Almost 15 years ago when we lost our second rat terrier, I was heart broken. So we went in search of a new Rat. We looked in the newspaper and found a couple of Rats listed. Since we were headed to the city for some event, we decided to check out the Rats on the way. The first stop was at a gas station where we met the guy selling the Rat. He rolled down his window and held out a little puppy. It was cute - as all puppies were, but he had an "apple" head. He was not the Rat for us. Then we drove over to Shawnee and met an older man at the Braums. He was driving a flatbed Toyota truck and had a pet taxi sitting on the bed. He then opened the pet taxi and out ran a Rat puppy. He was gangly and wild. He had poop on his leg from being in the pet taxi. He was so excited to be out, that he was jumping and running all around. The old man said, "Don't let him fall, he'll get a hernia." A hernia!? What a funny thing to say. Jesse laughed out loud. This Rat had puppy belly - where his belly was a bit large compared to his long legs. He was cavorting around the flatbed with us trying to keep him from falling. This time the old man said, "Look at that confirmation!" We all thought, "What confirmation?" The old man told us he would knock off the price and would sell the Rat for a discount. We said okay, and took him home with us.
We named him Ranger for the popular Lord of the Ring movies that were out at that time. Ranger became an instant part of our family. He had such a different personality than our second rat terrier, who had been a psycho dog. Ranger was sweet and easy to get along with. He learned fast and stayed close to us. We taught him tricks. He was a creature of habit liking things to stay the same. So we had certain routines every day. If you did not give him a dog biscuit first thing each morning, he let you know. He did everything with us until he got a bit too old to travel in the car without getting anxious. He was great with the grandkids or anyone's kids. When looking back through my blog, there is not many photos from around the farm or house that does not have Ranger in them. Everyone loved Ranger. So many memories!
The last year he had gotten much slower and frailer. He didn't really like going for walks with us, although he did. Every month or so, I took him to the vet to have his toenails clipped and other hygiene things done. It was always a bit traumatic for him, but necessary. He had a large growth on his leg, which the vet called a tumor. He had other lumps and bumps that were probably tumors too, but nothing to be done about them. We were getting up with him a couple of times each night to put him outside. He had had a few accidents in the house. It was all part of getting older. We knew our time with him was short.
On Thursday, he started having more problems getting around. He seemed extra swollen and the tumor on his leg filled with fluid and was full and hard - like it could burst. That night was rough. He had trouble breathing and moving, although he was restless. Friday I was supposed to go to OKC with Jesse to some art museums, but I had to cancel that. Instead, I took Ranger to the vet. Our usual vet was out of town. This bothered me greatly, because I trust her to make good decisions and help me out with my animals. I ended up taking Ranger to a different vet, but a good one. This vet had sewn up his ear years ago when Ranger had split his ear on a barbed wire fence. The vet had done a great job. He examined Ranger and said it was probably cancer in his lungs or possibly congestive heart failure. Either way, Ranger was old and it was hard on him. I had to make a decision - to try and doctor on Ranger, which would have been hard on him, or put him down. I called Toby. I cried. Toby came to the rescue. We made the decision and said our goodbyes. The vet people took good care of Ranger and us.
I have been pretty weepy the last few days, but I know it was for the best. I miss Ranger in the little ways - the everyday routines we had. I don't think there will ever be another dog quite like him. He was the best. This is the photo I took of him in his last little bit of time. You can see that he was tired and sick. My old man dog.