I remember every moment from that night as if it was yesterday. Something kept telling me that this was the night that would change my life forever. It was a little past midnight when I went to bed. I remember I had set an alarm, but it didn’t matter because he came in about an hour early to wake me up. I wasn’t sure what it was, but he never left my side. I walked into the room and there was my dad laying peacefully. I sat down and noticed his breathing had changed from the time I went to bed. It had slowed. My heart dropped. The tears started rolling down my face as I noticed his old military pictures on the nightstand. I remember grabbing his hand and telling him that everything was going to be okay and the my brother would understand. I told him that it was okay to let go. I looked down at him on the floor for a second then back at my dad. At that very moment I watched my dad take his last breath. The tears started flowing and wouldn’t stop. He licked my hand. That was the moment I finally considered Taco apart of our family.
I’ve never been much of a dog person. I’ve always been a cat person. I mean I had a cat that lived to be almost 20 years old. My husband however is a dog person. He had two dogs that ended up being cared for by his parents. That’s what happens right. Anyways the story of how taco came to us is an interesting one.
One afternoon my husband calls me while at drill for the National Guard and asked me how I felt about getting a dog. My immediate answer was “NO!” I told him that I didn’t want a dog and that I had no time for a dog. He then immediately follows with the many reasons why this dog would be good for us. I then reply to him, thinking that reverse psychology would work in this scenario, “do what you want, your an adult!” He said fine and we hung up. The rest of the weekend I didn’t hear anymore about the dog. I figured I had won this argument or so I had thought…
I remember the garage door had opened and I knew that Harvey was home. He came in unusually happy. He gave me a kiss and was very “smiley”, if that’s even a word. He told me that he needed to unload the car and help the guy that carpooled with him. The very next moment this massive beast of a dog came running in.
I immediately asked Harvey, who’s dog is this? He said, ours. I was angry and confused. I’m also pretty sure there were some choice words that were used at that moment. The dog was the last thing I needed to take care of…
I gave Harvey one week. If the dog didn’t fit into our family he would need to find him a new home. But, little did I know he would win me over before the week was over.
Taco came into our lives at a difficult time, but he ended up leaving a lasting impact on our lives. He allowed me to spend the last intimate moments with my dad before he passed away. He gave life to Harvey and I’s relationship after many months of strain due to my sole responsibility of my dad. He gave Haylen the strength to overcome her fear of dogs. He also welcomed our son into our family. Taco was definitely the definition of a man’s best friend.
It’s been one year since he has passed. We made the most difficult decision to put Taco down after only one year in our family. He ended up developing a severe autoimmune disease that was working its way from the inside out. His liver was starting to shut down. His kidneys failed. He was gaining excessive weight, he had a matted and infected area on his upper back, and he was throwing up blood. We knew that he was in pain and that the steroids he was on was only prolonging the worst. That is why we chose to put our family dog down.
So to my dear canine friend, Thank you for bringing my family so much joy and happiness. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of patience even though I sometimes had very little. Thank you for being so friendly to all the neighborhood residents and allowing them the joy of petting you. Thank you for being my husband’s best friend. Thank you for allowing Thomas to climb all over you when he need support to walk. Thank you for not tackling Haylen over when she feared you the most. Lastly, thank you for being apart of our family.