Gabriel has often called Theodore 5 Star. It's short for his ranking as a 5 Star General in Gabriel's little army. When I brought Theodore home from being lost, last Thursday, Gabriel shouted "The General is home!"
He finally had to go and be put down today.
This weekend we have had to sadly witness his fast decline. Saturday morning he struggled with the stairs and fell half of the way down. Since then he has been pacing the hallway until so completely exhausted that his legs would collapse beneath him.
Last night after such an episode I got him to lie down and he let me pet him to sleep. I stayed with him because he kept trying to get up to return to pacing the halls. We told the boys he would be put down the next day.
Gabriel sat with me awhile, gently petting Theodore and softly crying.
"I always wanted a dog," he said, "I just did not know that I wouldn't want any other dog but this one."
I kissed my son's head as he continued.
"I'll have to tell the other soldiers once he dies."
"You can do that," I said.
"And we will bury him in our backyard here but I also want a grave at our house in Texas where Papa and Gaga live now."
"We can do that too."
"It's just that we never had a birthday party for him! Can we make some cupcakes that look like him to celebrate that he is in a better place?"
I agreed. Oh my.
Drew came to love on Thee a bit too. He pet him softly and shuddered a little sigh.
When we went to bed Gabriel prayed that Theodore would die in his sleep.
"And please God, give me the strength and courage to live with out him." I pretty much lost it at that one. I cried a bit with Gabriel and kissed his sweet head again.
Early this a.m. Aaron and I could hear Theodore doing his Crazy Laps again. It was about 2 a.m! We decided he was going to have to be tested for rabies. He does not have any bite wounds but his behavior matches the symptoms. He has also bitten everyone but Gabriel and so we need to be sure.
When I got up, Theodore was still up doing his laps. He was shaking a little and so I thought he might be cold. I put a little blanket over him. He kept walking. It was kind of a funny spectacle and sad at the same time.
I called a vet and made his appointment. Aaron was to come home and take him so that I could stay home with the boys. Before Aaron got home Theo seemed to get worse. I made the boys play in the basement because I did not want them to see Theodore stumbling and falling about. I tried to get him to lie down but he would not let me touch him. One time I barely pet his ear and he cried out like I had hurt him! That was the worst part. I hated that the boys could not hug him or pet him to say their goodbyes. He was getting really bad just before Aaron got here. I thought Old Theefee was going to save us a $150 and go on his own. He hung in there though, continuing his march.
I thought it would be hard to get him in the crate but all we had to do was place the crate in his path and he walked right in. The boys each came and told him goodbye. Drew hugged the crate and said he would see Theodore again in heaven. Aaron tried to leave as fast as he could. I could tell the whole thing was tearing him up.
After they left I made the boys lunch. Drew lost his appetite half way through his sandwich and went to cry in his room. I tried to go in and comfort him but he asked to be left alone. So I closed the door and heard him weeping and telling God that it was going to be so, so long until he dies and finally gets to see Theodore. He eventually came out and cried in my arms on the couch. He eventually stopped and wiped his eyes. He looked out the window and noticed several dead flies in the pane of the window.
"Mom, can I clean this out?" Armed with a vaccumm hose, windex and paper towels, Drew learned about the therapy cleaning can bring! He kept saying "this is almost better then petting Theodore!" Umm...whatever makes you feel better bud.
Gabriel has retreated to the basement to play his PSP. I keep checking in on him and he said that he had promised Theodore that he wouldn't cry when he died.
"Baby, it's ok to cry about it."
"If I cry it will make me a liar."
And so we are all coping in our own way. I usually have a delayed response to a loss. Right now I'm more concerned for my children then anything. It's nice to not hear that constant click, click, clicking of his claws on the wood floors as he paced the hall.
Aaron called to let me know that the vet will be sending him off to be tested for rabies. He said Theodore cried the whole way to the vet but stopped once they got there. Aaron did not stay while they put him down.
"Are you ok?" I asked him.
"I'll be alright."
And so we will. I'm glad that Theodore was loved so much all the way to the end. I love that he went out for one more final adventure be for his departure. He was a brave little soldier and now at last the General is home.