By: Dwayne Parton

So Handsome

I sit in the floor of Four Paws Veterinary Office. Bobby’s chest barely raises. I stroke his side. “You’re so handsome, Bubba…so handsome.” I tell him that like I always do. He’s a handsome fella and I like to remind him of it. He tries to lift his head. You can see confusion in his eyes, weakness in his body, and tears on Daddy’s face…”It’s OK, Bubba…It’s OK.”

I often call him “Bubba”, Bob-O at other times, but Bobby is his name. He owns more of the United Stated than most dogs ever will, marking and remarking scenic America as we gallivant across the country. Alone we covered over 40,000 miles just last year. There’s not much he likes more than a long car ride with yours truly. And now he’s kinda instafamous. Not as much as some dogs but more than most. 7K followers is a lot for a furry four-legged fella. “You’re that guy with the dog!” random strangers would say often. And proudly I would confirm that I am that guy.

At 7:00AM I greeted Bob-O for our developing morning ritual. Rituals are good for me, and part of my technique for making friends. I have this theory that if you do something enough…Let’s say you go to the same coffee shop and order a small mocha. Eventually someone is going to say “Mocha, right?!” and then you will be on your way towards making a friend. Anyways, we just moved to Missoula, Montana mid July for work. After a couple weeks of living in the van, we found a place to live. Bobby immediately claimed it as home.

We’ve been here about 4 days now. Lately we wake up early, go get coffee and work until 9:00Am. At 9:00AM I start my real and new job at Gecko Designs. But this morning he didn’t move. He just laid there. That’s not unusual, he likes his sleep as much as I do. Sometimes you’ve really got to shake him awake. So, I shook him like normal and he didn’t move. Not even a little. He just laid there. Chest rising and falling…that’s all.

I grabbed my useless phone to search for directions. I fell on it last night and broke it. Now I can’t touch the top two rows of applications nor the left column. I get my computer. Only one vet is open. I scoop up Bobby and we jet to Four Paws. They are just opening when I show up distraught with my boy in my arms. “Can you help me?” No questions are asked, as they immediately make a spot for him. They run tests on him to figure out what’s wrong…and are going to monitor him for a bit. He picks his head up, and hope stands on that thread. Waiting…

There is no way you can prepare for these kinds of things.

Bobby and I lay in the floor of my apartment. I picked him up from the vet just a few minutes ago. She told me in short: it doesn’t look good. He’s got internal bleeding, most likely from a tumor or something on one of his organs, probably the spleen, or liver. He was fine yesterday, and she explains that often this is how it happens. I’m working to gather myself, but it’s so hard.

We load Bobby in the van. I want to spend time with him, I want to be with him. I carry him up the stairs to my room. He’s cradled in my arms like a baby. This is all to familiar. I once carried Lucy like this. I once cried with my white Shepard princess laying beside me. Now my handsome boy is in my arms. Bobby cries as I lay him down, and my heart breaks. I cry with him. I lay there talking to him. I reassure him, that “It’s Ok.” That he is so handsome. I want to keep him here. He starts crying again. He can barely move…I know…this is goodbye.

There are parts of life that aren’t pleasant. I knew the day would come one day, but I wish it wasn’t today. Bobby and I sit in the floor of Four Paws Veterinary Office. His breathing is slowing. I stroke his side. “You are so handsome Bubba, so handsome.” His breathing stops. “So handsome.”

“So handsome.”