Almost thirteen years ago I got the greatest birthday present ever... Tucker Murphy Mason. Thirteen joyous years later, we had to do the most difficult thing ever... release him from his pain and send him to a far better place. A place where you can chase rabbits, eat poo (yes, that's right), bark at the old lady, pull the tablecloth off to get to food, bark in every restaurant, make a mad dash towards the neighbor's yard, squirt out the crack in the fence, or just chew on a bone for hours and hours.
Tucker had epileptic seizures his whole life and took a handful of strong pills daily to control them. He had a history of bladder infections, intestinal issues (probably from all that poo), and back troubles. Each time, we'd take him to the vet or as he usually decided to get REALLY bad on a Friday or Saturday night, to the emergency vet. Here in Basel, all the local vets do a rotation for the late night emergencies and between Tucker and Daisy, we got to know most of them! He'd get more pills and eventually get a little better. Last year, he was 100% blind, so we decided to get him cataracts surgery... presto, new eyes! I would joke that 'he better live another five years to amortize those eyes!'
The past year or so, he began to get worse and worse with a digestive problem due to a strong bacterial infection. Damn poo again! Since the pups were regular fans at Liquigas races, they are now known to many in the pro peloton. Two Liquigas staff members in particular are dog lovers as well. One of them, a team doctor, talked me through a rough diagnosis at team camp. His remedy seemed to work for a while. Tucker gained back some weight and perked right up, only to head back down. This time, he referred me to his friend at a vet hospital in Padova, where he and I, along with Daisy, spent a day full of diagnoses and tests. Turns out, it is not only the best hospital in Italy, but of Europe! Once again, we got new meds to combat issues with his thyroid, intestines and even more. Again, it worked... for a while.
The past few weeks have been rough on him. We were away, so he and Daisy were well taken care of at the kennel. I like to think that he waited for us to get home again. It being Easter weekend and all vets closed, we spent our time taking care of him and debating the inevitable. It was finally time. He was no longer the same and was surely in pain. After telling the nice man with the sick cat in the waiting room this afternoon about all Tucker's problems, I summed up by saying that he had no good organs left... except his heart.
Goodbye, Tucker. You're missed already. We are far richer for having had you for thirteen great years. Your sister misses you too, even though she's enjoying the extra attention already!