Our very loved dog, Charlie, was badly injured tonight, while doing what he loved to do - chasing a ball in his own back yard. The vet says he exploded a disk in his mid back, which essentially paralysed his hindquarters. There was the option of surgery but no clear guarantee of success - not enough of a guaranteed to warrant Charlie being in pain and unable to walk.
Charlie was a happy accident in many ways. He was born on a farm north of Calgary, the result of a farm accident between dogs living on neighbouring farms. We found him at Petland in Westhills on a trip to buy cat food. Charlie made us love him the second he put his little snout under my chin when I picked him up at the pet shop 10 years ago.
Charlie loved all humans. He was, I think, convinced humans were there to serve him, service being throwing a ball. He never met a human he didn't like, given that there was always that ball tossing possibility.
Charlie logged many, many kilometres with me on my runs. We haven't calculated but he certainly ran hundreds of Kilometres as our intrepid and focused training partner.
Tonight was no different than any other night. Charlie blasted out the back door like a runner off the block, headed for the middle of the back yard hoping I'd toss his ball, which I did. Seconds later, he was on the ground, paralysed and screaming in pain due to an exploded disk in his mid-back.
There was a possibility of repair but that required serious surgery and many months recovery and physiotherapy. For a dog who was only still when he was asleep - and sleep was not a priority when the humans were awake - to be still and unable to run was not going to be an optimal situation. Nor was the reasonable possibility Charlie would not walk again, so we made the terrible, terrible decision to let him go.
He was just a dog. I know. But those of you who knew him will know that he was utterly unique; a dog who's major frustration was that he could not speak.
My heart is so broken tonight.