I lost a good friend this weekend.
The very difficult decision to have the veterenarian put Ted to sleep was made on Friday. He was 12 years old. He was having some recurring renal failure, and while I won't chronicle the specific symptoms, suffice it to say he was suffering. It was with a heavy heart that the decision was made to end that suffering. I know in my heart it was the right thing to do. It doesn't make it any easier, though.
I adopted Ted when he was just 10 weeks old. On a visit to Wayside Waifs I walked by a cage with these two adorable little puppies. It was Ted and his sister. The staff at Wayside allow you to take the dogs out of the cages to a little fenced in area to play with them for a while when making your decisions. Ted and his sister were brought out to the play area and while his sister cowered in the corner and was hesitant to interact, Ted came bounding over and instantly started playing with me. The decision was a no-brainer. I was done looking, and immediately dubbed him Ted, mostly because I thought it was funny.
When I first brought him home, he was tiny. He could almost sit in one of my hands. He couldn't quite jump high enough to get on the couch. He was just this little fur-ball of energy. The folks at Wayside Waifs had labeled his kennel "chow mix" because they didn't know his origin, but could tell there was some chow due to his partially purple tongue. Ted grew, but never got very big. A vet later concluded he was part chow, part golden retriever and part pomeranian. He never grew much bigger than a pomeranian, but looked so much like a retriever that most people assumed he was still a puppy even when he was surpassing 10 years old.
We had some really great times, going for walks on the Plaza, running in the leashes-off section of SM Park, and teaching him tricks. He could sit, lay, roll over, shake (with either paw), and "high five" upon command. He was even the inspiration for a sketch performed by Der Monkenpickle and portrayed on stage by my friend Ed Goodman. Ted and I moved from the apartment near Westport, to a house in Brookside, before moving to Denver. We lived in three different apartments in Colorado and played a lot with Emma, the Schwartz' dog in their backyard. We later moved back to KC and lived in Lawrence for a year, too.
When I decided to move to Chicago, the hardest decision was to leave Ted behind with my parents in Overland Park. I knew it was better for him. He would have a backyard to run in and kids to play with him, while I would be living in a small apartment in the city, and keeping a crazy schedule. Plus, my parents loved him tremendously and took wonderful care of him. Even though I missed him, it was alright since I knew he was having a better life in Kansas than I could provide here in Chicago. Whenver I came home to visit, though, it was obvious that he still remembered me and clearly didn't hold it against me. He was just always glad to see me.
We went through a lot together. He was there for me in good times and in hard times alike. He never judged me. He never doubted me. He never took me for granted. He just loved me unconditionally. I miss you, buddy. I'm glad you're feeling better now. Goodbye Ted.