Rage was my first puppy dog.
Rage was a puppy from Snickers (a chocolate male lab) and Jewel (a black female lab) and she was the runt. She was born on July 1, 2003 and I knew right away which one I wanted, she was the smallest one of the litter and she was full of energy, but incredibly sweet, even as a puppy. I took her home with me in early August and that first night with her, I remember sleeping on my parents tile floor with her. It was her first night away from her siblings and her crying tugged at my heart strings. I always thought the strangest thing about her was that she could drink a ton of water and drank water all of the time. Eventually, this ended up being one of her defects that explained her downfall, but more on that later.
My Mom lovingly looked after her during the day, until I could get home from work, and if my Mom had to work she stayed in her cage until she was big enough to stay outside. Once she was bigger whenever I would come home, the first thing that I would do is let her out of the gate and she would literally race around the yard one time and then come to a screaming halt once she got within two yards of me.
I cannot count the numerous nights that I would come home early because I knew that Rage needed companionship and I needed hers. I have always been more sympathetic towards my dogs than a normal person. The nights that I would stay home, Rage and I would stay in the little house and she would lay right next to me as I would lay on the couch. She was always content to simply be with me and that was an incredibly comforting feeling.
Things seemed to be clicking along and I brought Rage with me whenever I could when I would work on the house during the weekend. Once my wife and I got married we were one big happy family with Zoey, Olive and Rage.
About a month or so after we got back from our honeymoon I started to notice that Rage’s tongue was not as red as it usually was and she seemed very lackluster. I took her to the vet a couple of times and he couldn’t really figure out what was wrong with her. After a couple of weeks it became incredibly apparent that she was not well and I told the vet that she needed help and I didn’t know what to do. The vet ran IV’s in her twenty-four/seven and one day there was a glimmer of hope when she seemed to be getting better. The vet said that it appeared that her kidneys were starting to fail her. He recommended that I take her to College Station because they have the best in the business. I let my boss know that this was something that I needed to do and if I could save her life then I had to do it. We drove to College Station, she was incredibly weak and could barely stand-up. She was emaciated and I’m sure that every other dog owner thought I was mistreating my dog by not feeding her. I cannot tell you how many times I cried that day as I drove her there. On my arrival in College Station and after the visit with the vet there, he basically told me that she had little time to live. Her kidneys were disfigured and were never formed completely. Most likely because she was the runt. This is why she drank water all of the time, to compensate for the kidneys that were failing her. I cried more on the way home. I stopped at a gas station to let her go to the bathroom and the clerk asked me what I was doing with my dog and I explained to her that I was trying to save her life, but I could not. I broke down right there on the counter, my head in my hands trying to stop the sobbing but I couldn’t.
That night I knew that I had to put her to sleep the next day. Miranda and I moved the spare bed onto the floor and she and I slept together much like we did that first night, except this time I knew that there would never be another opportunity to be with her again. The next morning I took her for a drive. She stuck her head out of the window like she always did and then I took her to the vet to put her to sleep.
I had never cried in front of my wife before, but for two or three straight days I cried uncontrollably.
In fact, as I sit here tonight writing this post I cry about how much I loved her and how much I miss her.
She was my Puppy Dog Rage.