I lost my sweet Tucker a week ago. It was all very sudden. Perfectly fine in the morning, gone by evening.
It was a normal morning, and my sweet boy was his usual happy self. At 9:30 we left for the vet, not a big deal, just a follow-up appointment for something totally unrelated to what followed. But when they brought Tucker out to the car after the appointment, something was very wrong.
I said something to the girl who had walked him out and she said he was just stressed from the noisy clinic. So we went home. Tucker didn’t want to eat or drink, and I called the vet 3 times over a couple of hours, but they assured me that the vet was unconcerned; the clinic was very noisy and he was just stressed. Tucker started to relax, and in the afternoon Tucker rallied, drank some water and scarfed down some green beans and some cheese, went outside, so I started to think maybe the vet was right.
Fast forward two more hours, and we were on the way to the emergency clinic at the University of Illinois Vet School. Tucker was able to walk to the car and he jumped in, and when we got there he wanted to smell everything outside, even in his slightly wobbly state. I didn’t know this was the end, but maybe he did. An x-ray showed that Tucker had fluid in his chest, not his lungs, but his chest. They did a needle aspiration to determine whether it was a mass or an infection, and it was the worst possible news. Tucker was bleeding into his chest cavity.
My little Henry looked to Tucker for everything, so I asked a friend to bring Henry to the clinic so Henry would understand what was happening with his Tucker. I got to be with Tucker for a few minutes, but we didn’t get a real goodbye because Tucker was on painkillers and couldn’t even make eye contact. Henry seemed totally clueless, acting almost as though Tucker wasn’t even there, and Tucker didn’t react to Henry, either, so I think Tucker was already starting to leave us. But Henry hasn’t looked for Tucker even once, so in spite of his apparent cluelessness, I know he somehow understood that Tucker is gone.
I knew something was very wrong when they brought Tucker out after his appointment, but I let the vet convince me I was wrong, and I would have made so many different choices that day if I hadn’t. That wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but Tucker would have suffered less, and we could have said our goodbyes. Regrets.
So my sweet boy is gone and my heart is breaking. It’s been a week and I still don’t have it in me to write the post that my wonderful boy Tucker deserves, honoring him with the testament he deserves, telling you stories and sharing photos of my sweet, handsome boy. I will do that when I feel I can, but for today, here’s video from the day Tucker met Henry. Tucker was full of life, full of energy, full of love. That was Tucker through and through, until the day he left us.
When Tucker Met Henry
My friend Carol had gotten a new puppy the day before, and she called me, totally overwhelmed. I told her to pack up the pup (who is now my Henry) and the pen and the toys and come over so we could help her through those first days. They stayed with me and Tucker and the kitties for nearly two weeks until I left for Thanksgiving weekend, and then Carol was on her own for the long weekend. I returned on Monday, and Carol called to say that it was too hard on her own, that she was taking the little guy back to the rescue.
But Tucker and Henry had bonded the minute they met, so that wasn’t an option. Henry came to live with us and Tucker got the little brother he never knew he needed, until the second they first met.
Yes, there’s a tarp on the floor for the new pup, the house is a wreck, there’s a bra on the couch, but this was probably the best day of Tucker’s life, the day he got the little brother he didn’t know he needed.
The day they met.