Sunday, May 29, 2005

A Reason for the Break

For the first time since I started this blog, I took a few days off. I didn't respond to most of the emails I received this week and I stayed clear of things that would remind me of what I was trying to not think about.

On Tuesday morning, my mom had to take Taco, our family pet of 18 years, to the vet to be put to sleep. The loss of Taco hit me much harder than the loss of any family member. Maybe it is because Taco was there, every day, for 18 years. We brought him home when he was only 6 weeks old and loved him every moment.

In the recent months, Taco has been moving slower. He was still fine, in no pain, but he was getting old. His eyesight was getting progressively worse and yet his appetite was getting stronger (believe me, he liked to eat. He got thought a finger was food and would grab on and not let go!) Mom took care of him. She made a ramp so that he could get onto the bed without jumping. All of the pets at the house use it now (this is good for Chip too, he is getting a little arthritis in some joints).

The thought of losing Taco has always haunted me. There was nothing else that could cause me to be sad instantly as that thought of losing my "brother".

We brought Taco home in May of 1987. I was 8 years old at the time. During the summer, I would stay home and play with Taco. We'd go for walks in the woods right behind our home. Taco and I would run around, chasing each other and I would laugh. He'd come up to me and curl up in my lap and press his head into my chest, giving me hugs.

Taco loved to fight. When he was little, we would fight with him left-handed. Then he got stronger and faster. Then we'd each take turns fighting him with our right hands. We eventually bought gloves made out of deer skin and leather to let him bite and get aggression out without losing our fingers!

Taco's mother did not like her puppies. She didn't spend much time with her babies and Taco needed comfort. He found it in our family. Daddy would scratch his ears and found that little spot on Taco's chest that he adored being scratched. Mommy would hold him and pet him. We also discovered that Taco liked to suck on stuffed animals. He didn't chew them, he more kneaded them. We would buy him a "Teddy" every year for Christmas. Mom found the last Teddy this week. It was heartbreaking to see.

Mom made a promise to Taco. She told him, the last night she had him next to her in bed, "I will never let you go. I will hold you." She kept her promise to him. When she brought him to the vet, she held him and let him know his Mommy loves him so very much. She brought Chip to the vet with her and let Chip say goodbye to him. We think it helped Chip. Chip loves Taco so much and always adored him. Taco was Chip's big brother, the one who taught him how to play, how to watch the house, how to go "outside". Chip followed Taco around his entire life.

If Taco was out of reach of Chip, Chip would cry and cry. We tried to take Taco to the vet a couple of times without Chip. All he did was sit at the front door and howl. With Mom taking Chip with her to the vet this last time, he was able to see that Taco wouldn't be coming home.

I uploaded more pictures to Flickr. Please, if you would like to know what the joy of my family looked like and how special Taco will always be, check them out here. I will leave you with a few pictures in this post.

Taco and Chip 077

Taco and Chip 074
(This is when Taco met Chewy, my aunt's dog. Taco thought Chewy was Godzilla.)

Taco and Chip 068

Taco Bell

Taco and Chip 053
(Taco would pull Chip around when Chip was very little.)

Taco and Chip 007

Taco and Chip 004