As usual, this isn’t the post I wanted to write. I started it earlier today when I was still merely contemplating making the call for Grady, our gentle giant, Tank Boy.
When I was merely contemplating I was (mostly) okay with the decision, after all, it’s not like it comes as a surprise. Grady turned 15 in April and, honestly, I was amazed he made it this long. He’s had a few issues in his old age, but the good days have always outnumbered the bad.
Over the past week, however, the scales tipped. Grady’s appetite waned. He was still eating, but without his usual gusto. He slowly stopped galumphing across the yard in an attempt to keep up with Jig. And though he tried his best, he fell down frequently and needed more help getting back up. The walk in from the yard became a slow, stumbling event, and there were times he had such a list to the right he would have walked circles if not for my leg to lean against.
Grady’s age, as it will do, has caught up to him.
And I was (mostly) okay until I actually made the call and sent the texts to those who know Grady well.
That circle is small. Grady didn’t trial. His trips off the farm were mostly to the vet, visiting, or going camping, something that won’t be the same without having to go collect him when he wandered off, making apologies for the old dog.
Around the farm he was the gentle greeter, the big, goofy guy with the perpetually sunny outlook, and the tamer of wild puppies.
I’m still (mostly) okay, though tomorrow will be hard. It sucks. This habit some of us have of giving a piece of our hearts to creatures we know we stand a good chance of outliving many times over. Yet we do it again and again, even though the letting go never gets any easier.
What an empty existence it would be without them, though. The laughs, the unconditional love, the frustration, the heartaches, the friendships they lead us into and the adventures they take us on.
We will miss our Tank Boy. Safe journey, old man. Tell your Bruncle I said hi.