Saturday, September 10, 2011

Oh Oh Oh....Sweet Ty-bo

Ty Hurlbut
aka Ty-Ty, Ty-bo
1999 - September 8, 2011

The details of why...(warning long sordid explanation...skip to "why we loved" if uninterested or just want to see pictures)

This has been a rough week.  Well, a rough couple of weeks.  When we were in Dallas a few weeks back, Ty, our 12 year old dog, lunged at Avery and got her pretty good on her cheek.  It didn't break the skin but it was a 4 toothed stripe down her face, bruised and raised.  He's a really nervous dog, and the situation was just that - he was uncomfortable and just went for her.  It gave us a scare.  But this wasn't the first time it had happened.  He was not hurt, he was not in any pain, he was simply uncomfortable that she was on his right, Mike was on his left and mom was behind him.  We've never allowed our girls to roll around with, hug, lay on the dog.  They have a healthy respect for Ty. I've always stressed that you don't hug dogs, you scratch them.  That's how a dog knows that you love them.  But for whatever reason, he flipped on Avery this particular time.

So after this happened we knew we had to really talk about it.  It was an awful decision.  One I never wanted to make.  Ty was pretty darn healthy for a 12 year old dog.  His blood-work was impeccable.  Sure his back right leg dragged a little when we went walking or running. And the throwing up.  Ahhh...I thought for sure he must have a tumor or something.  It was an occurrence every 1-2 weeks.  For seemingly no reason at all - upchuck, all over my carpet (because really - puking on the tile would just be too easy.)  Other than that, he was really healthy.  This made it that much harder for us to decide.

I know deep down that Ty isn't a vicious dog. However he was unpredictable and had gotten really nervous around kids.  He lunged at my neighbors son a few weeks ago when they were over.  Again, I am 100% certain that Tywas not injured because he was sitting right next to me on the floor.  The boy is a sweet boy who I know has nothing but respect and love for animals.  It just freaked Ty out that the boy started counting (playing hide and seek) right next to his hind legs.

I feel like I'm defending myself and I know that there isn't a need to but at the same time, I'm just getting it all off of my chest.  In the end it came down to if and when.  Could I guarantee that it wouldn't happen again.   No.  In fact I could guarantee that it would happen again. But the question was, would it be a worse bite?  Would it disfigure my child or another? In the end that's just what haunted us.  I loved Ty and I know he wasn't trying to be mean, he was just getting old and even more nervous than normal.

We met with the vet last Saturday and talked about possibilities like:
1)  finding another home for him. But we didn't know of anyone that would take a dog that barks at everything, sheds like mad, and throws up all the time. And even then, how could we give him to someone with the possibility that he might bite them or their child/grandchild.   I know it was a big "if" but still.  Not too mention we didn't know anyone that would take him. And...
2) taking him to a shelter would have been a more cruel way for him to die and I know this dog - he would have shriveled up and died.  Back when he was younger we boarded him at a really nice place in Richmond and I remember the girl saying "He's very timid.  He seemed really depressed."  Yep, that's my dog.  The one that's a nervous wreck.  Slowly over time it's gotten so much worse.  Anyway, the vet doubted that a shelter would even take him anyway.

If you ever knew Ty, you knew I called him my chicken in dog's clothing.  He barked when a car door slammed, when the FedEx truck drove by, the garbage truck passed, a leaf fell,  and God forbid someone knock on the door.  Every night when Mike would come home at the same time, in the same car, in the same way, Ty would bark like someone was about to break down the door. Seriously - it was more than annoying.

I've joked for years about giving him away and how quiet the house is going to be when he went, but I don't think you are ever really ready for the reality.

why we loved him so much...

He loved to run.  He was my running buddy and went berserk when he saw me pull out my sports bra, running shorts, socks and then tennis shoes.  Each piece of clothing sent him spinning and spinning into hopeful oblivion.  However, he really did slow me down with all of his pee stops.  I guess now I'll have no one to blame but myself for long runs times.

He loved chasing squirrels at mom and dad's house.  Just running free in general.  Mom and dad have an acre, no fences, he'd just run and run and then come back in the house, and then want to immediately go back outside, and then come back in, and then go back outside, inside, outside, inside, outside until we made him lay down.  Then two hours later he'd puke on mom's carpet.  Every.  time.  Now it's funny, then - not so much.

He was definitely an inside dog.  He didn't want to lay on laps or snuggle too much but a good brushing and tummy rub were always his favorites.  Especially the spots on either side of his neck.  He'd go out, do his business and only stay out on occasion when the weather was just perfect - in the 70s or 80s.  He'd roll in the grass for a few minutes, soak up the sun.  If Jack (our cat) was out, he'd stay out and enjoy the company a bit longer but usually he was back to the door within 5 minutes.  

