Warning. This is not a jovial post. For those that are not wanting to read all the emotional details, it’s ok. You don’t have to read this insight (I promise my feelings won’t be hurt) and I will give you the story in brevity – I had to put down my dog, Dave.
I hate that I am actually having to write this post. I do feel it will help me to express my feelings about a matter that’s taken another piece of my heart. I know, I’m the goofy TV guy that some have a hard time taking seriously. That persona that has afforded me a nice living and I’m thankful to those that have given me an opportunity to “do what I do” for a living. I offer this as a precursor as to an understanding of projecting out one face while masking another. (I hope that makes sense to you)
The past 12 months have been the probably the worst of my life. It’s also been a year of self-discovery, building/rebuilding intra-family relationships, and defining my career. Some choices have been made for me while others were decisions I had to make.
The latest tough decision I had to make was to end the pain and suffering my dog Dave was in. This was a big surprise for me. Dave had not been eating lately and acting very lethargic. In the past, it was because of something he ate, because he licked a frog (true story), or the usual/normal canine sickness. All in all, for a majority of his life, Dave was a healthy Jack Russell Terrier. But this past week it was worse than usual. My thinking was he had eaten something crazy like in the past and it was causing some kind of blockage. Raquel, my now ex-wife, was their Alpha and she had a terrific talent of getting Dave better using essential oils. It always worked. We would remedy any sickness he or her dog had by putting oils in the water or allow them to go outside and eat grass (something dogs do naturally to induce self-vomiting.) This time, Dave wouldn’t do either. He was obviously losing weight and I worked to get him to drink some Pedialite, to get his electrolytes up and easy to eat baby food. Dave wouldn’t take either. It was time to take him to the Vet.
It really was on my mind all night. I literally went to bed at 5:30 am Sunday morning. My girlfriend, Denise, told me about a Neel Veterinary Hospital that is open 24 hours here in Oklahoma City. I had to take him in. I feel selfish now, but I made the decision that I would take him up there after I get a few hours sleep and maybe he would eat or drink something in the interim. I got up at 8:00 am and checked on Dave and since he didn’t eat or drink, I took him up to the Vet.
The doctor examined Dave and asked the normal questions.. she felt his stomach, pausing then moving her hands in different positions. She went quiet for a few seconds and then looked at me with a look I don’t think I’ll ever forget when she told me that Dave had a massive tumor in his stomach. She probably saw the blood exit my face. She explained what would need to happen but also explained that based on the size of the tumor, it COULD be cancerous. With Dave’s age, it would be a lot on his body to handle, and there was still no guarantee he would fully recover. They left the room to allow me to make a decision. As you can imagine, I was tore up. I called my kids, my sister, and Denise. All said that I would make the right decision and to remember that he was in pain. I just told my kids I would really need their support no matter what I decided on and they all agreed that they would.
If you want more of an insight about Dave, here is the first blogpost I wrote about him back in 2006.
As this was truly a shock and surprise, I made the decision that I would take Dave home so the kids could spend a few more hours with him. We would be able to take pictures and each of us have our own time to say goodbye to this little guy that is a part of our family. We did so. I think it was the right decision.
We took Dave back and went through with the procedure. The entire time I was thinking as I looked at my daughter holding him that he wouldn’t be breathing or alive within a few minutes of the doctor taking him out of his arms. The staff at Neel were so compassionate and understanding. Something that could be lost considering how many times they would have to do this. I asked if we could all pet and comfort Dave as they administered the drugs that would take away his pain. She obliged and even allowed me to say a few things in Dave. He was looking directly in my eyes as the sedative worked through his body. That meant the world to me as I wanted him to know what he meant to me and that I was the last thing he ever saw. Then… he was gone. It was peaceful, surreal and heartbreaking all at the same time. I watched as the life went away in his eyes and slowly, yet quickly, he stopped breathing.
While I understand that I am not the first person in history that had to put down a loved pet, it was an experience that I never wanted to face. I wanted Dave to go naturally as every pet owner would want. I missed seeing him on the couch this morning as I left to work. He would pop his head up as if to check on me as I meddled around in the kitchen in the early AM. I really miss that.
Here’s where I will miss Dave the most. As you may or may not know, I divorced a year ago. I have custody of the kids as my now ex-wife lives in Florida and has remarried. While this time was extremely confusing, devastating and hurtful to me, there were days that I would come home from a day of putting on a smile on in front of the cameras, and plop down on the couch and just sit. Alone. I would be the only human in the house. Dave would jump up and sit next to me. I feel he could sense that I needed a friend… and he was right. I literally would have conversations with him about what’s going on and it became very therapeutic. He’s helped me make sense of it all and to at least start to rebuild a life without animosity. It’s amazing that an animal can offer you that. I believe I am going to miss that a lot when I encounter my next challenge.
Well, there it is. This blog post that was really for me but I appreciate you taking the time to read all of it to this point. It’s true that writing things out really helps you feel better. I’ve had so many people give me their condolences and I really appreciate it. I really do.
Rock forth Dave.
Rock forth, Mitch
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