My toddler and I flew to Reno on June 28. My three older children and my husband drove to Reno. They left on June 28 and arrived on June 29. I always worry about them when I am not there, but my toddler isn't a huge fan of car trips. I figured that it would be easier if she flew there and then rode home in the car. This way, she wouldn't have to make two, ten-hour trips.
My toddler slept in the Las Vegas airport and all the way until we were descending into Reno. I think the descent bothered her ears. I was thankful that she slept for that time, because the layover was longer than it was supposed to be, and then we had to sit on the tarmac for an hour. It was horribly hot.
When we arrived in Reno, my mother picked us up from the airport. We went back to the hotel room. My toddler was awake until 2 am because of the nap on the plane. Duke, my parents' beloved dog, was there when we walked in. He looked amazing. I asked my mom if he had been groomed recently. He just looked really good. She said that he hadn't. Duke always loved my children, so he was excited to see my toddler.
On June 29, the next day, Duke was trying to urinate but nothing would come out. My dad decided to stay at the hotel with him while Mom, my toddler and I went to breakfast. We got a call at the end of breakfast that Duke was not doing well. He was trying to urinate every few minutes and nothing would come out. We got back to the hotel and my parents brought him to the emergency vet. When they got back from the vet, they were crying. I knew something was terribly wrong.
They told me that the vet was going to do a complete body x-ray to see what was going on. They didn't know what was wrong, but I think we all knew that Duke didn't have much longer on this earth. They had to go back to the vet at 1:30, we had about an hour before then. We all cried. Duke was mine first, I left him with my parents when I moved to California. My dad let me know that he would want Duke to stay with them. I couldn't take Duke away, that was his home, it was what he still knew.
I can still see this little puppy coming toward us. That was how I knew which puppy I would pick. I can remember this little, blond, floppy-eared puppy coming toward me. His mom followed us all the way to the van. He was born June 26, 1999.
At the moment that we brought him home from his parents, we loved him. He was an amazing little guy. We reminisced about this day and many other times with Duke, during that hour before they went back to the vet. Many tears were shed. He was loved. My mom called me upon arrival at the vet to tell me that Duke had bladder and prostate cancer. She let me know, through sobs, that they were going to have him put to sleep. They brought him back to the hotel, so we could say goodbye. My children and husband had arrived by that time, so they were able to say their goodbyes as well. My parents then brought him back to the vet so he could be put to sleep.
My mother asked the vet to put him to sleep in the car. They obliged. My mom sat with him and rubbed his ears. When they arrived back at the hotel with him, before burying him, he looked like he was just sleeping. I had to take a moment to make sure he was really gone. The tears flowed. My toddler kept saying hi to him. My 5 year-old got right in and was petting him. He asked why he wasn't moving, although I had told him he was dead. I then told him he went back to heaven. He then gave Duke a big hug and told me that he loves him even though he is in heaven. They always had an amazing bond. He always stated that it was just Duke's egg now. I took a second and realized he meant that it is just his shell, and that his spirit is in heaven.
We all petted Duke. I think it was important for the children to see that when something is dead, it just means that the spirit has moved on. It is still hard to say your goodbyes, though.
Duke lived to be 14 and 3 days old. We loved every moment we had with him from July 31, 1999, until June 29, 2013. I don't know if or when my parents will get another dog. There will never be another dog like Duke.