He never played fetch with a ball or a frisbee but pull out his stuffed squeeky squirrel from Target and he'd get riled up and ready to fetch, play, run.  Throw a ball and he'd look at you like "well, what'd you do that for?"  But throw the squirrel?  He was ready to kill! I'm surprised he didn't shred the carpet tearing across the room.  There was NO toy that got him as excited.

He loved chewing on bones too but his poor gums would just bleed.  Not to mention that he'd gnaw it down to nothing, eat it and then throw it right back up.  We gave him one for his last couple of days.  He barely chewed it at all, I'm sure his teeth hurt too much but he'd carry it around and sleep next to it.

I always felt safe with him around.  I knew that no one would mess with a house with a 50 pound mean sounding dog.  Anytime Mike was gone - no worries.  Was that the wind or a bear?  Who cares!  Ty will scare them away!  Comcast?  Lawn guys?  Yep - be afraid, be very afraid!   I'd tell them he was nice but they rarely believed me.  And that was ok.  

what we won't miss...
Let's be honest, every dog has their thing.  Crotch sniffing, drooling, barking, peeing, jumping...I'm convinced there is no perfect dog.  Ty's thing was barking.  I swear I hear him still barking two days later.  The backyard is so quiet. He'd have a bark off with the dogs behind, diagonal and to the left of us every day.  You'd often hear me yelling "TY SHUT UP!!!!!"  Yep, that's me, setting the great example for my children.

He'd bark when we pulled into the garage. Bark if he saw us walk out the garage door and then pass in front of our front door.  He'd bark if I left the house to go check the mail.  I could hear him all the way down the street.   Talk to a neighbor "bark bark bark bark bark bark bark."  It was something that we lived with but now looking back, we shouldn't have.  No bark collar or deterrent worked.  And we tried them!  

The hair...oh, the hair.  Enough said.  I could gently run my fingers through his hair and get a huge clump.  It's amazing that he wasn't hairless.  Good grief!  Note to self: next time you adopt a dog, research their breed and rate of hair loss.  What can I say?  12 years ago I was young and he was just too cute.

love this dog I did.  For all of the nuisances, irritations, and inconveniences, he was my dog.  And I loved him.  I knew that this day would come but it was harder than I ever imagined.  We were with him but it was still horrible.  It was just so fast.  I know that he died with dignity, he wasn't in any pain that I am aware of, but I still have the guilty feeling that we somehow robbed him of a full life.  Deep down, I know that we did what was right but I am just still so heartbroken.  He was my companion for so long.  He was there for me in really bad times and really good times, he's been with me through it all.  He will forever hold a place in my heart.

And now....for one million pictures...
 Ty sleeping on my bed the day before he died.  
One the of the only luxuries he got when it was storming outside.  He hated storms!  
But on the last few days he was on it as much as he wanted although I really had to coerce him to get up there.  Of course he'd be all over it the minute we were out of the house but at least he wouldn't do it to our face.  

Everyone was so excited when it snowed in 2010.  
Everyone but Ty.

I took these pictures of Ty back when we were in our old house on Havenfield Court.  

The best running buddy ever
April 7, 2011

This is how we expressed our love for Ty and said goodbye with the girls.  
We put together a list of all the things we loved about Ty.  
I laminated it and we put it in a book "Dog Heaven".
Then we each wrote on a card or drew a picture and we attached it to a balloon and let them go out in the backyard.  
Daddy drew a bone, I wrote a note, Kendall drew Ty in a heart and Avery just scribble-scrabbled.

Ty, you are forever in our hearts and I miss you terribly.  
Thank you for 12 years of your companionship, loyalty and love.

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine the suffering you are going through. I think you did what any Mom and dog lover would do. As you said, you "know"something would happen. You were able to spare your dog having inflicted that kind of harm on someone he loved and able to spare your children the physical pain. Thus, he left in love instead of anger and hurt. They say we treat our animals better than humans. I've seen some die peacefully, and I've seen the effects of dementia and how it turns a peaceful person into a physically violent one, acting in ways they never would have liked. I think the same thing can happen in dogs. As a dog lover /owner myself, I know that my dog would never intentionally do anything to my children. She's highly protective, but if it did happen, I think my dog would freak out as much as I would. The important thing to remember no matter what is the quality of life and that you protected all your children (Ty included) from anguish. My two cents :) Vanessa Hurlbut Paniccia