That was his name, really. Tonka for short, like the big yellow trucks we all used to play with as kids. Most of the time, though, we called him Boo or Boo-boo, often with the definite article. (Yes, it makes me think of the song, too: “Me and you and a dog named Boo…” But that’s a coincidence. Boo was a manglement of “boy” originally.)
We got the Boo from the woman who made my wedding dress. I’ve been married 15 years. I’ve had a dog 15 years. As of last night, I have to learn how to do one of those without the other.
We’ve been preparing ourselves this last year or so to let him go. Eventually. He was, after all, 15. He also had a degenerative neuralopathy, which meant he was slowly losing control over his back legs. And he was a bit senile. Eventually, we figured, when he was no longer enjoying his daily raid on the cat food bowl, when he stopped begging like a fool for the bits of chicken and hamburger that my mother liked to save for him, we’d have to make that hard decision.
But last night, what the vet called “twisted stomach” got him instead. He seemed OK when we got home from work. Around 10pm, he died in my arms in the back seat of the car on the way to the emergency clinic. Happens that way sometimes, apparently.
I’m just glad it didn’t happen when no one was home.
Today we’re both staying home from work so we can start learning how to live without him underfoot.