Goodbye Tucker

Today is a hard day.  My wife and I had to put our dog down after just six short years of life.  Tucker ate something he shouldn’t have and it blocked up his intestines.  The surgery needed to save his life was unable to be performed because of a complication with a disease that Tucker was living with.  Here are the lessons I learned from Tucker.

1)  The importance of being present.  In just the few short hours that he has been gone I have begun to realize how empty our house now is.  It was very hard when our children left the nest but they were only doing what we raised them to do.  Tucker remained home and gave the house life.  His presence was more important than I knew.  Being present in people’s lives is more important than you know.  It may be more important to the people’s lives you are present in than they even know.  Never believe that it does not matter whether you are there or not.  It always matters.

2)  Cheerful greetings are life giving.  Now I know why the Bible encourages us to greet each other with a holy kiss.  It is so important that when you arrive in any place that people are excited and grateful that you have come.  It affirms your life and that your presence is needed and appreciated. Tucker always greeted my wife as if she was the most important person in his life (she was).  Me, he greeted me most of the time but he was way more subdued.  That was because of what I taught him.  No jumping, relax, and a quick hello was what I taught him.  I taught him to be tepid towards me.  Don’t teach others to greet you tepidly.  Enjoy the reunion of being with those you care about.  Even if you were only gone at work.

3)  Chasing a ball is pure joy.  24-7.  Tucker would chase his ball incessantly.  Each time you threw it, it was as if it was the first time he ever had the pleasure of chasing a ball.  It gave him great joy to play with you.  What I always found humorous was when another dog would come over and Tucker would bring them the ball and push it toward them.  He expected them to throw the ball and play with him. Tucker was born to chase a ball.  It was what he was created to do.  God has given me new life and has created me to bring him glory.  I get so caught up in the messes of life that I forget that doing what God has created me to do is pure joy.  It does not matter if it is the first time I am doing it or if I have been doing it for years.  To run after that ball is pure joy.  Always abounding in the work of the Lord.

4)  He taught me that giving to others gets me out of myself.  I suppose I should more accurately say that the Word of God is what has taught me this truth but Tucker was a living example of it to me every day.  Each day, several times a day, numerous times each day, Tucker would come to where I was and poke me with his nose or place his head on the arm of my chair and wait until I would pet him. When I was tired of petting him, he would go to Nancy, and then come back to me.  It could be annoying.  I used to chide him about not doing much for us and yet he demanded so much attention. But, when I gave in and petted him, I found that giving to him got me out of my head, out of myself and improved my mood drastically.  Giving to others, especially when we are making life about ourselves, is an important tool to help us deal with our emotions.  It is a gift from God.  I will miss Tucker’s demands.

5) Lastly, in his death he reminded me the value of life.  I loved Tucker, a great deal, but he was a dog.  For the past several days, the discussions we have had centered around two things: 1) What was best for Tucker and seeking a way to help him 2) Money.  In the end we found that we are willing to spend way more than we ever thought we would but it was not a blank check.  Tucker was a part of our family, Tucker was a great companion, but he was not one of my children.  He was a pet and how much things cost were part of the discussion.  I thank the Lord that money was not really part of the final decision but it was part of every discussion.  That would not have been the case if it was one of my children or a fellow human being.  All life is valuable but I was reminded of the truth that human life has more intrinsic value.

I know that you did not know Tucker.  I know that death is part of life lived under the curse.  But it is a sad day and it helps me to write and think.  Thanks for listening and I thank the Lord for Tucker’s brief time with us.

No Comments