It was just over 12 years ago, I wandered the kennels at the Humane Society and pondered which dog would be the best asset for our family. I had been sent with the monumental task of choosing the dog we would be presenting to my sister that afternoon.
We had never had a dog as kids. We tried, many times, to incorporate numerous strays into our household, but they never stuck. Now I was being sent out with the express purpose of choosing a dog. A real dog. One who would be in our home forever.
I had a few guidelines given to me by my mother. The dog had to be on the smaller side - nothing too big. Nothing that shed too much. Nothing that chewed too much. Nothing too barky. I wandered the aisles between the kennels and looked for our dog.
There were only a few that fit the "smaller side" guideline. I stood and pondered. I crouched and petted. I saw one dog who looked like he would fit the bill. He wasn't too noisy and he looked pretty cute. I asked to see him up close and they agreed to bring him out to me. As he was coming down the hallway to see me, another dog tore around the corner toward him. He leaped into the arms of the staff person as the dog passed. He was a little timid and a little shy. I knew he would fit right in. I took him with me then and we went to the high school to pick up and introduce him to an unsuspecting Ky.
Davy Starr was named a short time later and spent the next years keeping Ky company and terrorizing my mother's furniture. He ate every shoe, every table leg, every piece of food he could get his paws on. He would play fierce games of tug of war and could hold a grudge longer than any dog I've ever met.
The first few weeks, Davy peed on my bed every day. If I ever left the room without closing the door, he would scurry in there and -- starting at the foot of the bed -- run up to my pillow and back while peeing. I didn't think that giving him to Ky had been that bad.
Over the years, Davy settled down a bit. He went from chewing the table legs to chewing his own foot. He went from eating shoes to eating mostly red licorice. Ky moved up to work in North Battleford and Davy met Grandma. Grandma had an entire cupboard of treats that were reserved only for Davy. Red Licorice and dog treats.
It was no surprise to us that, when Ky moved on, Davy stayed put. He had found another kindred soul in Grandma. He had found another human who desperately needed his love and attention. He's been with Grandma for over 6 years now. But during that time, he's become a very old dog.
Davy had back problems from close to the beginning. His spine was so long, it could hardly support his weight. And that was before the red licorice. After that, it was only a matter of time. As years crept by, Davy's back legs became more and more useless.
Davy's spine was not transferring the messages his brain was sending to his legs. He had a hard time climbing stairs or walking any great length. On bad days, Davy had to be helped up and down the stairs. For an almost 90 year old woman, this is a potentially dangerous problem. The steep steps to her apartment did not help either.
We had a problem facing us that had no good solution. Davy was Grandma's companion -- her best friend, her confidant, her comfort. However, Davy was getting worse and worse. He had good days, sure, but on the bad ones he needed more care than Grandma could safely give.
Today, we took Davy to the vet for the last time.