This black lab mutt you see in the pictures above was, I'm not ashamed to say, one of my best friends. He lived a long and happy life for which I am thankful. His passing was almost ideal as far as passings can be, however I don't want to think about the end right now. I would rather take one last walk with him, even if it's just down memory lane.
I remember the chaos that an 8 week old pup brought to our home and thinking more than once that maybe we'd bitten off more than we could chew (but not more than he could!)
After I adjusted to having his hair all over the place, making sure to pick up anything that I didn't want him to swallow whole, to having him stand exactly where I needed to be at every turn and to all the other little inconveniences I realized (thankfully not too late) how much this wild beast meant to me and to my family. The newness and adjustments of learning to live with this pup as a member of our family seems both long ago and yet it also feels like only yesterday.
On about October 7th of this year - seemingly out of the blue - his organs began to fail him. He had not been eating for a couple of days, and the look in his eyes seemed perplexed and frightened. I will never forget his face as it seemed to say "I love you guys, but I must go now."
We took him to the vet and tests were done but we wouldn't know the results until the next day. We brought him home for the night and my husband slept beside him. We were to return to the clinic early, and I almost dreaded going. But our Ronny was clearly not well - even though he gave me a hearty wag when he saw me in the morning he still would not take food and did not even try to get up to go outside with me.
The vet confirmed our worst fears. Not only his liver and pancreas, but also his kidneys were all but shut down. I tried my hardest not to let my pup feel the worry and sadness that filled my heart. We listened as the vet explained that he was too sick to carry on and that he would surely be in great pain very soon if he wasn't already. As soon as we knew for sure that there was no treatment for him and that his pain would increase we made the incredibly difficult decision to have his life humanely and peacefully ended at his lifelong veterinarian's office. He lay on his favorite pillow for the end, and we were there with him.
Ronald Weasley Nelson Wills. :) It's a long name to be sure, but we mostly just called him "Buddy" anyway. And he was - he was our buddy. Ron was the epitome of kind. He was always trying to make everyone happy. He loved Tim-Bits (a donut sorta thing) and of course, meat of any kind. :) Ron also loved to sniff as we tried to walk him, finding messages in the grass and at the bases of trees and lampposts everywhere he went. He was a squirrel hunter (or should I say chaser but not catcher?) He used to like to go into the lake, although he really wasn't a fan of swimming. The heat of the sun was his favorite sensory experience. Luckily, because we work from home, Ron got to lie in the sun to his heart's content, and was rarely alone. When he was happy (which was almost all the time) he would wag so hard that you thought the house would come down around him.
Something we all talked about often over the years was the fact that Ron had been returned to the pound by his previous owner, who had adopted him but lost patience after two weeks of attempted housebreaking. So Ron came to us, chosen out of a pack of possibilities, by then 7 year old Maddie. I was hesitant at first - this pup didn't look the perkiest of the bunch - but am so glad that she chose with her heart and that I didn't argue. She could not possibly have connected with a more loving creature and as soon as Ron was on the way home with us I knew that this little guy was going to fit right in to our family. And you know what? He learned to take his business outside almost right away. I don't happen to remember even one accident, although my sense tells me there must have been, in those early days.
Over the years Ron taught me patience and unconditional love. He taught me to try and push away sadness and not to wallow in misfortune. He taught me about the joy of exploring your neighbourhood, and talking to strangers, and how wonderful it really is to just laze about on a sunny day. Most of all Ron taught me to live while you're alive and I'm so glad that we remembered that and did that with him.
There is so much more I could write about his personality, the memories we all made together and the amazing gift it was to have had him bless our lives for more than a decade.
For now, though, I will close with a simple Goodbye. Goodbye my wonderful friend, my constant companion, my clown, my cuddle bear, my Ronny. Goodbye, Buddy. You were deeply loved, and I know you deeply loved in return. See you on the other side.