A lot can happen in 14 years.  For me, I got married, I had two kids, I changed where I lived 4 times.  A lot has changed.  One thing that has remained the same for me over that time is my buddy.  My dog Tucker has been with me through it all.  But this weekend, we had to say goodbye to him.

I’ll never forget searching the internet for the perfect breed for us.  My wife and I hadn’t quite started our lives together yet.  We had been dating for awhile but we knew we were going to get married.  We imagined we would have kids, and we lived in an apartment.  I didn’t want something big because to put them in an apartment just seems wrong.  But I didn’t want something that would fit in a handbag either.

The search began and I really had it in the back of my mind that I wanted a bulldog.  They were always my favorite breed.  They are on the medium side and look tough as hell.  But they were also $1500 a piece.  That wasn’t possible at this stage in our lives.  So after looking and looking I finally found the Boston Terrier.  It was perfect for us.  So I started looking for a local breeder who was selling.

Crazy enough, I found one in Eden.  This is long before we ever moved there.  They had a litter and were selling at a price I could afford.  When I asked them why they were so much cheaper than the rest, he responded, “we just love this breed and want to share it with people.”  It wasn’t long before I found out why.

When we went to visit, there was this one puppy that immediately jumped up in Brandi’s lap and wouldn’t leave.  It was like he chose us.  It melted her heart, and I was already sold.  So we paid the man and happily took the dog.    We had no idea how that day would change us.

I fell completely in love with him.  We named him Tucker and he became like our first child…until our first child came along.  We were concerned how he would be with her.  He couldn’t have been better.  She tugged at his ears, she squeezed his body, she loved him hard.  He just loved her back.

I’ll never forget how I was upset that we missed our connecting flight home from our honeymoon because I missed my dog.  He was the best.  Every night he would come up and lick my face before bed just to say goodnight before he snuggled in next to my wife and I.

He was there for the best moments of my life, my marriage, the birth of my kids, the day I got promoted, but he was also there for me for the worst.  He was there when my best friend died.  He was there when I lost my dad.  He was always there.  He was my dog, and I was his human.

We never had to buy him a fence…he never ran away.  He just wanted to be with us.  Years passed, the kids grew, we changed houses, and Tucker was with us for all of it.  But eventually he began to slow down.  He was beginning to mope around a bit.  We thought he might want a friend to be with.  That’s when Frankie came along, and he was crazy.  But Tucker never really took to him.  It’s not that he didn’t like him.  He just was at an age where he didn’t really care to play anymore.  He would always find a way to get the best sunspot through the window.  But aside from that, he just wanted to sleep and be left alone.

It’s been very hard to watch him decline over the years.    And recently, every waking moment was a struggle for him.  I have found myself in tears some days just watching him and knowing there wasn’t anything I could do to make the pain go away.  He was on every pill my vet could safely find for him and life just took its course.  We did everything we knew to do to keep him comfortable but it was time.  We had to say goodbye to him on Saturday and we will miss him forever.

If you’ve never had a dog that you were close to, you might think I’m nuts for making such a big deal out of this.  But if you have, you understand completely how much a pet can mean to you and how hard it is to say goodbye.

I’ve seen people write these stories on facebook and they’re always very sad.  I know they’re a bit self indulgent…but thank you for letting me tell his story in a nutshell.  I could write a book about how great he was.  Maybe one day I will.  But for now, I just wanted to give him a bit of a tribute and say goodbye.  Just saying something to him didn’t seem enough.

I’ll miss you Tuckerman.

Best.  Dog. Ever.

(Becca Sutherland Photography)