We decided to adopt a dog from the Humane Society, and he went with me to pick one out. I was drawn to the little lab mixes, but he was quickly sold on Hunter. Hunter was a little, quiet strawberry blond mutt who kept towards the back of his little cage. He was sweet and calm, and his personality seemed to match that of my high school love. My dear friend April and I went back to pick Hunter up the next week, and we laughed recently about the fact that they let this puppy go with two 17 year old girls. I really can't remember if my parents signed off on the adoption. But $55 later, he was ours.
And then, for a few weeks, he lived with Derek. But after a few accidents in the house, he was returned to the Davis family. And thank goodness he was. He became a wonderful friend, and won the hearts of a cat family. He loved french fries (who doesn't?) and served as the chief cat herder and disciplinarian. He happily rode with my dad to get breakfast on Saturday mornings and got his own biscuit. He loved house guests, even if they didn't particularly love him, and begged for their attention by sitting on their feet. He was always on the portly side due to all the french fries and chicken biscuits (ahem, Dad) but was never self-conscious in the least. Most of his life he wore a orange Clemson orange palmetto tree collar, and he got very disturbed if you took it off. He had an emotional sixth sense and paid us extra attention if we were sad or hurting.
For the past 13 years, he was as much a part of the family as any of us were. In fact, he was much cheaper than me and my brothers and never talked back to my parents, so he may have very well been the favorite child. And yesterday morning, my poor parents had to make the difficult decision to put him down.
Hunter was hit by a car on Thursday, which left him with a broken tailbone. He did ok at the vet while on IV meds, but when my parents took him home Friday night, it was obvious he was in a great deal of pain and wasn't getting better. They couldn't bear to see him hurt anymore and went back to the vet early Saturday morning. He passed away painlessly with both of them beside him.
I haven't been able to talk to either of them yet without our conversation ending in tears. Hunter and my dad were incredibly close, and Hunter kept him company this summer after he had his knee replaced. It hurts my heart especially to think how much my dad is missing him.
My dad has two brothers, and both of their sweet dogs, Scruffy and Coffee, have both passed away in the past month and a half. They also were older dogs and much loved by their families. I think we all started thinking that Hunter might not have much time left with us when we heard about the others, but we certainly didn't think it would be this soon. It has been a hard, hard thing to experience.
Hunter, you were much loved and the best dog a family could ask for. We will miss you old friend.
Hunter and Jackson, at my parent's house during a visit from Kim and Jackson in fall 2009- Hunter loved having Jackson down on his level
Hunter was being a little camera shy- with Jeff, my cousin Alyx and Will on Christmas Day 2007
Dad and Hunter, March 2008