When do you let your best friend go?


In 1997 my daughter was born and by the time she was 2 she was asking for a puppy. At that time we were still renting a apartment and we told her when we bought a house we would buy a dog.

In the spring of 2000 we bought a house and my daughter started asking about her puppy again. I scoured the paper looking for a rottweiler (which was my dream dog) puppy but they were all well above 500 dollars which we could not afford at the time.

One day I saw a ad for a rottweiler/german shepard puppies for 50 dollars. I called the ad in the paper and asked for directions so I could come and see the dogs.I called my wife from work and told herĀ  I was going to look at some puppies, she said that was fine, but don’t bring one home with me. She wasn’t ready for a dog yet. I drove out into the Maine countryside to the town of Bradford and pulled up to the address I was given over the phone.

I was debating about even going in to look, the address I was given led me to a old run down trailer on a back country road and I wasn’t sure how good of a shape these pups could be in for 50 bucks. Since I had driven all the way out there I decided I might as well go look at them so I went up and knocked on the door. The door opened and there was a woman standing there and she asked me if she could help me, I said yep I had called about the puppies. I noticed standing behind her the most beautiful black german shepard I had ever seen. I asked if that was one of the parents and the woman said yes it’s the mother, the father is out back with the puppies. We walked around the corner and the whole back yard was all fenced in with a dog house in the middle that looked to be more of a shed than anything else. Sire Come! The woman hollered and out of the shed came the largest Rottweiler I had ever seen and 8 puppies right behind him. She let me into the pen and the father came over and rubbed against me as I squatted down playing with the puppies. They had the coloring of a rottie, but the face of a german, I loved them. I had a squirming ball of puppies trying to get into my lap at the same time when I noticed off to the side there was one puppy just sitting there staring at me. I stood up and walked over and stood looking down at the pup and him looking up at me, you hear the phrase all the time love at first site, I wouldn’t use that to describe it exactly but there was a instant connection and I knew I needed that dog. I looked at the woman and said I’ll take him as I handed the woman 50 dollars and set the pup in a cardboard box and put it on the front seat of my truck.

On the way home I stopped at the store and grabbed some food and a small crate to crate train him in and luckily when I got home my wife and daughter weren’t there. I grabbed the supplies and the dog and took him in the house and set him up with some food and water and made his crate up with a blanket as he wandered around sniffing his new home. Just as I finished up I could hear my wife pull up the driveway and I walked out on the deck just as she was getting out of the car, she took one look at the smile on my face and said, you son of a bitch, you got a dog! As soon as my daughter heard that she went running into the house as my wife shot daggers at me with her eyes as she walked by me to see the new addition to our family.

My daughter loved him,

My wife hated him, she wanted nothing to do with him and would tell me constantly it’s your dog, you take care of it. My daughter decided to call him Rufus, and that’s what he was named. My wife and rufus lived around each other, she never really accepted him, she hadn’t wanted a dog. When he would try and get on the couch, she would swat him off, he would sit at her feet and just look up at her and she would ignore his attempts at affection.

Besides being the proud owner of a new puppy, my daughters second favorite thing in the world was digging in the dirt in front of our porch. She would sneak out a spoon from the drawer and just sit there all day long digging away. One day she was sitting there while my wife and I were cleaning the house and Rufus was just laying in his crate with the door open. We had a rental home as our neighbors and they had 2 mean dogs that had attacked the neighbors dog and ripped his throat out almost killing him. The neighbor on the other side of us told us to keep a eye on them, one was a wolf hybrid and the other was pregnant pit, I’m still not sure to this day if those were the breeds or not, doesn’t really matter. So back to the story, all of a sudden my daughter started screaming, somehow the dogs had gotten out and were headed down towards her. Our house at the time was a old farm house and the front door always stuck and was a pain to open sometimes when the humidity was high. As soon as my daughter started screaming Rufus bolted for the door and just at that moment my daughter hit the door to open it and it opened just enough for Rufus to squeeze out and he was off and met the 2 dogs as they came down the driveway. That little 6 month old pup chased them 2 dogs back into the home, I went outside and yelled rufus come as my wife swept up my daughter and tried calming her down. Rufus came back in the house and a few minutes later the dogs came running out, I grabbed my 30-30 and the phone and called the police and told them if they didn’t get here in 5 minutes, there will be 2 dead dogs. A couple minutes later 2 cop cars showed up and they had to pepper spray the dogs to get them back into the house. Luckily the assholes moved out shortly after.

