I stepped in the half-digested remains of mole.
The moles were – well, had been – burrowing under the backyard. Taylor, a black lab mix, had been chasing them unsuccessfully in the backyard. Except, as evidenced by my nearly falling over as I slipped on the slimy remains, he had been successful. At least once. So of course, he got the unofficial D&D-esque moniker of MoleKiller.
I would take him running with me, back when I ran too. We would go to the big mile-and-a-half track and run. It wound past the base baseball and soccer fields and through a little bit of woods. And every time, halfway through, right by the soccer field, he’d stop to poop right on the edge of the track. I’d have to finish my run with a dog lead in one hand, and a baggie of feces in the other.
Taylor had horrible allergies, something which I can empathize with. For nearly all of his life, he couldn’t stand for anyone to touch his feet, so his nails grew into wicked claws that ripped the lawn to shreds. He was a rescue dog, and I was about the only person who could hold him at the vet’s (at least without getting hurt), and I was the only person who could get him to go somewhere he didn’t want to go (again, at least without getting hurt).
He hated UPS trucks. He tried to jump through a four-pane window to get at one, to keep it away from the house and keep us all safe from it. He tracked blood on the bed from where the glass cut his paw, but had the good grace to look ashamed about it.
Taylor wasn’t too demanding, or needy. He just wanted to be around us, and that was enough for him most of the time.
I think someone from Pixar spied on him; Dug, the talking dog from Up is so much like him that just watching that YouTube clip has me crying again.
He is the reason I firmly believe that sometimes a dog’s life is worth more than a human one – and I’m including myself in the “worth less” category. I am not – and will never be – half as good as Taylor thought I was. I can’t stop thinking that a week ago, I almost took him with me for a few hours to wait for Kiddo. I didn’t, because I thought it might be too inconvenient.
The symptoms showed up suddenly, as Thursday slid into Friday. He wouldn’t lay down and kept pacing. His stomach was tender. Over the next eighteen hours, we found out that he had a tumor in his spleen that was bleeding inside. As the surgeons began to operate, they found that the tumors were not only in his spleen, but throughout his liver – and that the bleeding was coming from many of them as well. The surgeon was with him for hours, as I kept insisting that they do something, anything. And they tried, but the cancer had already spread too far. He never woke up from surgery.
Later today, we’ll be getting his body and taking it to the funeral home. Thirty two hours ago, everything seemed normal. Now my friend is gone. The pictures here are from when we were at the animal hospital. We had no idea they’d be the last ones of him.
Thank you to everyone who has expressed support, sympathy, kind thoughts, and prayers in text messages, e-mails, comments, phone calls, twitter, and facebook. Your thoughts have meant so much, even if I’ve been too emotionally drained to express that.
Thank you to Dr. Protos at the Suburban Veterinary Clinic in Centerville, who always took good care of Taylor, and for pulling strings and making phone calls to make sure Taylor could get the care he needed yesterday. And thank you to the CARE Center (Cincinnati Animal Referral and Emergency) in Cincinnati. Their staff was supportive, listened to our needs, worked with us to deal with Taylor’s history as a rescue dog, and did everything they could both to take care of him and make sure he was as comfortable as possible.
I like to think that somewhere a lot of moles are in a lot of danger, and one dog is very, very happy.