Saying goodbye to Sunny

Susan Manzke
Sunny as a puppy.

It all started thirteen years ago. That was when we adopted two puppie, we named Sunny and Booker. It was mid-winter when the two brothers arrived but with diligence Bob and I housebroke them.

They grew like weeds, but before they turned three, poor Booker had a major health problem and tearfully we had him put down.

Sunny, left, and his brother, Booker.

For the last ten years after losing Booker, Sunny was our sole dog companion. He went on walks with me but what he loved was going on cart rides. He’d sit between Bob and me, scanning the countryside looking for deer, rabbits or squirrels. Luckily, Sunny never leaped from the seat to chase any wildlife, if he had tried, he wouldn’t have gotten far. To keep him safe, we always had a lead attached to his collar.

It didn’t always occur to Sunny that he was a large dog. There were times he thought he was a lap dog and leaped up to join Bob in his lounge chair. Bob never pushed him off, but only coaxed him into a better position. It usually didn’t take Sunny long before he eased himself off Bob and back onto the floor.

It didn’t always occur to Sunny that he was a large dog.

For many years, Sunny slept upstairs beside our bed. This changed in the last few years when his arthritis made it difficult to walk up and down the steep stairs.

Since Bob’s passing, Sunny has been my constant companion. If I walked from the kitchen to the living room, my four-footed friend would follow me.

Throughout most of his life, he joined me for daily walks. This last year, when his joints objected to a walk, he’d sit down and refuse to go. I would then return him to the house and walk alone.

Susan's last photo with Sunny taken on Mother's Day 2022.

Sunny started losing weight. My family noticed the difference in him when they visited. In a short time, he lost ten pounds even though he was eating.

Suddenly, my furry friend stopped eating. He seemed weak and listless. The only thing that kept him going was a bit of chicken. Sunny didn’t even want a treat.

Blood tests were taken at his annual physical. It showed liver failure. More x-rays and tests might have shown cancer. I decided not to put Sunny through more tests. I hoped we could live together for a few more months.

Sunny slept most of the time. He got up to drink water and managed to go outside with me for calls of nature.

Food wouldn’t stay down. It became evident that his life was nearing its end. Sometimes he slept so quietly, that I thought he had passed away.

I babied him but wondered if it was time to make the hardest decision that I needed to do for him. I enjoyed his company even if he was only sleeping at my feet, but was I being fair?

The decision had to be made by me. I didn’t want him to suffer. Rebecca told me that there were vets that would put Sunny down here at home. She talked to a friend who had used Circle of Life for Pets and was pleased.

Rebecca was with me and Sunny when Dr. Kate Carlson came to my home. This veterinarian was extremely sweet. Doctor Carlson spoke quietly. Her soft demeanor was for Sunny and also for me and Rebecca.

Dr. Carlson suggested I give Sunny a treat while she injected the first shot that would relax him. Sunny ate it and never flinched when the needle went in.

Rebecca and I were on the floor with Sunny, both of us were crying during this letting-go process. The doctor left the room to give us personal time.

Sunny’s body was treated with respect, even as it was put on a pall. Since he was a large dog, the vet couldn’t carry him alone. Rebecca became a pallbearer. (Sunny’s body was going to be cremated.)

Sunny and Bob looking for deer.

All the decisions were made for Sunny’s benefit. I might have been able to keep him a little longer, but that would have been for me, not him.

Sunny has gone over the rainbow bridge. I’m sure he’s in heaven now with Bob.

Goodbye, my good old friend.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;;