Living is a gamble, loving’s much the same.
It’s with a heavy heart that I share the passing of our beloved beagle, Tank. I still can’t even believe it’s true. Last week he got sick and after being in the vet’s ICU for about 5 days, we had to put him down. Apparently he had a weak kidney to begin with, and a bacterial kidney infection simply took the life out of him.
As I read these sentences I think to myself “What! That’s impossible!” I am totally in denial. Tank had been staying with our family in Fullerton from Thanksgiving to Christmas, since we have been traveling back and forth so much. We would have brought him home with us next week at the end of our Christmas visit. Lucky we were also visiting last weekend, so we were there while he was sick and were able to say our goodbyes two days before he passed. I’m so thankful I was able to tell him that he was such a good boy and thank him for keeping me warm and apologize for calling him an a-hole so many times.
We only knew Tank for 5 years, but it feels like longer than that. He was born a few months before Josh and I got engaged and he was with us as we welcomed our first child into this world. a true Tank from the start. I fell in love with his grandpa face from the moment I saw him, and dutifully applied his eyeliner every morning for the last five+ years. (not really but that’s what I always told people.) He is the handsomest dog I’ve ever known! He moved with us from the suburbs to the city and taught me what responsibility really was. When we first moved here, he was still “in tact” and some people in our neighborhood started calling him the Regal Beagle because he still had his family jewels.
He was the best co-worker I’ve ever had and even got me jogging again these last few months. Our floors were impeccably clean, as he graciously ate any food we happened to drop. When someone new came to the door, he played the role of security guard and made sure our visitors were safe before they fully entered our apartment.
His crate has acted as our coffee table ever since we’ve lived here – it’s going to be weird to rearrange. His favorite chair, the bamboo one, is always available now and no one will have to fight him for it again. So unbelievable.
The day he died, I had to get out of the house, so I walked from Stanyan down to Broderick and back. At first I listened to Local Natives’s Hummingbird Album, specifically Black Spot and Heavy Feet. It fit my mood perfectly and helped me contemplate on what exactly was happening. Then I listened to Mississippi John Hurt’s Library of Congress Recordings, from 1964. Further Along, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Weeping and Waiting – I felt like they were all being sung by Tank himself.
His appointment was set for 4pm, and Josh met me in the panhandle at around 3:45. We walked in silence together, arm in arm, tears streaming down our faces. At 4pm, we were right near St. Ignatius Church (at USF), and we heard the bells chime on the hour. Then, gong, gong, gong, gong. 4pm. T-A-N-K. L-O-V-E. We wept.
We decided to tell Tilly that evening, but couldn’t bring our selves to do it. We decorated our Christmas tree and took turns leaving the room to cry. We barely got through. Jules Holland came on the TV, and one of the performers sang a cover of Simon and Garfunkle’s “Blues Run the Game.” I broke down – I felt like it was written just for us in that moment, as we were eating our delivery dinner and feeling cheated out of a friendship we had worked so hard for.
The next morning as we were getting ready for daycare, I told Tilly that Tank wasn’t coming back anymore, he had gone to Doggie Heaven. She said “Oh Wow! Cool!” I guess it does sound pretty cool. My friend Jackie said she’d rather go to Doggie Heaven than human heaven – me too.
And so it goes. I’ve been taking myself on walks twice a day, just like he would want me to. Our day to day life is easier without Tank but it’s colder and emptier too. But no matter how painful losing him may be, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Rest in peace old friend. Our souls will be reunited one day.