Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Saying Good Bye

Attention!!: This is not a funny blog or have anything in it that will make you smile. Plain and simple this blog is about me putting down my much loved canine companion. Feel free to read but consider yourself warned.

Let me set the stage. Early winter probably around 1994. I was a chubby 14 year old kid. The cold air was making my breath visible during the early morning hours. Just before dawn I set out with my grand father with a deer rifle in hand. This would be the morning I killed my first deer. We had on all our gear and were in the deer stand when I saw the first one. I held my breath as two more came out. My grandfather was waiting on me to take the shot. I raised my rifle slowly. I put the cross hairs right on the spot my grandfather had told me. I waited and started squeezing the trigger. Then something happened. I brought the barrel of the rifle up about an inch and finished squeezing the trigger. The blast was defining. I remember the sound of me letting out all the air in my lungs. I remember watching my grandfather as he watched three perfect deer gallop out of sight. I also remember the thoughts running through my mind the seconds before the deer appeared. I had no use to kill them. I had no use for their meat or hide. Why would I kill this animal.
This year on Memorial Day I went back to that field. This time I had a different gun in my hand. This time it was substantially more difficult to pull the trigger. It wasn't for the meat or the hide but for a different reason I pulled the trigger. I was quite possibly the hardest thing I ever did. I had to put my loyal and friendly dog Stella down.
I wish I could say that it was because she was old and just not able to enjoy life any more, but that wasn't the case. Stella was a beautiful pure bred American Pit Bull Terrier. She was trained and socialized at an early age. She never showed any signs of aggression. My wife and I got her right before my 28th birthday. She was our baby. We loved her and took her everywhere. We took her with us when we moved to the farm where she loved it. She could run around all day and ride all over in the back of my truck. She had her puppies at the farm. This was her home. When we moved into the city. It was difficult for her to adjust. There were new dogs that she was introduced to and socialized with. One in particular to whom she was very submissive. But one day this Alpha male dog came into our yard while Lezlie was pushing Jasper in the swing. Stella felt the need to protect Lezlie and Jasper from that dog. There was a horrible fight between Stella and this dog. Stella was victorious. She had thoroughly defeated the Alpha Male. I wish I could say that her fighting days were over. Now having a taste for blood (literally) Stella began to fight the other dogs in the neighborhood and also began to growl at the neighbors. All the while letting little Jasper crawl all over her when we brought them together. She never made a whimper when Jasper would pull all of her hair out. But when she was outside with other dogs she was a different animal.
On this Memorial day the same dog came back into the yard. The fight was horrible. Stella was the aggressor this time and there were many other dogs with her all against this dog. I ran to the bed room and retrieved my hand gun. I fired two shots into the ground which dispersed the other dogs leaving just Stella, un-phased. She fought with such ferocity. Thats when the thought of little Jasper ran to my mind. What if he were out here during this just wanting to play with his Stella. If a gun shot didn't phase her how could a little boy's cry? It was at this moment my mind was made up. I finally got her away from that dog. We rode in my truck for the last time. I took her to the same field where 16 years ago my grandfather wanted me to kill. I did just that. I do miss her tremendously. But that vision I had of my beautiful little boy wobbling toward his Stella while she was in a fight. I hope to keep that just a vision.


  1. Okay, this one made me cry and I always say that making them laugh is good but making them cry is better.
    Nigel, you are not only clever, I think you have a real gift here.
    Please don't stop writing.

  2. Thanks. Now if only I could understand this punctuation stuff.

  3. Still really proud of you for doing what you felt was best for your family. Anytime you want someone to ride along though buddy, I'm there.