Another Tough Day
I had to say goodbye to our beagle Ruger yesterday morning. I have never had to make a decision like this for a dog as I never had a dog growing up. We always had cats. Ruger was quite the character. Dave swore he was human most times. These two were attached at the hip. I feel I need to tell Ruger’s story today.
When Dave retired after selling our business in 2014, he wanted a dog. We were contacted by a cousin of his who knew someone that had a smelly, skinny beagle sitting in his garage. This dog had been found in the woods by some linesmen putting up lines for windmills. This all happened a week before Christmas and he was abandoned in the woods, left to fend for himself. The week after Christmas the temperature dropped to the negative numbers. He would not have survived.
Ruger is a Lemon Beagle and this breed averages 45 pounds. Ruger weighed 19 pounds when he was found. He was starving to death. He was skin and bones. Dave’s cousin knew he wanted a dog so we ventured over to see him. Dave fell in love with him.
We took him home in our pickup. He was so weak that he could not climb in by himself. The first thing we did was to give him a good bath. When he was found, he was munching on a dead, frozen moose carcass so you can imagine what he smelled like. He also had frostbite on his feet, his lips and a little on his ears. His feet always remained sensitive even after healing.
We fed him and he was so weak that he didn’t even gobble up the food like I thought he would. We immediately called a local vet and she saw him a few days later. Amazingly so, he check out okay healthwise, had no microchip and she said he was probably a hunting dog and either was abandoned or got lost, and they never looked for him. She guessed him to be about 7 years old. He did like to go hunting with Dave so we do believe he was a hunting dog.
Over the years, he was Dave’s biggest companion. Where Dave went, Ruger went. He rode in the tractor, the four-wheeler and he went fishing with Dave:
About a month before Dave made his journey to heaven, Ruger became sick and it happened so quick. I called the vet and after lots of testing, he was diagnosed as a diabetic, had pancreatitis and a urinary tract infection. She couldn’t believe he was still alive.
At the time, I was going to do everything in my power to keep this dog alive because I knew Dave was close to making his journey to heaven and I did not want to break his heart. It cost us a lot of money to get this dog back to being healthy (not knowing what the outcome would be) and one of the last things Dave said to me the week that he passed away was “take good care of Ruger”.
I hope he thinks I did because there were many, many more trips to the vet. I spent thousands of dollars and there were more bouts of pancreatitis and adjustments to his daily x 2 insulin injections. Add in the loss of his favorite human and that was hard on Ruger as well. Ruger looked for Dave at first and he went through grief just like we do. Lots of times I feel he was just so sad.
This past weekend, he vomitted three times (on the rugs of course) and yesterday morning walked out of the bedroom at 3 a.m. and without asking me to go out, pee’d all over the entrance mat. I also could not get him to eat and when he doesn’t eat, I can not give him his insulin for diabetes. I think he was trying to tell me it was time.
I called the vet and it was a very peaceful transition to heaven as I pet and comforted him. It normally takes a few minutes after the injection, Ruger passed in less than a minute. She felt he was very sick. I feel so guilty but know he was getting old, had cataracts in both eyes due to the diabetes and his hearing was decreasing. It’s not an easy decision and one I hope I never have to make again.
I had a hard day yesterday because I felt so guilty. I hope I made the right decision. I’m so tormented by this loss seven months after I lost my hubby Dave. Rest in Peace Ruger. You were a wonderful dog and you made us laugh so much. We love you and I will miss your beagle howl and your shadow as you followed me everywhere! I’m so happy you and Daddy Dave are back together in heaven!