Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum

Our home is a bit quieter tonight. For the first time in 15 years there isn’t a Yorkie living here.
Her final day was a tough day made only easier by the great folks at the Ely Vet Clinic. We knew this day would come but it arrived quicker than we thought.
None of that was on our minds 15 years ago when we drove to Rochester to look at purchasing a Yorkie puppy. Megan had picked her out and we took her to a vet there on a Saturday afternoon.
The vet was honest and said there was a chance this wasn’t a purebred but at the same time there weren’t any red flags on the puppy’s health. This made Megan a happy camper and we brought Morgan home.
For the next 15 years there were times I wondered who was the owner and who was the pet. Morgan did what she wanted when she wanted. Independent to a fault, she seemed to relish the times I would take an empty garbage bag and head for the back door.
For the next hour or so, I would be outside with Morgan, walking around with a shovel to pick up what she had deposited in the back yard. I don’t know what a dog thinks, but I always thought Morgan enjoyed me picked up after her a little too much.
Morgan loved squeaky mini tennis balls and would dig out presents from under the Christmas tree if they contained her favorite play toy. She would use her teeth to tear the present open on Christmas morning.
She loved following a laser light around the living room and would beg to keep the game going.
As the years went on Morgan started to slow down. The last time I took her out to the shack she loved the trip but fell ill afterward. The vet said she had the initial symptoms of Lyme disease and prescribed medications. Morgan seemed to be on the way out but with the meds she bounced back in a day. She was small, but tough.
She’d try over and over again to jump up on our couch. The muscles were atrophying but she kept trying. There were mornings where we found she couldn’t wait to go outside. But yet, she seemed able to continue on.
So when she stopped eating on Monday we thought she would again find a way to return to her normal self. By Wednesday she was fighting a hacking cough and had trouble walking on wooden floors. She was shaking more often than not, even when sitting by a window in the sun.
We decided to bring her in and Dr. Chip Hanson met us at his clinic and brought Morgan in to have a look. He wasn’t gone long and came back out with the news we expected. It was time to end her suffering.
As a community we’re extremely fortunate to have the Ely Vet Clinic. This isn’t the first dog Chip has put down for us and yet he treated us as if we’d never done this before. He explained our options and said we were passed the point of no return. Morgan wasn’t going to get better and her suffering would get worse, not better.
We said we’d take her home and set up an appointment the next day to give the kids a chance to say goodbye.
“You don’t need to make an appointment, just bring her in when you’re ready,” said Chip.
Mary, Megan, Evan and I piled into the car Thursday afternoon. Mary was holding Morgan, who normally would be bouncing off the windows. Instead Morgan didn’t move, too weak to try to put her nose out the window.
Chip met us at the door and said he’d be right in. We gathered in a room and took turns giving Morgan some final scratches behind the ears. Chip came in, went over Morgan’s current state and explained what was about to happen.
I can’t imagine how many times Chip has done this over the years. But Chip took the time to do it right, offering comfort and keeping us at ease. His first move was to bring in a new box of Kleenex.
Morgan passed quietly and peacefully. Chip wrapped her in a blanket and we headed for the car. Each of us thanked Chip for his compassion. He made a most difficult time easier. We couldn’t thank him enough.
It’s still quiet at our house but when Evan and Nella’s dog Hank or Megan’s golden retrievers Maverick and Millie come over we’ve got plenty of chances for our dog fix.
I don’t think we’ll be getting another Yorkie. But then again, I never thought 16 years ago that we would have one for so long.