It happened sometime this week. I don’t care if I don’t know what day but I knew it was coming. We talked about it in recent weeks but had hoped like we did last Winter, that he would get better by Spring. Last winter he did. He got through just fine. This time he was in so much pain and was in the company of others constantly. He did not want to be left in a room or outside alone even if it hurt to get up to follow. Last Sunday he did not go to the pasture with me as he always does. I knew then.
It has been five years since I have lived here. The first six months I did not work but instead spent hours each day with my horse. Mickey expected me every day around 3:30 at the house. He waited. My pop said that on days I did not come over, Mickey waited until dark in the drive way facing the road and finally gave up near dark. Once I started working, Mickey waited for me every afternoon and evening. I came out to brush Carter and take our walk or ride. Mickey lived for this. Even after my job had me traveling, Mickey always knew the sound of my car and raced out to greet me. He still waited for me every day.
On Sunday’s he always took a walk after lunch in the pasture with us. Whether I rode or walked, he ran along side sniffing out every possible area requiring canine inspection. On warm days he took a dip in the pond and then immediately rolled in the red dirt. He smelled bad all the way back to the house but we didn’t care. He was happy. That’s what dogs do.
No matter what the day would bring, work or play, Mickey was there. He always supervised my round corral workouts with Carter and sometimes I would allow them to play chase; Mickey running on the outside, Carter on the inside. Those two were a pair. When I first brought Carter home in 2004, he and Mickey goofed off like two big pups. They charged each other. Mickey was fast then, very agile and could avoid those hooves that came his way when Carter raced after him.
He started slowing down a couple of years ago and it was brought up each year near Christmas as to when it would be time. He was not able to take the full trail ride with Carter and me any longer and I stopped allowing him to walk along the road to the bridge with us. A variety of illnesses began their journey through his body as did the necessary medication. But he still found the energy and stamina to run along the trail with us during our walks in the pasture. Only by this time I’d find him ahead of us resting. Later he began to come back to the house without us. He just could not tolerate the long walk. But he didn’t want to miss out on a short outing.
This past year, I always petted him as if it were our last time and always gave him a good scratch around his neck. Although I wasn’t there when Pop took him to the vet this week, I still feel at peace that he is not suffering. My gallery is full of Mickey pictures and I have so many wonderful memories of this beautiful dog. A good dog he was and a great friend. We love you and will always miss you.
Mickey was 16.