Saturday, October 13, 2007


We put Austin (one of our two dogs) to sleep today.

Last Monday, we learned that he had cancer. His body wasn't producing any white or red blood cells. We were told his condition was very poor, that one infection, any infection, would kill him. Where once he weighed 24 lbs, he was down to 14. His legs weren't working well. Though he ate the baby food, canned food and chicken (and ham & swiss) we fed him, he only kept down about half of what he ate, at best. More often than not, instead of going outside he went on the kitchen floor, presumably because he didn't have the energy or ability to tell us he had to go out.

In other words, he was in rough shape.

So we called the vet this morning and went there around noon. The vet gave him a sedative and we said goodbye.

I remember when we first got Austin. I was home that summer, working, when our previous dog (Oreo) died very suddenly. I told my mom that if they didn't get a new dog soon, he wouldn't know me (since the Summer was ending in a few weeks and I'd be headed back to college). My parents were interested in a bichon and, as luck would have it, my aunt informed us there was one at the pet store by her. Thus, not more than two weeks from Oreo, we were on a roadtrip to see a man about a dog.

He was so small I could hold him in the palm of my hand. Just a tiny, white furball. We didn't even have a name for him. On the drive back to my grandparent's house, we were all rattling off street names as suggestions. The street near my grandparent's house is named Austin. It stuck.

He was a wonderful dog. Though he may have taken his sweet time outside and was pretty demanding, Austin was extremely affectionate and kinder than you could ever believe. In 8 years, I never saw him snap at anyone. Ever.

Austin was my dog. Somehow, the last two dogs we've had have been "mine." There's a special bond between a boy and his dog. Austin was my dog and I was his owner, even when I wasn't there. When he had surgery for kidney stones and was moping in the kitchen, unmoving, I came home and he moved. He got up. He wagged his tail. He was okay.

I don't really have much else to say. Austin was one of the best dogs we've had and we're pretty sad today (pumpkin lattes and ice cream notwithstanding). I don't think Benz, our other dog, knows that Austin isn't coming home. Last time we went out, Benz was looking all over for his friend. Now he's an only dog.

The upside, which unfortunately exists here, is that my mom no longer needs to wake up at 4am or come home at lunch time. No more pee or throw up. Benz can now come in the family room and sleep upstairs at night (for the first time). Life will definitely be different for all of us, and not entirely in a bad way.

It was time.

Austin, I'm very, very sorry. We love you. Thank you for being a member of our family. You will always have a place in our hearts. Be at peace.