Bossier, our Jack Russell terrier, lived a darn good 12 years, but the last year was a little tougher. He became a grumpy, old-man version of the enthusiastic, energetic dog we once struggled to contain.
For the last couple months, he started to have severe mouth issues. The vet removed a few rounds of teeth and prescribed various medications, but it wasn’t helping. We were told if the last round of treatment didn’t work, it might be something more serious. It was. He had cancer in his jaw bone, and at his age, there was very little they could do.
There are a lot of reasons not to like my dog. Over the years, he’s eaten floorboards, scratched up walls, torn up carpet, and peed on just about anything of importance we owned. We spent thousands of dollars cleaning, repairing, and replacing his messes. But the realization he’d soon be gone brought back a flood of happy memories…
He chased deer up a mountain, nearly got lost in the White Sands of News Mexico, visited The Big Easy, camped in the woods of Arkansas, hiked hills, fought with possums, hunted birds and rats, and dug out of the backyard at least a few dozen times.
Most importantly, he was there for the most important happenings in of our lives. He plays a role in countless memories. He was our constant for 12 years.
I thought I was prepared for this moment, but I wasn’t.
Ever since our daughter came along, we’ve neglected Bossier. We used to give him all our attention; not so much anymore. There were times I viewed him more as an inconvenience than our little buddy. He didn’t deserve that. For all he had done wrong, he was a pretty good dog. He deserved a good send off.
When we made the difficult decision to put him down, we decided to wait a few days. We wanted to make his last week special. I put together Bossier’s 4-day bucket list:
We managed to scratch each item off one-by-one and create lasting memories for our 6-year-old. When the list ended, the tears came. It was time to say goodbye.
We held him until the end. We made sure he knew he was loved. We thanked him for always loving us.
He was a terror. He was a mess. He was good.