This is not an easy story to tell. It may not be easy to read. I'm writing about our dog, Booker.
When we came home from Farm Technology Days that Thursday, we found both dogs waiting for us as usual. Of course, they were in a hurry to get outside.
Bob and I had been gone all day. First, Sunny and Booker had to check us out to make sure we didn't bring any treats home, and then they went outside.
I went with the dogs and noticed that Booker's urine seemed unusually dark. He didn't seem sick. His nose was cool and wet. I planned on calling the vet in the morning, which is what I did.
The office set up an appointment for him at two and asked if I could get a urine sample.
Getting the sample was tricky, but after I thought it through I figured a way.
I took an old pie tin and slipped it under him when he relieved himself. That wasn't too difficult. Seeing bright red instead of yellow told me that Booker had a big problem.
Our dog behaved perfectly during the car ride to the Pulaski clinic. He wasn't excited at all. When we got to the clinic I handed them the container with the urine sample.
They weighed Booker, and took blood samples - Booker hadn't eaten anything that morning. He hadn't even tried to steal the cats' food.
I worried about him, but his gums were nice and pink. The tests pointed towards a bladder infection. After two hours we went home with two bottles of pills and an appointment for Monday morning.
Booker wasn't thrilled with the pills. I finally got them down and then he nibbled on some liver sausage. Afterwards, he curled up in the corner of the kitchen and slept.
Later when we went to sit in front of the television, he came along, and when we went upstairs to bed, he took the stairs with us - I didn't think he'd make it, but he managed. He wanted to be with us.
Saturday morning, Booker walked downstairs on his own power - I don't know how he did it. You could see he was weaker.
He went outside and peed red again, but the vet had said that could last for four or five days. Booker curled up on the porch in the sun. He didn't touch the liver sausage I set by his nose. When he threw up, I looked at his gums. They were yellow.
I called the vet and rushed to get there before they closed.
Booker got in and out of the car on his own power. He wasn't our feisty, energetic pet. He didn't react when other pets came into the office.
More blood was drawn. Overnight his numbers had taken a nose dive. Something terrible had happened to our beautiful three-year-old dog. We were watching him go downhill right before our eyes.
The vet gave us options, none of them good. The only reasonable one was to let Booker go. I always said I wouldn't let a pet suffer. It was the right thing to do and it was one of the hardest things we ever had to do - after a long life in 2009, our old dog Cocoa deserved a rest. Booker had only begun to live.
Bob and I used up all the tissues in the examination room as we said our good-byes. I felt like my heart had broken. They gave him a shot to ease his pain and when he was asleep we left the room and left our beautiful dog for the last time.
Our grief followed us home. Bob and I talked little. I couldn't bear to tell the family. As soon as I started talking about Booker I choked up, but our family had to know.
As usual, Sunny greeted us at the door. How could I explain to him that Booker wasn't coming home?
Sunny kept asking to go outside to look for his brother. Booker loved the outdoors. Except during extreme hot days, he would sit on their picnic table and survey his domain.
Some days Sunny didn't want to go outside, but after a few minutes he'd be at the door looking to go out to play - now Sunny has no playmate.
Booker was the vocal one of the pair. He actually asked to go outside. Sunny never did. If Sunny wanted attention he quietly came to me and licked me. Without his vocal brother it's going to be like a Teller without Pen (magician duo) to do the talking.
To keep Sunny busy, I've been taking him for extra walks. I'm not a good substitute for the rough and tumble play he had with Booker though and I know it.
Maybe someday we'll find a friend for Sunny, but not yet. Now I'm still mourning Booker. He was a silly, exasperating, lovable friend, and a great dog. . . . I can't write anymore. I need a tissue.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net;