We got Dusty in November of 2001, just a few days after our first puppy, Walter, was hit by a car. I sobbed and sobbed for days, then told my dad that I wasn't sure I wanted to get another puppy because I would love it and I didn't know that I wanted to love something that was going to die. Pretty profound thoughts for a sixth grader. But we all missed Walter and the day to day activity that comes with having a puppy, and thus, Dusty joined our family. He was a crazy, fluffy pooch who had spent his first few months living with another family who had other bigger dogs, so when we first got him, he ate everything in sight, and made himself sick. Eating the trash and grill scraps would continue to be one of his favorite pastimes. Silly pooch.
Dusty quickly settled into the family when Kirk was four, Scott was eight, and I was twelve. He slept on the foot of my bed every night, and waited outside my door for me when I moved away to college. We always said he was a dumb jock: never very good at playing fetch or doing tricks, but he had some mad ups. He was the most loyal of dogs, and had a deep deep love for our Grandma, going on long walks with Mom, and getting beyond excited every time someone came home. He loved riding in the car, especially if he could stick his face out the window. And he had a deep passion for puppy cups at DQ (watching him eat them was hysterical). He was always your biggest fan when you came through the door, even if no one else was there to greet you or got up to say hello. He was just another quirky member of the family.
Dusty hated men he didn't know, and always barked when people hugged. He was so protective of me that he didn't like Aaron at first, but he warmed up to him pretty quickly. After we were married, Dusty came to stay at our house a few times when my parents were out of town. Last year on my birthday, we took him to Grinder's and then to the dog park. I'll always love the memory of Dust tumbling head over heels as he tripped while trying to sprint down the hill after a bigger dog on the other side of the fence. Always so fierce, and unaware that he actually weighed 7 pounds full grown. Our little fighter who kept at it until the very end.
Dusty's wild side showed through when he had a little fun with some blinds, peed on our comforter because he was scared of the dark, and attempted to run away when we left our garage open (but only because he was mostly deaf at this point and couldn't hear us calling his name). Despite all this, we loved the little guy who snuggled at our feet all night, snored, and jumped off of the bed in the morning, ready for the next adventure. He made you feel like you were his favorite, the person he couldn't wait to see. He kept you company at night when no one else was home, and waited in the window all day for you to return. He was the best puppy.
As the years passed by, we knew Dusty was getting older and that his time could be short. After all, we'd been more than blessed with this crazy pooch who had spent so many years sharing life with us and all of our friends. Life as we knew it had just always included him. In the end, things happened pretty quickly. He even went on a long walk just a few days ago. But by the time he was getting sick and went to the vet, they said almost everything in his body was failing. He'd been on IVs before and had made a comeback, so we were hopeful, but when my parents went back they said he was only getting worse. And so, we had to let him go.
It's going to be really hard and weird for a while, but we are thankful that he didn't have to suffer long, and we are even more thankful that we had so many wonderful years of loving the crazy, feisty, stinker of a puppy who filled our hearts with so much joy and laughter. We'd do it all again.
We'll miss you, Dust. Thanks for being the best dog we could ever ask for. We loved every minute.
Today, I'm linking up with Twinkly Tuesday, Link it To Me Link Party, and Turn it Up Tuesday.