhaps because I knew all along that my mom would never actually take him back that day. Sure enough, he was still there when I got home. We struggled through those first few months, but we soon realized that for him, it was completely worth it.
Never have I met a dog so in touch with human emotions, or so loyal, or so loving. Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and I think that each of these individuals, myself included, are exactly right. Because dogs adapt to you, as you adapt to them. We learned to deal with his anxiety, and in turn he learned to deal with our family’s ups and downs.
In actuality, his anxiety disorder fit in perfectly with our family. I, myself, have long struggled with a Panic Disorder. Many of the worst years were around the time when we first adopted Lucky. Somehow, he was able to help me during my attacks. The comfort of having him near. He would give me kisses, wag his tail, he would stay by my side. He was the perfect companion.
He was loyal to our whole family. He trusted us to do what was best, and that is why I know that we did the right thing yesterday. For months, he’d been struggling. His joints were stiff and he was losing muscle mass. Just getting off the floor became a trial. He wasn’t always sure of where he was. He would get confused, walk into corners, wander aimlessly. But, most importantly, he had stopped wagging his tail.He no longer found joy in his daily life. The look in his eyes was one of helplessness and confusion. He was waiting for us to decide what to do.
The night before we made our decision, he had multiple accidents in the house, each time falling down into his own waste because he could no longer hold himself up. We knew it was time. Perhaps past the time, but we could no longer delay the inevitable.
As my mom said, he would have soldiered on forever if we had asked him to. He would have stayed by our sides until ever joint ached and he could no longer walk. He was loyal, and loving, and miraculous.
He came with the name Lucky, but over the years I’ve realized how perfectly the title suited him. Not necessarily because he was lucky to have found us, but because we were lucky–extraordinarily lucky– to have found him.
My whole heart aches, and I’ve fallen victim to random bouts of crying these past 48 hours, but I know that what was done was for the best. I know that he loved us so completely, and he gave us 12 wonderful years of that love, that we could ask for no more.
I’ll never get over him. He was my childhood, my best friend, my family member, my constant companion, my pillow, my cuddle buddy, my soother, my therapist, my playmate, my dog.
And I was so goddamn lucky to have him.