Today we had to put our boxer, Joe, to sleep, as his hind legs were giving out, crippled by arthritis. He had stopped eating and would not come to me when I called, and I think he was just ready to go. I really appreciate the kindness of the vet and the vet tech who put him to sleep - the process could not have been smoother or sweeter, and I had the chance to say goodbye and have a good cry as Joe went to sleep.
Thinking back on our six years with Joe has been very sweet. We bought him two days after moving to Glenwood (two days after 9-11), and we were actually looking at another boxer at the rescue when Joe came bounding down the steps. He always was a funny looking dog, and he won us over immediately. For a young couple who were scared to death of their neighborhood, having a big, mean-looking dog was such a comfort. People would move to the other side of the street when they saw Joe coming, though they had nothing to fear from him. Joe was a source of courage for me, helping me feel OK about walking through Glenwood, and owning him also forced me to get out in the neighborhood before we had a fence. I would also give Joe a lot of credit for getting our tutoring program off the ground. As we took our early morning walks, he became a favorite of the kids who were waiting for the bus, and while they didn't know my name, they would be screaming "Joe! Joe!" when we were still way down the block. He was my best way of getting to know them, and I can still see Kendall, one of our first tutoring participants, hugging Joe on the corner in front of his house.
Joe was a great dog for our work here because he was very gentle and patient with kids, yet he was all the alarm system we ever needed. Eliza has been a little sad today as she has realized Joe is not coming back, and she cried pretty hard a couple of times, which surprised me because I wasn't sure how much she could understand. We will certainly miss Joe and are thankful that God provided such a good companion for us here.