My sister’s dog, Irie, who, in many regards was the family dog, was put down today after a long, slow decline. Although physically he was not the same dog he had once been (a happy, frolicking mix of beagle and lab), mentally, he was still pretty with it, and this made the decision to put him down even harder.
Irie was a gentle, sweet, happy, and, well, stupid dog, and we all loved him for it. He was always happy to see his mom, and often times almost as happy to see the rest of us. Devon picked Irie up on the side of the road after he had been abandoned as a puppy, and he spent the next decade+ surgically attached to her hip.
He was an ornery dog- he would run away any chance he got, with the mix of beagle and lab giving him the ability to smell a rabbit at 4 miles and the speed to run away and catch it. He set the Guiness speed record for rolling in dead things, with an uncanny ability to get away, find something smelly, and then roll in it at somewhere under 17 seconds. And he was sweet to a fault, having never met a cat who wouldn’t bully him or pick on him.
He always managed to be in the way- if you stopped short, he would run into you, unless, of course, you were walking him. In that case, a walk around the block would take a good hour, because he had to smell everything in sight. He seemed to particularly enjoy taking his time when it was raining or snowing or nasty out, or if you were just in a hurry.
Irie was the one dog my cat liked- maybe because he was not threatening, maybe because he was calm and would lie in the same spot and Tunch could lie next to him and steal his warmth. Maybe it was because they both loved Tunch’s cat food, which Irie would immediately clear out the minute he got here.
In other words, he was the perfect dog, and I am really really sad to see him go.
Irie’s decline was a shame, and he had aged to the point where you needed to carry him outside and then hold him up so he could go to the bathroom. This afternoon, Devon took him to the family vet on a farm outside where we all grew up, and they placed him on the ground to put him to sleep. Ornery to the end, in his last act, the dog who could not walk anymore got up and chased the vet’s cat.
One last romp, one last act of mayhem. It was the perfect end for the perfect dog.
We’ll miss you Irie.