How do we know when it is the right time to let go of our fur babies? My thought is your heart will know, but you need to listen. We had to take our sweet pooch Dino to the vet and let him go two weeks ago. Though my heart wasn’t ready, I knew that it was time and the right thing to do.
I don’t want to fill this post with the hows and why but want to make it a tribute to him, a remembering, if you will.
We adopted Dino from a local shelter after losing our sweet pooch Chipper a few months earlier. I had asked Michael a few times about taking down the fence for the dog yard we had, but he would say that he knew I wanted another dog. I really didn’t until…one day while scrolling on my phone I saw this picture of a pooch with the biggest upright ears I think I had ever seen. And I fell in love. There was a waiting period since his previous family had given him up, but the first day he was available, I was there. Everything was great until it came to get him into the car. But, 15 minutes later, he sat excitedly beside me watching the world go by. First times were not his favorite.
We didn’t name him Dino, that name came with him. If I had known some of his exploits to come I would have renamed him Stitch. By the time we realized the similarities, it was really too late to change his name, but he was always my Stitch. There were a couple of times, one in particular I tell about below where I was ready to take him back, but after all Ohana means family and you don’t give up on family or leave them behind. Ironically, his favorite toy, given to him by Sarah, our daughter, was a Stitch stuffed animal and he loved watching that movie.
He was nine months old when we adopted him and I was told he was part red heeler. We never were sure what the “other part” was, but for months I thought that part was surely trouble. Every day when Michael came home from work, there would be a pile of items on our living room rug. Anything he could find that was not tied down he brought it in there and deposited it. Nothing was torn up. It was almost like he was looking for something to keep him company, which he probably was.
There was also a time when Michael and I drove over to Vicksburg, MS. The Mississippi River was flooding and like good country bumpkins, we wanted to see it. We took our time, gawked at the river, ate a bite, and came home. When we arrived, we found a flood all our own. Dino had been left outside and because he was bored, he played tug of war with the water hose and broke the water line off at ground level. Thankfully, we have our own well and didn’t face a huge water bill.
We eventually put him outside as we were having a few issues house-training him, though the shelter said according to the former owners he was. Then Sarah moved back home for a few months and one night during a storm, she brought him in. She also wanted him in the house and sleeping with her at night. Now the next issue had to be addressed. Her room was upstairs, and he feared the staircase. It took her and our “adopted” daughter Ginna to get him up there. Sarah led him coaxing and Ginna pushed from behind. After that, you couldn’t keep him from going up and down those stairs.
Thunder and lightning were another fear of his. We made him blanket forts and kept the closet doors open if the weather got bad. We always knew when rain was coming. He would sniff the air, look around trying to figure out where to go and start shaking.
But those were some of his quirks and we all loved him in spite of and actually for them. But…to say Dino had a big heart was an understatement. He loved everyone, well almost everyone. He tolerated people at times simply because they were around us. He thought everyone that came to our house was there to see him, including any delivery drivers. The problem was, he weighed seventy-five pounds and they were leery of him.
Dino was a hugger. You simply had to pat your chest or say give me a hug and he obliged. If you were standing, he would jump up and put his front legs around you, then fall into you. If you were sitting, he would fall into your chest and rest his head under your chin.
He was my office buddy. Most of the time when I was in there working he could be found under my desk, or in the closet. My first reel was of him napping under my desk…it was a very good nap.
He was a quiet dog for most of his life, barking only occasionally and whining only when he needed out. But that changed in the last year or so. He had gotten to where he would grumble and talk back. It was really a great amusement for us. I don’t think I have ever heard a dog grumble like he had started to do.
With such a big personality and heart, Dino was one of a kind. A seventy-five-pound lap dog that liked a little coffee with cream, and loved to go outside and sun himself while we sat on the porch and rocked. He was gentle, smart (though he could pretend otherwise to keep from minding), and just wanted to be with his people.
All of this was part of what told us the time was getting near. His personality changed and he no longer sought us out but preferred to be alone. We started watching him closely and when the time came we all knew. We have a peace that tells us we did the right thing for him. We loved him to the end and still do. Our hearts are tender, but we know they will mend. Dino left us with many great memories that will be with us forever.