Doobie by April & Steve / April & Steve

Doobie was my dog. His story is my story, at least the story of my adulthood so far. His story has ended, and mine goes on, but no one that knew him will ever be able to forget this outstanding dog.

In the spring of 1995 my boyfriend and I decided it would make more sense to buy a house than to keep renting. So our first real investment in life became a 3 bedroom ranch about 2 miles outside of town. It has just enough yard to start out appealing and become annoying, and all the archatectural charm of one of the bricks that makes up its façade. But it is ours and we are very happy in it and proud to have it.

The thing we needed next was a dog. So I picked up the newspaper and found an ad in the classifieds for FREE: Bassett X Boxer puppies. Well wouldn’t you just have to see what they looked like too? In the yard were the 8 of the cutest little hounds I’d ever seen they were brown with white markings and the one that looked up at me over the fence had 2 blue eyes. She told me that the boxer in the neighborhood had one blue eye and this trait had shown up in 4 of the puppies. (The genetics of this still is interesting to me.) Well the little puppy was not spoken for and she said I could take him home that afternoon.

I bought a leash and a collar, a crate and toys, and a ton of other things that I thought would make owning a dog more fun and convenient. I bought more things for that puppy than some people have for a new baby.

With that, Doobie was ours. We have stories for how he got his name, but none of them are true. It’s just who he was.

There are many many stories that Doobie stars in, but he’s the supporting cast of my entire life. We had to make sure that the crate would fit in the back of the Jeep we bought together. He missed our wedding solely because of the no-pets policy at the site. He’s been down creeks, camped in the woods, traveled more miles than I want to count, been cried on, laughed with, and photographed till he thought we were insane.

But in the last few months he has not felt like himself. You don’t get a dog without knowing that you will eventually lose that dog and knowing that it is going to hurt, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

He is my responsibility. His life is in my hands, and soon so will his death be. I have come to the realization that he is no longer having fun in this world. He is confused more often than not. If he is not sleeping in the back room, he is walking in small circles or getting lost in corners of the house. He recognizes us still when he first wakes up and will wag his tail a few weak times, but I don’t want him to not know who we are at all, that would break my heart worse than it already is. He can’t get up onto the couch or in the car anymore, and if you attempt to lift him up and put him there he growls and snaps. I don’t want that to get worse either, I don’t want to ever be afraid of my own dog. He dosen’t make it outside in time several times a week, but vinegar takes care of most of that and carpet is made to be cleaned and replaced. But the worst is he is not even excited by breakfast anymore. When a bassett is not excited about breakfast, you know he is not feeling well.

The advice I’ve found on the web says that one knows when it’s time. That the balance of good days to bad will be way out of whack, and you just get a feeling. Well if this is it; it’s a very bad feeling, but also one that I hope will lead to the right decision. A decision that no one else can make for me, but one that Doobie will have to rely on me to make.

We have had a great deal of good times, a few frustrating ones, a scattering of scary ones, but recently they have been sadder and sadder. I know I will remember and cherish the good ones with or without him here, and I’m sure he doesn’t want his legacy to be one of pain and uncertainty, but one of puppy kisses, summer days, and snuggles with his people.

I’m very proud to have been his people for 12 years, and I’m very proud to have had him for my dog.


April & Steve