Buck passed away this morning.
The news hasn't quite hit me yet, as I just got off the phone with my father, who called me from the vet. Something happened this morning, and he was put to sleep just a little while ago. It's funny, I always imagined that I would have been able to say goodbye to him. My goodbye was this past Saturday afternoon when I visited home, when I left, patting him on the head, as I've gotten into the habit of doing lately because I've honestly not known when would be the last time that I'd be able to do that.
Buck has been ill for almost a year now - we diagnosed him with a form of Cushing's, which caused a number of problems for him. We got a sort treatment for him, which helped take care of the disease, which left him incredibly thin, weak and drained. It was incredibly hard to see him like that - he had little energy or enthusiasm, and we've known this would be coming for a little while now.
Buck was a good dog. I have so many good memories of him - bounding in the snow, playing tug with a rope bone, our many, many walks through the woods around our property and surrounding forests... there are too many to list. He was always appreciative of us - I think that any dog who has been saved, either by being taken in as a stray or as a rescued dog from a pound, they know and remember that. He loved shaking hands, and perfected a way to force us to pet him.
Buck came to us as a stray, during a Cub Scout camping trip in one of our fields almost fifteen or so years ago. I remember being woken up by something running around, and the next morning, a handful of scared boy scouts were running around the yard with a pick-ax and a shovel, prepared to fend off the 'Rabid Dog', when Buck came out of the woods, thin as a rail and hungry. We fed him - a lot - and searched around for signs for a lost dog. After a couple of weeks, we decided to keep him, and he became a member of the family.
He was energetic. Loved to jump, chewed everything (2 by 4s, tin cans, sticks, rocks and who knows what else), and got along fairly well with Tilly, our first pet (who died several years ago). Several years ago, we got Fionna, who was a very good companion to Buck, as she matched his energy level and most likely kept him going the past couple of years, although she's mellowed out a bit in the past year or two.
It's been incredibly hard to see Buck over the past year, since his problems started, and I'm glad that he's not in any pain or discomfort. I just wish that I could give him one last hug and a bone before we bury him this afternoon. He was my best friend and companion.
I explained it to St. Peter, I'd rather stay here Outside the pearly gate. I won't be a nuisance, I won't even bark, I'll be very patient and wait, I'll be here, chewing on a celestial bone, No matter how long you may be. I'd miss you so much, if I went in alone, It wouldn't be heaven for me.