My Pretty Boy
Payton was a big, goofy, loving chocolate lab who came into our lives in the summer of 2003. We agreed to foster him for a local pet rescue. But when he arrived, we wondered what we got ourselves into.
You see, first of all, we had a black lab (Sasha) already and had moved from our apartment into a house one week earlier. Along comes this seemingly dumb, skin and bones (from heartworm treatments) chocolate lab male. Would he fit in our family? At first, we weren't too sure.
Within a week, we knew he was a keeper. Over the next four years, he won hearts all over the place. All of my teenage daughter's friends adored him. Even kids who normally feared dogs loved Pate.
We don't know how old he was when we got him, but we think he was maybe four or five. About three years into his time with us, we noticed that he was dragging one foot. It wasn't obvious, more like he couldn't lift it all the way when he walked, and it would rub on the floor. By the time we noticed, most of his middle claw was worn away.
That was the beginning of a long, heart-rending time. By late 2007, he could hardly get up on his own. When we took him out for a walk, our formerly race-horse like dog would fall over for no apparent reason.
He finally lost his battle with what we learned was basically doggie MS (multiple sclerosis) on October 30, 2008, when my husband had to take him to be put down. It was the first time I saw my husband cry.
Each of my daughter's friends put memorials to Pate on their Myspace pages. The outpouring of love and sympathy was unbelievable. We still miss his vibrant, goofy, joyful energy.