156. September 13: Mile 2569.42 Stehekin, WA to Mile 2580.61 Six Mile Campsite
Today was a sad day. This morning I was able to receive a message from my sister saying that I needed to call Mom or Dad. After a couple tries on the pay phone I was able to get a hold of my dad who gave me the news that my 12 year old German Shepherd and best friend, Snickers had to be put down last night. He had been slowly declining for quite some time now. His hips, like with many of his breed, began to deteriorate and more recently while I’ve been on this hike he lost his ability to hear us call his name. From what my parents told me, it sounds like he began suffering from a neurological disorder rendering him unable to walk in a straight line, pee, or eat. So my parents had to make the hard choice to let him suffer no more and put him down.
Upon hearing this news I broke down in tears. I was so close. Only a week away from finishing, but still a month away from returning to Quail Creek Blvd. I can’t even began to count the amount of times I’ve imagined myself walking through the front door to Snickers and Maddie (our other dog, a Beagle) rushing to the door to greet me with smiles and kisses. I’ll never be able to experience that now. Just Maddie. She lost her best friend too. I wish I could have seen him one last time. One last hug.
Snickers became part of my family when he was a one year old recovering from kennel cough at a German Shepherd rescue. His name at the rescue was Eli, but we decided upon Snickers while at the Cheesecake Factory on the north side of Indy due to his coloring and cheerful personality. He would never have won any dog shows as his back was straight and not downwardly slanting like well bred Shepherds, but he was gorgeous nonetheless. He ran crooked with his hips out of line with his shoulders, he’d play fetch, but would only chase after the ball and then stand next to it. He would put his paws on top of the bed when I was little while the rest of the family knelt bedside to say our prayers. He’d come to my bedside every night to check on me by nuzzling me with his cold nose. He’d lick the salt off of my face and arms when got home from a bike ride. He always would stick his nose in my dirty laundry and take deep whiffs as if to take in as much of my scent as possible. Anytime I went out back to mow he would follow me lap after lap and any time I stopped and left the mower, he’d guard it as if to ensure its safety as well as my own. He loved to squeak his stuffed animals around the house and them shove the wet toy into your lap and continue to chomp and squeak. When he was younger he would go to Emily’s room and gingerly pick up her stuffed toys and bring them out to the living room; we always knew he wanted to be a mother. He took his time eating and never rushed. He hated the sound of the smoke alarm. After a few bad experiences where we forgot to open the flu when having a fire, the alarm went off and he eventually would no longer join us for family fires. He loved sleeping in his crate and we never forced him to sleep there. Any rug was his rug; he slept on all of them. Tornado sirens always prompted him to howl. He hated rough housing and would always try to quell the situation. He had a long fuse and put up with a lot of shenanigans from Maddie, his younger sister. He’d always dance with his back legs if you tickled him while scratching his bum. He was gentle. He was loving. He was my best friend for almost half of my life and I miss him dearly. Thank you Snicks for all those great years together. I love you.