Nine years ago today, a litter of puppies was born. Not long after that, Brian and I went to see them, excited to get our first pet together. All we knew was that we wanted a goldendoodle. I always had issues around certain dogs, and we figured that a cross between a poodle and a retriever would be a a good way around that. When we went to see the puppies, we were told that there were two young males that still needed placing in a good home. One of them had the light, tight curls that we expected of a doodle, while the other was a straight haired, apricot coloured mess with white feet. Clearly, we wanted the former. However, while there, the curly little boy kept hiding from us. He wanted nothing of our petting, our kisses, our hugs. And yet, the other puppy was all over us. We were the best thing he had ever seen. He was jumping all over our feet. His little tail wagged with excitement. His tongue was out, showering us with his kisses. This dog adored us. This dog was begging us to give him a home. Who were we to argue?
The first few nights home with him were tough. I had been opposed to crate training, and I never wanted it in my room. But after two nights of Sebastian making it known that he wanted to be with us, and not by himself, (Nights that prompted me to change his name temporarily from Sebastian to Sir Bastard the Poo Flinger) he found his crate firmly ensconced in our room, and there he would remain.
Sebastian quickly became a part of our family. He was our cuddle bug, our friend, our companion. He was our mischief maker, our annoyance, our pain. Brian complained often that they had taken the dog that ate anything and everything, and had bred it with the dog that could figure out how to get to anything and everything. Something that was never so apparent as when our boy ate pot pourri, and wound up hospitalized for a week with ulcers throughout his digestive system. I was terrified then, and when he came home, he ran right back to the bowl to see if there was more. He never learned. Over the years, he ate several sponges, two chickens (one raw, one cooked), the thumb off an oven mitt, a plastic fork, chopsticks, chocolate chip cookies, baby wipes, socks, my underwear, various toys, kleenex, paper towel, countless ear plugs, and had a memorable encounter with a skunk. It got to the point that I would call the vet, and she would ask immediately what he had eaten once I said who I was.
After the triplets were born, we brought them home one at a time. Introducing them to Sebastian was of utmost importance to us. We wanted him to care for them, to recognize them as a part of his family. But, we needn't have worried. He treated them as if they were his puppies, smelling them, giving them gentle kisses. He guarded them and he cared for them. As they grew, their relationship with him grew as well. They used him as their cuddle buddy. They rode him around the house as their noble steed, renaming him Galahad. They played tag with him, fetch, and tickled him. They made him the baby in their family, and they dressed him up for tea. But of the three of them, it was Joseph who latched on the most tightly from day one. He was the one who loved his kisses, and made Sebastian his pal. He declared him his dog, and his best friend.
It seems so unfair! A week ago he was running through the backyard, playing tag with our kids, licking their faces. Last night, he lay at our feet, looking up at us with pain in his eyes. He occasionally got up and kissed us, as if he were telling us he was done, and that it was okay. It really does not feel okay. Nothing about this is okay. Joseph wants to know why his pal is not coming home. He wants to know why he has to be alone with no more cuddles. It seems so unfair. Hailey says that God is taking Sebastian home. My heart is breaking.
Today it's his birthday, and he woke bleeding. We took him to his vet, and she met us in their backyard. On a blanket in the grass, under the sun, we said goodbye. He got one last walk around a yard. We got our last kisses, and our last cuddles. He was so peaceful. He is no longer in any pain. I am thankful for the wonderful care that Dr. Hughes provided us. She was there for him as a puppy, and she was there for him today. I am grateful that we could be outside. I like that my last memories of him are under the sun, and not in a sterile room. I want to think that my Mr. Face knew we loved him. I know that he loved us.
Goodbye Sebastian. Goodbye to a wonderful dog, a troublemaker, a protector, a cuddler, a kisser, a noble steed, a pal, a friend, and a beloved part of our family. You were one of a kind, and we loved you with all our hearts. I don't know what we will do without you. There is a massive furry, dog sized hole in our hearts. They are broken.