We knew this day was eventually arriving, just never quite emotionally prepared for it. Early morning on Sunday, August 16, 2015 we lost our precious Boonie. At 14, the arthritis had progressed badly and was causing nerve and bowel issues. We noticed he was also becoming disoriented and confused at times. Our veterinarian said it's possible for elderly dogs to become senile. The night of August 15th into the 16th was awful and I could hardly sleep because I knew how uncomfortable he was. Finally, as I tried to help him onto his dog bed, he whimpered in agony and growled at me which he has never done. I called T at work around 2:00 am and advised him to return home as Boonie couldn't take anymore. It's heart-wrenching to let our pets go, but it's worse to watch them suffer. Plus, it seems as though they need us to make that decision for them because they are too loyal to expire without our permission.
We adopted Boonie when he was about a year old from T's sister who was studying veterinary medicine. Boonie was a pound puppy who she decided was too cute to return and was "saving" him for someone. We named him after Bret Boone, our favorite former Seattle Mariner baseball player, who the sports announcers sometimes referred to as "Boonie." His manner was gentle, laid back, and all around adaptable. His sweetness seemed to emanate where ever he went and it was not uncommon for strangers to comment: "What a nice dog," "He's good-looking," or "I wish I had a dog like Boonie." I have to admit, we lucked out with him. He was an easy going pooch who was truly compliant and loyal. I have never really considered myself a dog person but am proud to call a soul like Boonie our companion.
Not long after acquiring Boonie, T purchased his first boat. We camped and fished and he immensely enjoyed sharing these experiences with us. One of the funniest memories I recall is a time on the boat where Boonie must've leaned over the side for a drink. There was a giant splash and when we turned our heads, Boonie was gone and only a plume of bubbles lay on the water. He quickly surfaced although a bit traumatized, cold, and shaky. It was pretty comical...to us anyways. He was never really fond of the water after that incident.
Boonie absolutely loved his walks around the neighborhood. There was a nature park near our home in Moscow ID which we would typically walk through. Rabbits lived amongst some of the homes and during each stroll he examined the yards for the little fuzz balls with stick-up ears. He also enjoyed car rides and sometimes even got to romp with doggie friends, depending on who we visited. For whatever reason, he had a prejudice against yellow labs and Asians. We never received a clue as to why.
Shortly after we moved back to Spokane, I became pregnant. Around Thanksgiving, about eights months along and home alone, I experienced an attempted home break-in. There was banging at the front door and Boonie became aggressively defensive. This was the only time I have ever seen him act viciously. He snarled and barked with claws protruded, and all his fur stood out like in a cartoon. After that, no one was allowed in the house without his approval. If the doorbell rang he raced to the door ahead of us to stand guard; he refused to take any chances.
He obviously played a large companion roll for G since he has been around since the day she was born. It's fair to say that all our animals were her first friends. He used to alert us of the need for a diaper change by sniffing her bum! Boonie was ever so patient and withstanding when G didn't know any better and would try to ride him or pull his tail. He enjoyed chasing her outside and then letting her chase him back. The first night without Boonie, G cried and admitted that earlier she had ventured outside calling his name hoping he'd return. Oh boy, did that yank at my already tender heartstrings!
We are all having a rough time emotionally with losing him, but we cherish the memories. It's tough when anyone we dearly care for leaves us, because the love we hold for them can no longer be placed with a physical form. All the little things that remind me of our life with Boonie are like phantom whispers: Hearing his paw-steps shuffling to his dog bed at night; Waking and opening the blinds by the slider door, expecting to see a 65 lb black furry mass by my side waiting to be let out for his morning tinkle; The rattle of his food pouring into his ceramic dog dish. I know it will eventually get easier, but for now, it still hurts...a lot.
All dogs go to heaven. They received the greatest one of all.