When I was 6 my family adopted Happy. He was a Labrador retriever and instantly became a part of our family. For the most part, Happy resided outside in a well to do in fenced area complete with housing, play area and all the food and water he could enjoy. Since he ran around so much with my brother and I, he didn’t have to worry about “getting too big” or any of the things which dogs seem to be diagnosed with these days.
Happy was thrilled on those occasions when he was allowed inside our home. My mom had a strict rule but even her “super clean animals don’t belong in the house” mantra would slip and Happy would be allowed to join us after a long bath (i.e. my brother or myself cleaned the dog with special shampoo, dried and brushed so that no hairs would get on her pristine floors and he was never allowed on the furniture).
He was, of course, so excited his tail would wag and though most of the time he was wildly happy, he managed to calm himself enough to be allowed in the kitchen on the linoleum and sometimes in the den for family movie night.
From the time we got him through our teen years he always was on the best of behavior in the house. Mom never had to worry about staining her floors. My brother was a whole different story!
However, when I was about 18 I moved into the finished part of the basement. I gave Happy regular baths and snuck him into my room most nights and let him sleep on my bed. He was old and he deserved to enjoy the finer things of indoor life like soft beds and air conditioning. I would always let him out early enough in the mornings that my parents were none the wiser.
One morning I noticed a spot on the floor. Being how I am, I dropped to the floor to “smell” it. Having a younger brother meant anything could be there! Unfortunately it was doggy pee. It seems that Happy wanted to go out earlier so I thought I could handle it.
That night, Happy came in for family dinner and movie night. While we were watching the movie we heard a sound like someone pouring water. It was quickly realized it was Happy behind the couch. He had never done this in all of our years. Mom was upset but we all knew something was up.
We took him to Dr. K our local vet and he confirmed our fears. Our sweet furry brother had cancer and it was not one we could treat.
Our family changed a lot. Mom made exceptions for him to be in the house, even with his accidents. I let them know he slept in my room and my bed and of course my brother wanted the same. Mom agreed.
Yes there were stains in the house and as time pass by we learnt how to remove pet stains and odor from the carpet. However we all learned how much family meant as he lived the last part of his life in our home. After all, family is family and you do anything for them.