July 2, 2018

Tucker: 2006ish-2018

Not horse related, but, we put Tucker to sleep last Friday, and I'm going to deal with it by writing this post, which you are welcome to skip over if you want.  Or you can scroll through and look at Husky pictures.  Or you can actually read it.  Your call.

Young Tucker on my parents' farm

He was probably 12 or 13, but being a rescue with tons of broken teeth from countless escape attempts before we got him, it's just a guess.  He was our baby, really Nick's dog, that we'd had since  before we were married or even living together.  

Nick brought him home from an Australian Cattle Dog Rescue in 2010.  They had him because he was in a kill shelter in Kentucky with one day left before he was going to be put down.  The ACD rescue people were there picking up an ACD in the pen next to him, and they fell in love with his blue eyes and decided to save him.  He was ugly - 10lbs underweight, wormy, and at the height of coat blowing season.  We didn't see a picture of him before we met him, just a text ad on Petfinder.

June 2018

For the past few years he'd go downhill, plateau for several months, go downhill again, plateau again.  He's been dealing with cataracts and arthritis for a couple of years, and in the last six months he'd also gone mostly deaf.

With my sister and my mom's dog

He had a really bad downhill a few months ago in March, after our friend and roommate Mark moved out.  The two of them were best buds, and Tucker stopped eating for a week after he left - even cheese.  We took him to the vet and they did every senior diagnostic on the planet and found nothing physically wrong with him.  He resumed eating a couple of days later - and left me firmly convinced he was mourning Mark.

Best buds on their routine walk to the coffee shop downtown, where they'd share a scone while Mark drank coffee.

After that, it was a plateau until recently.  In the past month, I noticed him breathing a lot harder than usual.  He also was falling more regularly, and he couldn't always get back up due to how weak his hind end had become. 

For a dog as stubborn and independent as this one, it was terrifying for him to be in situations where he was down and couldn't get his feet underneath him.  He also started pooping on himself where he laid, sometimes out of fear/being stuck and sometimes out of just not wanting to get up, or not realizing he was pooping.

Way before arthritis set in!

Even with all that, I wrestled with putting him down, because it wasn't the absolute end.  But he's not one I could let get to that point.  He's always been his own man, more of a roommate than a pet, and I could see the less independent he got the more he lost his love of life.

Hated. Cuddling. Passionately.

Finally, two Fridays ago, he fell into one of the window wells in the backyard and I found him there, terrified and helpless.  Nick and I had to hoist him out with two lead ropes around his stomach, and although he wasn't hurt, we decided that night that it was time, before he truly hurt himself and we had to put him down in extreme pain.
I had to wait on Nick to come home and help me get him out since 110lb me couldn't get 75lb Tucker out of that hole alone.  Otherwise I wouldn't have taken this picture, but at the moment I took it, there was nothing I could do for him.

For the next week, we gave him all the cheese and hamburger he could eat.  I didn't tell very many people but I did tell his pet sitters, both of whom came to say goodbye.

In his happy place.  His personality totally changed anytime we had more than 3" on the ground.

When we went to the vet, I brought Bitsy with and sat with her in the waiting room while Nick went in with Tucker.  I wrestled with that decision too, but given their unique relationship, in the end I decided it was important.

For the past few years, Bitsy was completely devoted to taking care of Tucker, even though he seemed pretty indifferent to her.  She would always come get us and alert us until we got up and followed her when he was stuck (just like Lassie!), and she would search the whole house for him after coming back from solo trips without him.  I didn't want her to see him put down and be afraid of the vet, but I felt it was important to give her some closure.

Out to dinner downtown

The vet told Nick we made the right decision to put him down.  That heavy breathing I noticed was the beginning of his diaphragm failing, and he didn't have much time left.  He went quietly, and afterward I brought Bitsy in.  She sniffed his leg, walked around him, sniffed his face, and then came over to me and stood behind my legs, like "Okay, I get it, let's go."  When we got her home 20 minutes later, it was the first time in her life she didn't search the house for Tucker.