That night I tucked my daughter into bed and gave her a kiss and walked down the stairs, as I turned the corner into the living room I stopped short. My wife was sitting on the couch with Rufus on her lap, crying. I could hear her saying softly, you have earned your place, you are welcome here, you are a good boy. The picture will stay in my mind forever.

Here he was a couple of months before the incident, he was such a good looking boy.

My wife and Rufus have been best friends ever since.

With a dog of his breeding, he grew and he grew fast. He quickly outgrew his small crate and we had to get him a cage, it was funny though when he was told in when he did something bad he would stick his head in the small crate that he grew up in. Within his new found friendship with my wife, he quickly took over the house, and our bed, and the couch….

I love this pic, he’s just chilling

This was probably his prime when he was 5 or 6, he was such a handsome man. He just sat and stared at that bone all day long.

He liked looking for frogs with my daughter

In 2009 we moved into our new home we had built and the following summer my wife and daughter were away at her parents for a few weeks leaving my father and I alone with the animals. One night I was up watching TV late and decided to go to bed. I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and as I was doing so, I could here the side motion light go off, no big deal I figured it was my father coming home. About 10 seconds later Rufus started going insane and I could hear him throwing himself at the door which he would never do with my father. I looked out the front and saw the front motion light of the house was on. I went outside and looked down at my dad’s cabin and he was sitting in there on his computer. The only way our front motion light goes off is if someone walks right in front of it. We have cameras for security due to how our face sits, you can’t see anything from the road, so I switched the tv over to the camera input and lo and behold

A few frames later I could see a knife or screwdriver in his hand as he turned towards our front door (which was unlocked at the time) it wasn’t till rufus started freaking out that the intruder took off running.

Ever vigilant, this was taken right after it happened, he wanted to get himself a piece of the intruder. He saved either my life or the pill head’s life that night, because if he had entered my home, one of us wouldn’t have been coming out.

Over the last 2 years, he has slowed down a lot and he has grayed a lot. He has two other dog mates now that won’t leave him alone.This was his last big harrah moment when he killed the skunk trying to get at our chickens

I can hear him groaning all night, getting up and down is getting harder and harder for him. We have all cement floors which is hard on the joints, we lay out pillows and blankets for him to lay on and he refuses to. His body is covered with so many lumps that the doctor says is just fat deposits that brushing him is becoming difficult, It takes him awhile to get up and down our steps to go the bathroom, I thought he was going to fall yesterday

So at what point do I stop being selfish and do for him what he has done for me his whole life, protect him from pain and agony.


  1. Jeez man that was tear tugger. I have been in your shoes. I probably waited a year to long to put down a dog I had for 15 years. I knew what I needed to do, I just kept putting it off. I finally took him in for the shot. Afterwards I brought him home and decided to bury him at my parents house. I still feel bad to this day for waiting as long as I did.

    Remember dogs will be affectionate and wag their tail, even in pain.

    Sounds like Rufus has had a good life with people who love him. Consult your family and come to a decision together.

  2. Its all dusty in here.

    This is always a tough call. IMO this is one of the greatest burdens that come with being the man of the house. I’m a dog lover through and through and I have always thought that the bond between the man of the house and the dog has always been strong because they both have the safety of their family as their #1 priority. A dog will give up its life for its family without hesitation. Thats one of the most admirable things on earth.

