Today I had to do one of the hardest things ever!! I had to say goodbye to my good friend Sutter. He wasn't an ordinary dog, even from the beginning. He scootched himself away from his litter mates to be with us on his first day of life. As he got a little older he walked himself down the hall to the bedroom where we were staying and climbed up on the bed to go to sleep - he had staked his claim. Somewhere during this time he also tried nursing on Bill's ear. It was so sweet and so obviously a way of claiming us further.
He had annoying traits to, like his penchant for chewing the crotch out of my underwear when he was a puppy, but his lovable, goofy, happy self always won us over. Eventually he calmed down a little (very little) and became the well mannered puppy most people got to know.
His whole goal in life was to please his family and keep them from harm. I can remember doubting this at one time because he didn't seem overtly protective like some dogs, but then I was proven wrong. When I was down at the creek with my oldest daughter, who was about 8 at the time, some boys/men came down and Sutter planted himself staunchly between them and us and let out a low, deep throated growl, just enough to say, "keep your distance." He did that again at our house when a stranger approached me. Not one person that met him as a friend would have ever suspected he had that side, but he did.
Even as much as 3 weeks ago, he was bouncing around acting like a puppy despite the fact that he was 10 years old. I'm angry with the cancer for taking that part of him away. However, I know that now he is free to romp and play like he use to, and he can eat anything he wants without worrying about his former allergies.
I will miss him greeting me at the door every time I come home, and following me around the house (even when I would sometimes trip over him). I'll miss him cuddling so close in bed that I felt as if I had fur blankets, or him sleeping on my feet (broken ankle and all). Even with the short time he had with the babies, he made it his job to let me know when they were crying. I'm not sure if this was a, "Hey, they need help" or a, "Hey, can't you make them shut up" notification. Either way, he was on top of it like everything else.
Some people said it was degrading the way we made him do tricks, but I don't think so. He seemed to truly like it when he caught a treat off his nose, or brought us back the ball. Granted, he didn't like the stay command, but that was only because it served to keep him away from his family (or the random squirrel he really wanted to chase.)
All in all, he was the best. I'll never forget him or truly be able to let him go. I know he's happy now that he's not hurting anymore and he's with the rest of the family, but if I know him, he's really waiting for this family and he will patiently wait as long as he needs to cuz that is his nature.
Sutter, I love you and miss you horribly even though it hasn't yet been that long. You are always in my heart. I feel blessed that you chose us to be your human parents. Thank you for that.