Tegan’s story by Tina Blacksmith

We had 16 wonderful years with Tegan. Sixteen years of playing, walks, treats, and an immeasurable amount of love. He was a spitfire. He made us laugh daily. He loved rotisserie chicken, peanut butter, and the dog treats from the local coffee shop.

Tegan wasn’t just a dog. He was my baby. He was my four-legged soulmate. He could tell when I was feeling sad. He’d be right by my side. If I cried he would lick the tears away.

Tegan was diagnosed with a heart murmur a few years ago. Other than a random cough, he was fine. Then it seemed to get worse. The vet told us this would happen. He started sleeping more but still ate his food and played.

When 2023 rolled around, he was tired. He loved his walks but a lot of the time we took him on “carries”, where he got to relax and sniff without exerting himself.

Around the middle of May, he started having trouble breathing. I was terrified. I experienced anticipatory grief. I hated myself for wasting time instead of enjoying every minute we had.

We rushed to the vet. He gave us the options: x-rays, blood tests, a 24-hour care facility, at-home oxygen and heart medication. I had hope – until he told us it wasn’t guaranteed. I cried my eyes out and as much as I wanted to keep him, I couldn’t. My mind was being selfish, screaming “No”, but my heart was saying “this is your sweetie boy, he does not deserve this”. I loved him and I wanted him with me but I couldn’t put that burden on him, not if it meant oxygen and being poked and prodded at 16 years old. I had to think of him.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. I’ve cried every day since. When they say dogs leave paw prints on our hearts, it’s true.


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