I am sure a lot of you reading this have dogs or pets that you love dearly that passed away or had to be put to rest, leaving you devastated.
I just got home from vacation in Seattle to learn that my Siberian husky, who was named Yukon, had to be put to sleep after a long battle with cancer and other diseases.
He was going to turn 13 years of age in November.
Now when Yukon was a puppy, he belonged to my cousin. My cousin ended up moving to Texas and we had to take care of him, and we did so for the rest of his life, the past eight years or so.
Yukon was a great family dog. He was well-loved by all of my friends that came over and my family members.
He would travel with my mother to my football games and was dressed up in a football jersey, howling in the parking lot where he had a view of the game.
Every Halloween I would dress up in my home jersey and let Yukon wear my away jersey, and we'd go trick-or-treating together. He was a great dog who always obeyed and was happy.
Now I walk around my house, so used to trying to avoid tripping over him at night, going into the kitchen to get a snack, and expecting him to be right behind me begging for part of whatever it is that I am eating. Now I am trying to avoid tripping over air, and turning around to see nothing present.
It is so tough right now for me; this loss has really been tragic to our family. We knew it was coming, but now that it is finally all over, it's all really hit us hard.
There was nothing more anyone could do; he was suffering, but I wish he could have lasted just a few more hours so I'd have had one last chance to give him a hug and a kiss and say I loved him just one more time.
And I wanted to tell him good bye.
I remember the last time I saw him before I left for Seattle, I just waved and said "bye, boy," not expecting the next time I walked up to my porch he wouldn't be lying there to welcome me home.
I wanted to spend just a few more minutes with him, but I guess the pain was too much for him to bear.
He had cancer spots on his back, couldn't walk, wouldn't eat, couldn't go to the bathroom. He was generally a mess, but he always had a great attitude and had a smile on. He just couldn't go any longer.
I love him and always will, but it will be strange watching football games this season without him lying down next to me. It will be strange getting ready to go out somewhere and not having to lay a sheet down on the floor to avoid getting his hair all over my clothes.
I'm going to miss lying down on the couch watching movies, with him lying right under me.
The thing I will miss the most will probably be when school starts again, and I'll be lying down and he won't be there anymore to come lick my face to wake me up and ask to go outside to go to the bathroom.
All of my friends loved him and never wanted to leave my house. Not because they wanted to keep hanging out with me, but because they wanted to spend more time with Yukon. He was always making people happier. You could have the worst day in the world, but, when you saw him, he could make you happy and cheerful again.
He would fall in love with other animals, too. He wouldn't bother little dogs; he'd welcome them and play with them while they were visiting.
He was such a caring dog, you'd think he was human. He was very intelligent as well. Sometimes he would outsmart me, and reach over the table to grab a snack that I had left available.
It's sad eating at my dinner table and not being able to sneak food around to him hiding underneath. It's so weird to walk around my house and expecting him to be there, thinking he is going to come out of one of the corners and he doesn't.
I had a dream that he came back, and then I woke up to reality, and that hurt worst of all. To know that it's really all over. But the hardest thing I had to do so far was tell my cousin, that his beloved dog that he bought in November of 1996 has finally taken his last breath.
He called me today and started crying when he brought it up, and that was a domino effect because I had never heard him cry before. It was something I couldn't handle because I love my cousin and Yukon very much.
My grandma and my mother are not taking this very well, either; everything seems empty and lost. We are all so used to feeding him and putting his water dish out.
Even the blue jays in the neighborhood are impacted by this. That sounds really weird, but Yukon made friends with the blue jays in the neighborhood. He would always share his dog food with them. They'd come up to the porch and Yukon would share his dog food. They were not afraid of him at all and had no reason to be. He was one of a kind.
This whole incident has hit everyone really hard. We are still in absolute shock that it's finally all over.
It hurts badly losing such a great dog, but now it's time to reflect on the great memories I had with him. Rest in peace, Yukon; I love you, boy.
In Memory of Yukon: November 1996–July 8, 2009