    My advice would be to let him go peacefully in his sleep after one more patrol around the family farm. Dogs know when their time has come and I’m sure he’d like to make sure everything was alright before he goes.

  3. no right answer. but i’ll leave you with this little story. maybe it will help, maybe not.

    Many years ago when i was on the job, i happened to be working evenings or mids on patrol (hard to remember now). I turned down this street when i saw a cat in the road. it had clearly been hit by a car…back legs mangled and obvious abdominal evisceration. i hit the rear lights, got out the car, and started walking up. to my surprise the cat turned its head as it heard me coming. I just knew it was already dead. The cat was trying to get up so i backed off.

    i’m thinking wtf do i do now. cant use a firearm due to potential ricochet off the pavement, i aint gonna club it, and i damn sure cant get close enough for much else. so, i take the easy way out an called animal control out. it seemed like forever before they got there and i know that animal is suffering. Well, the AC lady get out the truck and gets the noose on a pole. I say “what??!!” She says brb. I’m thinking i just made shit worse for the cat.

    AC lady approaches the cat and it looks back and sees her coming. I guess that cat decided it wasn’t time just yet cause it rose up more or less on it’s two good legs and ran. i mean ran. The AC lady takes off after it. The cat reached a wooden 8ft privacy fence and started to shimmy up it, back legs just swaying in the breeze. The AC lady nooses it by the neck but the cat wont let go of the fence. they battled for a while and the fence was rocking during the process. I’m thinking…holy @#@! this cant be happening. finally the AC lady gets him off and puts him in the back of the truck. She tells me she’s going to the emergency clinic so they can euthanize him. I remember thinking what a waste, that dudes got balls and a will to live like no other.

    I asked the AC lady what happened to that cat days later. She told me he fought every step of the way…clawed her and the vet before they dosed him. I still remember that. I guess the point of this, my friend, is that as long as there is even a little spark or a little fight left you gotta give them benefit of the doubt…it’s my hope that that they’ll tell you when it’s time….when they can’t get up, run on two legs, and grab that fence. I don’t know what else to say.

  4. Having met Rufus, I can only sympathize with you man. He’s a great dog & very friendly. I think that you will know when it’s time, when it’s time. He still has a bit of spark about him, and is still a big part of the family. It’s a tough situation, but you’ll do the right thing in your heart.

  5. I put my best friend down 3 years ago her namw was pepper and she was an honest dog,,, black lab that thought she was part pit bull when a stranger came to the door I worked in Alaska for 2 years she was a great source of comfort for me while I was gone .. My wife loved her . when she was gone I promised my self I woundnt get a new dog till my best human friend called and said an employee where he works found a chochate lab that was gonna go to the pound unless they could place him in a home wes had 2 dogs and he just about drug me to look at him they called him mocha MOCha who names a great animal mocha so I petted him he had been fixed those big brown eyes melted my heart and I turned around and walked to my truck (brand new lariat with leather seats )opened the door ( now was the moment if he came home with me I didnt look at him and yelled HOOCH and he ran to me and waited sat and waited till I opened the back door he would not jump on the seats he waited till I pushed the seats up , then jumped in , the lady that brought him had already got in her car and waving , he has been with us 3 years now we bought him a puppy my wife wanted a PWD they are best frieds now she is 1 1/2 years old her name is Lilly Rue >>>>dog is god spelled backwards !!!!!! wish I new how to post picts

    • awesome story dar, thank-you for sharing. In the forum if you click on the window icon (it’s the 5th icon from the right) it will give you this [img][/img], just paste your image link in between the 2 hashtags and it will post

  6. I have thought about this post ever since I read it , Its hard to know when I decided to put pepper down , but it was probely when I saw she was hurting when she was walked slowed way down on her eating wimpered when she was sleeping she could hardly keep her balance when she peed or pooped , I should have put her down a little earlier but being a lowly humume my heart just would not let me . good luck , By the rufus will understand and still love his family no matter what you decide .