I'd take my bird dog Bo huntin' one more time.
Those are part of the lyrics to a Justin Moore song that took on a whole lot more meaning for me this weekend.
Friday morning my mom called the vet. She, my dad, and my brother ended up taking him in that morning. From the time Duke was last seen by the vet on Tuesday May 31st a bunch of lumps formed. From what I understand he had some in his lymph nodes, in his stomach area, and one which I had noticed along his spine. The diagnosis was that Duke had cancer and getting anaplasmosis (the tick carried disease) basically made the cancer flare up and start to show symptoms.
It was determined that the best option was to put Duke to sleep. The vet was ready to do it during that visit but my parents said they couldn't do it while I wasn't there. They were given some new pain medication for Duke to help keep him more comfortable until the next day.
Friday night was tough. I found myself wondering what is harder; knowing they're going to go and having to wait for that time to come, or having them go unexpectedly? I never came to a conclusion.
Saturday I had an appointment to go to. My parents went with me and we brought Duke along. Once we got home we only had a few hours left with him. We each took some alone time with Duke. During mine I told him that everything would be better soon. No more pain, you'll be able to run again, you can hunt all the pheasants, mice, and rabbits you want, and you'll be able to play fetch as much as you want because there will always be a ball thrown for you.
The time came for us to go to the vet. My brother decided he didn't want to be there so it was just my parents and I.
About a half hour after arriving at the vet we were on our way home. We took Duke home with us and he was buried next to our first dog Babe.
I went home and laid on the floor on top of Duke's doggy napper for a couple of hours.
Duke is in a better place and our house now feels empty. This is the first time in 22 years that my family hasn't had a dog. This is my first time without having a dog in my whole life. Later this year in October will be the first time in 31 years that my dad will not go to South Dakota pheasant hunting. We're dealing with a lot of firsts right now.
The selfish side of me didn't want him to go and still wishes he wasn't gone. But I know he is in a better place now and that my family will heal.
Yesterday was Duke's 10th birthday. I know he had the best birthday he could have ever wished for.
I miss and love you always and forever Duke! I'll see you again some day.