Our Dog T-Bone

A Heartwarming Story of Life with One Really Nervous Dog

"A Brittany pup once chewed a hole in an expensive hunting coat. I scolded him at the time. Now he is 20 years gone, and that patch never fails to bring tears to my eyes." Aaron Fraser Pass

RUNNING WITH THE TWINSThat next Thursday we both got up early and I went and sat out on our little back deck.  I brought his bed out there and as I read my Bible and drank some coffee I couldn’t believe that he was actually laying down in it.  Normally he would be in his pacing mode, but maybe he just thought, “You know, its nice out, my master’s next to me, I’m kind of tired today, I think I’m gonna just lay down for awhile.”  I would read a little bit, watch him for a little while, and through tears think, “Why couldn’t you just be normal?”


About 9:00 he and I hopped in my rusty truck and I took him up by old highway 61 for one last walk on the trail.  I opened the truck door but his sight was so bad he didn’t even know it was open.  In fact he just started walking toward the door like he was walking down the sidewalk not really realizing he was a couple feet off the ground, and if I hadn’t caught him he would have just tumbled out the door.  It was a warm sunshiny day and we slowly walked for about an hour and then came home.  Around noon Kay and I took some pictures of him with the both of us and at about 1:00 I got his leash and took him out to the garage.  He had never ridden in our new truck before (it wasn’t really new I guess, just new to me -- it was actually a 1998 S-10 in immaculate condition).  I told T-Bone when I had gotten it several months earlier that he was never gonna ride in the “new” truck, just the one that had the good tasting truck seat.  I backed out the S-10 and said, “Hey buddy, want to go for a ride in the new truck?” 


The trip to the vet seemed like a blur – we both had to keep wiping the tears from our eyes.  My wife asked me several times if I was sure that we should do this and I agonizingly said yes.  We pulled into the vet clinic and waited a few minutes in the reception area.  Several “normal” dogs were there and again I wished that T-Bone could have been like them.  The tech called us into the room and she informed us that the doctor would come in whenever we were ready.  After a few minutes we informed her that we were ready and he came in.   Anytime T-Bone visited the vet we pretty much had to sit on him or back him into a corner and hold him real tight whenever they drew blood or gave him a shot.  On this day the vet wanted to do the injection in the right front leg.  We struggled with him for a little and then I just sat on the floor with him straddling my lap with his face toward my left. We both wanted so much to look into his face when he passed on but because of his anxiety I wouldn’t be able to.  Kay knelt down next to me and next to T-Bone’s face -- I held him tighter than I had ever held him before.  I asked the doc how long it would take and he said that he would be gone very quickly once he started the injection.  He asked if we were ready.  That’s a hard question to answer.  With a broken heart I said, “Yes.”


He started the injection.  In the last few seconds of T-Bone’s life he did something so remarkable that neither of us will ever forget it – something that will forever be etched in our memories.  Whether he knew how bad I wanted to look him in the face or at that precise moment he desperately wanted to look into the face of his master one last time, we will never know.  But with all the strength that he could muster he craned his neck and bent his head as far back as he possibly could so that I could see his face.  And then he suddenly slumped in my arms and was gone.


For several minutes we both just sat on the floor and cried.  I remember repeating over and over again, “I love you T-Bone, I love you T-Bone.”  Kay gently closed his eyes.


We went out to the truck and cried some more.  We didn’t really know what to do next…we just knew we didn’t want to go home for awhile. 


We both realized this day was coming and when we finally had to make the decision to have T-Bone put to sleep we tried to prepare ourselves.  But to be honest with you I wasn’t prepared for three things.  First, how much it hurt that he was gone.  I talked to my brother a few days afterward and he said the same thing about the loss of their dog Ghost.  For years Ghost had gone with him every morning to go out and get the paper.  “You try to continue that same habit,” he said, “but then realize your friend isn’t there anymore.”  The second thing neither of us was prepared for was how empty the house seemed to be without him.  I definitely see why people who love dogs don’t wait too long before they get another one.  The new dog can’t completely fill the void of the previous pet, but they can help.  And thirdly, I knew Kay loved T-Bone tremendously, but I honestly didn’t realize the depth of her love for Bone.  A couple of days after T-Bone passed on we were talking in the kitchen and she started crying.  There was such a look of loss on her face – a look that said, “I’d put up with anything from him just to be able to hold him one more time.”


Somewhere during those first couple of days after T-Bone was gone, Kay said something that brought a tearful smile to my face.  “Boney is running with the twins,” she said.  I knew immediately what she meant.  In May of 2004 our youngest daughter and her husband lost their twins – a boy and a girl.  They would do their growing up in heaven.  “T-Bone’s not nervous anymore, he’s over his battle with separation anxiety, he can see, he can hear and he can run with the twins,” Kay said through tears.  Do dogs (and other pets) go to heaven?  Theologians who are a lot smarter than me have argued both ways about what the Bible has to say about the pet-afterlife stuff.  But I lean toward the fact that we will see our pets in heaven (and I think that dogs will slide right on in without any hassle; cats on the other hand will need to have a passport, two other forms of picture ID, and must have completed 2000 hours of community service). I guess the bottom line is that I know that I know that I know that we serve a good God and that the blessings of heaven go far beyond our wildest imaginations. I Corinthians 2:9 reminds us, "...no mere man or woman has ever seen, heard, or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord." (TLB).  So I kind of like to think that Bone is really enjoying himself up there, that Jesus has taken him for a couple of walks (or at least one of His angels has), and that everyday he stops by one of the gates of the City, gazing longingly and wondering if this is the day that his master will show up.