We made him cuddle anyway.  Every once in a while.

Tucker was a giant pain in the butt his whole life.  Destroyed two doors, a dog crate, a window, a few shoes (including my wedding shoes), escaped any real or perceived confinement like it was his job, and was never 100% housebroken.  He didn't like being petted, hated being brushed, and preferred that you would please meet his basic needs and then leave him alone, thank you.  He's still the only dog I've ever seen flip me off with body language that couldn't have been clearer if he'd yelled "F*** YOU!" across the room.

Dog and his handiwork

But that said, you could tell he loved us in his own way.  He always got excited when we came home and panicked when we left.  Life won't be the same without him, but I'm so grateful for the 8 years we had with him.

My husband used to say that this was going to be his campaign picture someday.

Rest in peace, our sad flat fluffy thing, our big fuzzy, our Tucker truck.  You were the worst pet but the best dog.


  1. I'm so sorry. It's such an agonizing decision to decide when it's "time", but it's the kindest gift we can give our pets. My heart is sad for your family, and for Bitsy.

  2. I'm ugly crying for you Jen. Even when it's time, and we know we're doing the right thing, it's still so damn hard. What a great life he was able to live with you guys ❤️

  3. I am so sorry to read about Tucker. He sounds easy to love even despite his naughty moments. You did the right thing by him right until the end. Hugs to you. <3

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss. I think he had the best possible life with you guys, and you did right by his spirit until the end.

  5. I'm so sorry. It sounds like he had a great life though.

  6. sorry for your loss but you were the best parents to him. I have a rescue (Gretchen) who was a throwaway and the rescue she landed at pulled so many teeth we have no idea how old she is. She is okay but every once in while she limps or seems a bit like she has dementia. And then she has cancer on her side most probably. But she will continue the good life until she is not having a good life and we will make the same decision. It truly is the best thing we can do for our babies.....when they aren't happy anymore....

    Hugs to you and everyone who knew Tucker. He sounds like a really great family member!

  7. I'm sending you so much love.

  8. Sometimes doing the right thing is really hard. (((hugs)))

  9. I'm so sorry. It is beyond heartbreaking to let a pupper go, even when you know it's time. I don't know how you decide when it's time, but after watching several of my mom's dogs, I've decided it's better a day early than a day too late. You know? *hugs*

  10. Losing them is so hard, all the hugs and empathetic tears. You guys made the right decision and you gave him a wonderful life.

  11. Sending love, I am so sorry for your loss.

  12. He was so lucky to have you guys, especially in that moment. Sending lots of virtual hugs your way.

  13. So sorry Jen, he sounds like an amazing dog. That is such a tough decision to have to make. Sending virtual hugs

  14. I'm so so sorry. This is always the toughest and worst part about having animals in our lives. He sounds like the perfect Husky. A dose of naughty mixed in with a lovely personality.

  15. HUgs to you Jen - so sorry for this loss in your family!

  16. SO many hugs. He was such a cool dog. Lucky to have landed with you guys. Rest in peace #worstpetever

  17. I am so sorry for your loss. They are never here long enough.

  18. I love that first photo of him. Running free and happy. That was so him. Life has to be so different without him. ❤️

    1. Thank you <3 There's a whole series of great pictures of him flat out running from that day that I'd forgotten about til I wrote this post. He didn't get to do that enough, that's for sure.

  19. I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like he was lucky to have found you guys and it sounds like you made the right choice for him in the end too.

  20. I'm very sorry for your loss. It's never easy letting any pet go, and there are definitely those that hit harder than others. Tucker's larger than life personality will probably mean a hole in your household for quite some time, but it's always better to have those specials pets in our lives than to have lived without them. <3

  21. So very sorry Jen. "The worst pet but the best dog" - how I feel about my guy. I'm so glad Bitsy got closure - they need it too.