So, in October 2008, my dream of 15 years was FINALLY coming true. I was in the car heading to Walters, OK to pick up my very own fawn boxer puppy. This was back in the day where we actually looked in the newspaper for puppy ads! The ad I called about said she had 2 male pups left. She emailed me a picture and I had to pick which male pup I wanted her to hold for me. The picture she sent was adorable, but as soon as I saw this picture, I instantly knew which one I wanted. One pup had a pretty face. His markings were perfect, to perfect actually. Whereas, the other pup, he had more personality in his face and his markings were awesome. I told her the one we wanted and we would make the 2 hour drive to pick him up, the next day!
I was giddy with excitement and when we walked into this woman's home, we were greeted by 9 fawn boxer puppies. It was puppy heaven! I had studied the picture she sent me so much, that I instantly knew which pup was mine. I picked him up and my heart grew about 5 sizes in that moment. We named him, Tucker Lincoln Meyer. I had wanted to name my boxer puppy Tucker, for many years.
Tucker instantly became our baby. We did not have children yet, so we pampered him like a baby and he was so, so spoiled. I slept on the floor with him the first few nights home. He slept draped across my neck. He loved being able to feel my heartbeat while he slept. I got up more at night with Tucker, than I ever did my own children as newborns. He was always sleeping on us or in bed with us, he hated being away from me.
Fast forward two years and he helped welcome our son home from the hospital as a newborn. Tucker was immediately in love with our son Jett. Clayton brought home one of the blankets Jett had been using in the hospital, so Tucker could sniff it. Tucker was so excited and very curious while getting the first sniff of his new brother. Once he came home, Tucker was immediately in love. Whenever Jett was laying on the floor, Tucker was always next to him with his head touching him. If Jett was laying on his boppy, Tucker was next to him. Tucker LOVED the boppy. He thought it was the most cozy pillow ever created for dogs. You can imagine Tuckers excitement when we brought the boppy down from the attic when our daughter was born! He insisted on her sharing it with him. Tucker was exactly what I had hoped he would be like with kiddos. He was gentle, so patient and always wanted to play with them. He was very protective of his babies and I knew, he would do whatever it took, to keep them safe.
I have had 5 painful miscarriages in-between God blessing us with 2 miracle babies. After each miscarriage, I would lay on my bed sobbing and Tucker would lay next to me in bed. He would lick the tears off my cheek as I cried. He was always by my side, so sensitive to me and knew when I was hurting. Over the last 10 years, I have had 10 foot/leg surgeries and he has been by my side for 6 of them. I have lived with chronic nerve pain the last 10 years and Tucker always knew the days that I was hurting really bad. He was glued to my side. He never left me when I was crying. Never.
About 2 months ago we noticed Tucker (7) was running into things, stumbling occasionally, not wanting to play and was sleeping most the day. These symptoms came on suddenly. The final straw was when he walked right into our pool and then could not get out. Had I not jumped in and got him out, he would have drown. We took him to the Vet the next day. The Vet believed he had a mass sitting on a branch of nerves, which had caused him to go blind (explained all the running into stuff/pool incident) and he was going to get much worse, quickly. He was losing control of the left side of his body.
I felt as though I had been punched in the stomach while sitting in the Vets office getting this diagnosis. I couldn't breathe and it felt like a terrible dream. I lost it. I held Tucker and sobbed and sobbed. Our Vet had her colleagues (4 other Vets) in the office look at Tucker. They watched him outside for over 20 minutes and they all agreed on this diagnosis and unfortunately, there would be nothing they could do even if they found the mass. They suggested additional testing, which would be around $2,000. We are in the process of adopting 3 brothers, our #littlemenmeyer from Haiti and we could not afford to do the tests. Every free penny we have goes in the adoption jar. I love Tucker with every part of my being, but we knew, God did not want us to put this $2,000 on a credit card, because there was no way we could come up with that kind of money so quickly.
So, three weeks later, it was Thanksgiving time. We traveled up to Iowa to spend Thanksgiving with Clayton's Grandpa. Gramps loved Tucker and Tucker had always traveled with us everywhere we went. He had been to Gramps house several times, so even though he was blind, we knew he would be able to get around. Once we got there, Tucker got much, much worse, very quickly. On Thanksgiving day, Tucker was howling in pain for long periods of time. It was horrible. I texted our vet that morning and she told us to increase the pain medicine and to give him Xanax around the clock to help make him more comfortable. By this point, he could not walk from the pain. Clayton was having to carry him everywhere. He would not eat so we were hand feeding him wet food. He would not drink so I laid him on my lap and used one of the kids medicine syringes and squirted water in his mouth, 1 tsp at a time. He was miserable and it broke our hearts to see our baby suffering. On Thanksgiving evening, we knew, we needed to make the worst decision ever.
How do you tell a 5 year old boy that his best friend is going to die in a few hours? Jett's entire life has been with Tucker by his side.They were glued to each other. They were brothers and best friends and it broke our hearts to have this hard conversation with Jett. A conversation that he was old enough to remember the rest of his life.
On our last night together, I slept on the floor with Tucker, just like we did on our first night together. I laid next to him on the floor crying, when in typical Tucker fashion, he lifted his head and laid his face on top of my face. I did not get much sleep that night. Tucker was in a lot of pain and was very restless so every twenty minutes I was waking up to help calm him down.
The time came for Jett and Keira to say their final good-bye to Tucker. When Jett got down to say goodbye, Tucker lifted his head and put his mouth right on Jett's cheek. That was such a special gift for Jett. By this point, Tucker had not been able to move for over 6 hours. God arranged for that special moment. For Tucker to say good-bye to his boy, with a kiss. No one else got that special gift, just Jett and that made me so happy as I cried. I put worship music on while Clayton and I had some alone time with our baby, for the last time.
The moment I was dreading finally came. I held Tucker in my arms with my face next to his face. I rubbed his cheeks, kissing him, while sobbing. Clayton was by my side, his hands on Tucker as he cried. I told Tucker to go take care of our 5 babies and to go run to Jesus, and then he was gone. My heart was shattered as I held my motionless baby. He was gone.
God gave us exactly 3 weeks with Tucker after the bad diagnosis. God is such a good, good Father. He gave us 3 weeks to pamper Tucker and say our good-byes. I am so grateful for those 3 weeks. Seven years with Tucker were not enough, no amount of time would have ever been enough. He was my faithful companion, my baby, my protector and the best dog ever created. It is not possible to have a better dog than Tucker.
Had Tucker died while we were home in Oklahoma, we would not have been able to bury him. But, because we were in Iowa at Gramps farm, he was buried on the farm. We buried him where Clayton spent countless hours as a child, where we had spent a lot of time as a family and it was Tucker's favorite place in the world. God arranged for Tucker to die in Iowa, so he could be buried in a spot that was special to us and would be in the family for generations. God cares so deeply about us, He knows how much we loved Tucker and even though He didn't heal Tucker, He is still a good, loving God.
We are still grieving for Tucker. He was not 'just' a dog to us, he was a special member of our family. I know this grief and heartache will lessen with time, but right now, we miss Tucker so much. Jett is having a really hard time, he misses his buddy and it breaks my heart to hold him as he cries for his best friend. It has been 19 days since our boxer baby passed away, but in these past 19 days, God has been so close. Psalm 34:18 (nlt) "The Lord is close the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed" One of my favorites verses is, Psalm 119:28 (nlt) "I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word." When I am grieving, I go to God. God gives such incredible peace and comfort as I cry out to Him. A peace that only God can give.