On Monday I put a handful of dog treats in my pocket and loaded the ol' Bud into the car for his last trip to the Clarks Grove Veterinary Clinic. The Budster was completely deaf, partially blind and eventually he was likely suffering from canine dementia. He could be a joy and he could be a pain in the ass, but he did the best he could. As he aged he slept most of the time, when awake was really only interested in when the next meal was.
Do dogs have ghosts? It has only been a couple of days; his presence is quite strong. When I get up from my chair I look down to make certain I don't step on him sleeping at my feet, when I come in the door I still glance where his kennel was - just checking on him. When we were in the kitchen Bud was always there, ever hoping for clumsy fingers. Now I catch myself stepping over nothing. Last night I started to set an unlicked yogurt bowl on the floor, one of the things that Bud was really good at - prewashing dishes.
Was Bud a great dog? No, probably not, but he was our dog. He was our dog for 15 years.
And he will be our last dog.