While what happened 8 years ago is absolutely heart-breaking...something happened exactly 1 year ago today that really affected me personally.
On this day, last year, I had to put my doggy, Charlie, to sleep. He was my first dog (and pet). He was a strange mix. Half Rottweiler...half cocker spaniel. I have always loved animals, but my parents never wanted a pet. Finally when I was in 7th grade, I managed to talk my parents into it. We went to the pound, and Charlie was the only dog not barking. After we brought him home, we actually worried he might be deaf because he was so silent. But he could hear us...so we thought his voicebox was maybe damaged. And then one day...he barked! It scared the crap out of all of us.
We had such fun times with him. He loved to play ball in the yard until we got tired (he never got tired). He loved to go for long walks. He also loved to step on my feet.
As he got older, he developed a ton of health problems. He was growing a huge tumor near one of his back legs (thankfully it never affected his walking). He developed a thyroid condition. He got arthritis. And then his cataracts got so bad that he was fully blind (thankfully we had started voice training him to go up and down curbs so he did okay on walks still). We asked the vet, and she said as long as he was still happy, to let him be.
And then one day, he wasn't really eating anymore. And he was just laying there sleeping all day and all night. The drive with him to the vet was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my whole life. I tried to do it by myself...but I was bawling so hard that I just stopped my car at the corner and waited for my mom to come get me. He walked himself into the vet, but then...my dog - the one who would never let us pick him up at all - let the vet scoop him up and take him away. And my mom and I just stood there and cried and cried. I'm crying now as I write about this. It really was one of the worst days of my whole entire 26 years of life.
So today, on this already heartbreaking day, I just want to take a moment to remember my dog...and to let all of you know a little about him as well.