Killing a dog, the very best friend

By T.J. Simers

Nixon was the very best dog, loyal and loving, and not his fault he was named Nixon.

The daughter owned Kennedy, so Nixon it was. He was a nine-year-old, 93-pound white lab, who loved hearing the leash but could walk anywhere without it and not get in trouble.

He walked into the vet’s office this week and didn’t come out. We had to put Nixon down, and I wish I had been stronger and stayed with him, but I could not. My wife remained with him.

He was playing Monday with our other dog, the schizoid Rona, short for Coronavirus and monster, bought because she was also a white lab who grew up to be a whippet and a monster. She had puppy strangles, Parvo, her jaw fractured and survived.

Nixon didn’t eat his food and we had to put him down. They called it “hemangiosarcoma of the spleen,” and said it’s quite common. He was fine Monday, catatonic on Tuesday, better on Wednesday and had to be as surprised as we were that he would never see Thursday.

The tumors got him, and they said maybe surgery would help but just for weeks. There is no way Nixon was going to feel pain; that was left to us to absorb.

Rona now walks around wailing and looking for Nixon and it was tough enough explaining “sit” to her, so no way she understands Nixon leaving and not coming back. I’m struggling a little with it, too, Nixon not there like always when I woke up to pet him like every other morning.

Rona was with the wife this morning, probably hearing that I wasn’t there in the end for Nixon.

We’ll work our way through all that, while remembering Nixon waiting at the front threshold for permission to come outside and Rona already long gone down the street. He loved walking with me and the trash cans to set them out for the garbage trucks; now I might never again take out the trash again to honor him.

He once took down a neighborhood dog charging at my wife, grabbing the dog by the throat and laying down the threat on the street—no one getting hurt. Rona, the monster, is the puppy but dropped an alpha personality on Nixon from the start and Nixon took it without even a growl.

He was absolutely the best friend.

He deserved better than what he got this week but reading all the heartfelt stories online about the number of dog owners impacted by hemangiosarcoma, that’s just the way it goes. So, it’s onward with Rona, and “sit, Rona, sit. Sit. Come on….please.”

Oh boy, Nixon.

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