Last Saturday, April. 4,  my wife and I had to say goodbye to a friend who had been with us for 11 years. His twin sister was at home. We couldn’t take her to the Vet’s to be a part of it and it would have been cruel to do so. Sergio and his sister are Great Pyrenees. They are about 120 lbs each. We picked them up 11 years ago at a horrible puppy mill that should be shut down and the owners jailed. It’s location is up at the top of Missouri

We went there with a pickup attached to a 14 foot horse trailer. I had never driven such as that. A dually and a trailer. We drove through the rain, past where tornadoes had recently touched down, and saw two accidents where people had died. One took place in front of us…..right in front of us. Flat nosed delivery truck ran into the back of a stopped semi. The delivery truck penetrated the back of the semi and crushed the driver and his partner.

But this is about Sergio and not trucks or accidents. It is about our friend who we had to let go. And, I think it is about you out there that will read this wherever you might be.

Sergio was diagnosed with bone cancer. God help me that cancer is painful and Sergio was stoic and never really let on how much pain he was in. It kills me to think that he was in pain. That great dog with that great heart and in pain. I thought he was limping from a sore foot. The vet couldn’t figure it out. We put him on some pain pills and the event passed and then about six-week back it came back. The limp. The odd look in his eyes that said something isn’t right. Back to the Vet, more x-rays and then…..and then he told us he thought it was cancer and sent us to the oncologist and she told me he had a tumor that was destroying his left front leg and there was nothing that could be done about it. And the pain. God the pain. It had to be horrible. But he never whimpered. He never cried out. His just limped until last Saturday and he couldn’t put his foot down. He couldn’t stand. But that dog…..that dog tried and he went out and urinated and then sat down and looked at me.

Jan and I called for the Animal Ambulance in Bradenton. We called the Vet. Terry Clekis at the Braden River Animal Hospital. He had given me his cell phone on Friday as we were worried about the weekend and he had told me that if something happened over the weekend to call him but his office was open that Saturday morning. He told us to come on in.

The people from the Animal Ambulance were extremely kind and carefull as they loaded our 120 lb buddy into the ambulance. I rode along side him on the floor and Jan drove my truck behind us. It was a sad drive and he was in pain but showed nothing but love for me as I lay next to my buddy on the floor. The great guy who could stand on his hind feet and put his paws on my shoulders and touch his nose to mine. This incredible animal who helped me rescue a bunny from the claws of two cats once and who stood next to a 12-year-old girl in a wheel chair whose left leg was going up and down over and over again and he leaned up against her and she touched him and her leg stopped moving. He moved away and the leg started again. He moved in and she touched him and her leg stopped going up and down and the parents stood there in amazement and said she had never, ever been able to stop that leg from going up and down. He moved away and it resumed, he moved back in once more and looked at them and me and she touched his back and the leg stopped once again. The father said, “We need to get her a dog.” With that Sergio resumed the walk we had started.

And so, last Saturday was our last walk and it was so very painful. So painful for him, frightening, and so horribly sad for Jan and I.

I am sitting here crying. I don’t cry. But over him I can and do.

I sat and watched as two shots were given to get him to go to sleep before the kill shot. It took two shots. I will never forget how his head  slowly went down and all I wanted to do was scream stop it, stop it. Please stop. There must be a better way. Terry said, “You are doing the right thing.” Jan was in tears. I was trying to hold it together. I can do that at times. I’ve been around death many times but this was killing me. Deaths of pets do that to me. And this was my friend. This was Jan’s protector, her guard, and he was in pain and it was all we could do. We had to help him and that meant saying goodbye and that hurt. You have no idea how much that hurt and it still does.

So, we have his ashes next to our other dog’s. Her name was Tifton. We found her in Tifton, GA years ago the side of the road on I-75 covered with fleas, ticks, a rope imbedded in her throat. About seven months old, starving, and pregnant. She was a fantastic dog and because a buddy to Sergio and Suzie when we brought them home.

We we got them we could hold them in our hands little ball of fur and they were so sick that we had to pull into a Vet’s office in the same town where the puppy mill was to get meds. We weren’t sure if they’d make the trip to Florida. We had four of them, we bought two: Sergio and Suzie. The other two went to another owner who moved to Texas.

Now we just have Suzie. She’s sleeping on the floor not faraway from where I am sitting. She is snoring her head off. She has hip and knee problems and I know her days are numbered too. And I’ll cry for her just like I am now for him. The tears are also for Jan and I for the loss and the memories but we did the right thing. I know people who keep their pets until the dog simply dies and they have been in pain for months. Why? Why do that to them? Even the length of time from the “I don’t know” from the vet to the final shot was too long.

Sergio, we loved you and do love you and we wish you nothing but peace. Please come and visit and bark so we know you are there from time to time when you can stop playing tag with Tifton who comes and rattles shades on the doors and makes things move. Peace to you our great friend. We’ll all meet up again one day and there will be no more pain.

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