Because it was really cold Friday morning I fed the dogs some wet dog food and I gave them a sweet potato. Everyone runs in opposite directions when the sweet potatoes are handed out and everyone seemed happy and normal. A few minutes later Lucas walked into the living room and threw up and then a few minutes later he threw up again, but I thought he had just eaten too much or too fast. He didn’t seem to be sick other than that. I let them out and went to work. I got back home later in the day and was going to head to my girlfriend’s house but Lucas didn’t seem right. He was sluggish and he wasn’t loud and barky like he usually is when I get home. I decided to stay the night and go forth on Saturday morning. Lucas seemed a little droopy Friday night but I bundled him up and he was apparently okay. All during the night I woke up and petted his ears and Lucas seemed like he was coming out of whatever it was he was in.
I knew something was wrong Saturday morning. Lucas got off the bed and nearly fell. He wobbled like he was drunk. He made it outside and then sat down suddenly and then he just laid down. I had to coax him to his feet again. I pushed him up the steps and dragged him into the bedroom. Lucas didn’t move except to reposition himself so he could put his head on the shirt I wore the night before. My vet told me to bring Lucas to her house. I really didn’t know what was wrong but I didn’t think it was alarmingly serious, I mean, not like Lucas was going to just drop dead right then and there.
I put Lucas on a blanket and dragged him to the front door, out on the porch, and half carried him down the steps. He got up and walked to the truck and at that point it looked like he had started to improve. I got him into the truck and I kept telling him it would be okay, that we would have him back home in an hour or two, at worst. Lucas licked my hand and he rested.
About ten minutes out he tried to stand up, he turned around, and just like he did on our way back from Gainesville, where he had surgery for his cancer, Lucas put his head on the console, and I put my hand under his chin, just like I did on the way back from Gainesville. When I got to the vet’s house I looked down at Lucas and he was dead. I knew. I got him out of the truck and the vet came out and she tried CPR but I already knew. She kept telling me he wasn’t dead, Lucas wasn’t dead, but then she stopped and burst into tears. I knew he was gone. I sat on the cold concrete driveway and cried. Lucas was dead.
When I found out Lucas had cancer the first vet told me we were screwed; it was inoperable, Lucas would be dead in six months. I was in shock for a week and then I called my vet and told her we were going to fight it, that there had to be another answer, and I wasn’t giving up. I found a second opinion, I found a doctor who would do the operation, and Lucas went under the knife.
At this point, I would like to thank a lot of people. First and foremost, Jon, who runs a site called Bits and Pieces, put the word out that I had a sick dog and I needed help. The response was overwhelming. People, strangers, from all over the country and world, donated money to help fund Lucas’ operation. It was the difference between bankruptcy and keeping my house. The people who helped me in that time of need restored a lot of my faith in humanity. A little girl sent me five dollars. A friend in California who I knew damn well couldn’t afford it sent me fifty. I have friends now I met through that event in my life. But it didn’t matter if the money was there or not, I was going to save Lucas. I did. You did. We did. The outpouring of positive feelings and emotions left me in tears and speechless.
I shut down my computer and turned off my phone yesterday. When I woke up this morning there was one hundred and forty new emails. There were a dozen text messages. There were two new voicemails.
Lucas is dead. Not all of the good feelings and positive thoughts can change that. But what you have shown me is that people do care. People care about me and they cared for Lucas, my Loki Mutt, my Muttibeasti, the Dog of my Heart and the one creature on this earth who, in his last minute of life, sought my touch to ease him into to whatever lies beyond this world. That’s the real debt. That’s what I really owe here. One day, maybe, if I can, I’ll repay all that money, I still keep a list of who sent me what. But the real currency here is love, devotion, loyalty and a sense of family.
I owe all of you that for what you’ve done for me during this time. I can only say thank you.
But most of all here, is the story of a stray puppy found in the middle of a road on a Friday. He was the lost dog who brought people together in compassion and he brought love to me and mine. There it is right there. That’s what I want to repay more than anything else in my life. I want people to know that in saving a dog’s life sometime it becomes so very much more.
Please, if there are any gods or a god, if love, loyalty, undying devotion, and unconditional love mean anything in the Universe, please take my dog, Lucas, for he was made entirely of it. Forgive me my unwell mind and my unwell hands, for I tried to do my best with what I have been given. My heart is broken. My home and my soul left bereft of a gentle giant whose presence is still felt.
Lucas is dead.