Today was one of the hardest days of my life.  Literally seconds after posting my last update on Oso, I received a voicemail from my mom…through her tears, all I heard was “call me as soon as you get this.”  She didn’t answer when I called so I decided to call my dad.  All I heard him say was “Oso isn’t going to make it…call your mom.”  I quickly raced to my car and started driving to the hospital.  It was at that moment that I knew what I needed to do.  I didn’t think twice about it.  My parents were out of town and Oso was in pain.  I started to head towards the hospital when my mom suggested that Danita go with me to help ease the pain.  It’s funny how the world works…it wasn’t three weeks ago when Neil and I had the discussion about when (Heaven forbid) we would have to put Kindie and Raikkon down.  I quickly told him that I would never be the one to take them to the hospital…well today that’s changed.  After picking up Danita, we headed north to the Veterinary Specialty Center of Indiana to see my big Oso one more time.  While we were saying goodbye, Danita and I exchanged some ever-famous Oso-isms and other moments we remember of him…here are some of my favorites:

  • When it snows, he gets really lazy and he’ll just pee on the porch…personally I think he enjoys it, but that’s always been an Oso-ism, and Mom’s always gotten on him about it!!
  • It doesn’t matter if it’s snowing, raining, or the sun is high in the sky, when Oso is outside, he’s always sitting on the bench on the porch – his chest puffed out – guarding our house…and barking at every car that drives by.  That was Oso, our big protector.
  • When we first got Oso – against my parents advice – I chose to let him sleep with me the first night.  I was awakened half way through the night to him peeing on my bed…after that he slept in a cage until he was older – when he moved into Mom and Dad’s room.
  • Oso was always like a big cuddly teddy bear – hence the name – if he was laying on the floor, I could just cuddle up to him or lay my head right on him and he wouldn’t mind.  He loved his family and he’d do anything for them.
  • And finally, here’s one from Danita: Zoe isn’t going to know what to do without you, Buddy…she’s not going to have anyone to run up and down the fence with anymore!  You kept her so entertained – and it was because of you that the Castor’s have precious Zoe at all.

It’s hard to say that Oso is gone, but I am so honored to have done one last thing for him by being with him as he went.  I know it killed my parents to have to ask their youngest daughter – and biggest animal lover – to be with Oso as he passed, but I know it killed my parents even more to think of Oso going alone with no one there to comfort him and tell him it was going to be okay.

When we got to the hospital and Oso saw me, he relaxed – and for the first time since I had been going to visit him this past week, he kissed me when I asked him to.  He knew it was time.  And Neil said it best, Oso doesn’t know what pain is, he doesn’t know why he’s hurting, he just knows that he is.  Somewhere along the line, little Jilly got it in her head that Oso was coming home today.  Well, Jilly, he went home to his real home today, where God can take care of him.  I assure you he went peacefully and I promise he’s up in Heaven now – with Grandma and Grandpa Arnold, Aunt Faye, and Great-Grandma Arnold…not to mention Pacer, Pumpkin, and Pebbles.  I know he’s not in pain anymore and I know we did the right thing.  The doctor told me that we were doing the responsible thing and I believe him…I just wished he could’ve looked a little more pitiful when I was saying goodbye, but I guess that was to be expected of our protector, Oso.  He wasn’t going to show me he was weak – he was going to guard me and protect me…all the way to the end, I just can’t believe the end had to be so soon.  And so I leave you with this…

If it should be that I grow frail and weak, and pain should keep me from my sleep, then you must do what must be done, for we know this last battle can’t be won.

You will be sad, I understand, but don’t let grief then stay your hand, for this day, more than the rest, your love and friendship must stand the test.

We’ve had so many happy years, what is to come can hold no fears.  Would you want me to suffer?  So, when the time comes, please let me go.

Take me where my needs they’ll tend, only stay with me until the end, and hold me firm and speak to me, until my eyes no longer see.

It is a kindness that you do to me, although my tail it’s last has waived, from pain and suffering I have been saved.

Do not grieve, it should be you, who must decide this thing to do.  We’ve been so close, we two these years, don’t let your heart hold any tears.

I’ll see you again soon, Oso…and I know when God decides it’s my time, that you’ll be waiting at the Pearly Gates, ears perked and tail wagging – and it’ll be like nothing ever changed at all.  There’s so much I want to tell you, but for now I’ll leave you with this: I love you more than you’ll ever know, Oso.  You were the most amazing dog a family could ask for – you will always be our Big Protector from Heaven.