Seven years ago I drove up to my future wife’s house to take her on our first date. The date went great and she explained to me that she had a kid and that they were a package deal. I thought she was crazy and my first instinct was to run and then I met him. It was her dog named Tanner. I embraced him and as we dated he became mine also. My love for him grew along with the love I had for his mother. People think that the love for animals is stupid but I think they are crazy. The love you have for animal just shows you are human and that you care.
As the years went by, I married his mom and built a life with her. The three of us shared and apartment on the third floor where sometimes it got cramped and he did not get the exercise he deserved. He still never left our side. He was there to greet us when we came home from work and always slept on my wife’s side of the bed.
Soon we moved into our first house and it did not include a backyard for him to run and play but he did not seem to care because he was with us. After being moved in for a few months, we became pregnant for the first time but lost the baby. As we morned the loss he laid on the floor next to us as we cried. Another few months later we became pregnant again with or oldest daughter and Tanner stayed by my wife’s side. He followed her around, waited for her to get home, and always laid under her feet at the dinner table. When we brought our oldest daughter home he became obsessed with being with her. When she would nap he would sleep next to the window so he could watch over her. Anytime she was on the ground he let her push, pull and jump on him. He never once snapped at her or growled. She was his to watch over.
We felt the need to have a bigger home so we built one close to our rental and soon we moved in. We welcomed our second daughter. I had just lost my father and was sad. Tanner came and put his head in my lap. I look back on this memory as he was trying to tell me it was ok. I lost my mother last year and he still was there to cheer me up. He always had a way making me feel better.
This past weekend Tanner had an obstruction in his stomach and surgery was not only expensive but it was risky due to him being so old. My wife and I had to deal with the difficult decision to put him down. As the vet came into the room she understood and never made us feel like it was not the right thing to do. She was so supportive. They brought him in and he laid there on the floor. My wife and I gathered around him and said goodbye. We told him thanks for being part of our family. Thanks for loving our children. Thanks for always loving us. I thanked him for letting me be his dad.
As the vet administered the vaccine my wife laid on the floor with him holding his head as he drifted to sleep in her arms. It was a moment that was so surreal. The vet check his vitals and looked at me and said he was gone. All I could think about was how this furry creature came into my life along with the woman I love and changed it forever. I have known him as long as her and was not ready to experience a world without him. He was apart of my package deal. We sat there as the vet gave of some time and hugged him. We took his collar off and kissed him goodbye.
Tanner was a huge part of our family. He was apart of our story. He was the best dog in the world. He was loyal, patient, and kind. He protected us from sadness. He watched over our children. He was my wife’s first child. I think the vet put it best…
“He is a great dog. You know how I know? He is golden.”