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ricehouse

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11.5 years ago I bought a runt. He was small and he was being chased by his siblings. He hid under a couch as his sisters tagged him. I knew the moment i saw him that he was coming home with me. 

Early on, i found out he was allergic to certain proteins which made his ears and face swell. He'd have to be on special dog food for the rest of his life. He liked holding rocks in his mouth and chipped a tooth, too. 

Tyson was a pitbull. I never socialised him much with other dogs. He was anxious, snappy, not very affectionate. He was many things. He was mine and I loved him. He peed on my girlfriends bag the first night she slept over. 11.5 years later and she's now my wife. He also met our son two and a half years ago. They never played much. I was always scared Tyson would inadvertently  hurt him one day and Tyson fed off this so he kept out the way. He'd wonder off to his bed when our son went in the garden, unless he was eating some kind of snack. 

He slept with me for most of his life, either on the bed or beside it. At night he would moan so i could put the blanket on his head, then he'd get too hot and uncover himself. Then he would moan again. Stupid dog. 

I got cross with him sometimes. He'd always pull too hard when we went for a walk. People in their cars would get a kick out of this, watching us. He'd take our clean washing and sleep with it on our bed, but shoes were his favorite. Just the one, mind you. One shoe would always be in his bed. He'd never chew it; think he just liked the smell of us when we weren't around. 

When he was five or six, he swallowed one of those rocks he loved to hold in his mouth. He spent 3 days at the vet and came home with stitches running down his belly. I cried when they said he'd have to have a operation. It was the first time. Two years ago, he developed cancer - a mole on his leg that got bigger. Vet again. More stitches. Then his eye duct got clogged. Vet again. No stitches needed for the eye, but we neutered him, so he got some in the end.  

Despite everything he had been through, he was relatively healthy. He had some grey around the muzzle, he couldn't jump as high or run as fast. Then a couple of months ago, i called him, and he didn't turn his head. I went closer and called him again. Nothing. Third time, and practically on top of him, i called him and he startled, caught off guard - My pitbull was going deaf. 

We bought a house recently. It had a room that we could use as an office (my wife and i both worked from home) which meant we didn't need to work from inside the garage like in our old house. It was cheap and in a good area. It was great except it didn't have a big garden. The grass area was eleven steps wide, 7 steps long. Not enough for my son and Tyson to share. 

So I put him to sleep 6 hours ago. I feel guilty. I feel sad. I feel it was the right decision. His quality of life would have decreased. If i'm honest, he would have had another year, maybe two, maybe more. I cried at the vet and i cried at home. I'm telling you this because i don't want to sound heartless. I loved my dog. He was mine. I'll miss him, and it hurts to think what i did. 

I don't know if I did the right thing. Was the cancer cancer? Could my son and Tyson have shared the garden? Could i have done more? The answer is probably yes to all three which is why i'm hurting right now, hopelessly waiting for Tyson to moan once more so i can cover his head with a blanket. 

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