The night before Halloween, Zeus, our lab of 16-1/2 years disappeared. We looked around our 5 acres with flashlights but gave up. He'd done this to us before a couple times and we figured he'd come back in a couple hours.
The next morning, I spent another hour searching around the grounds, especially near the creek, wondering if he had fallen and was stuck somewhere. I worried he decided to go away and die.
When The Caboose came home from Kindergarten, we walked the neighborhood and inquired with a few neighbors. At 1:30pm the phone rang. A neighbor WAY down the street had finally gotten our names and was calling with bad news.
At 8:30pm the night before, he was coming home and saw a black dog walking down the middle of the road. He pulled into his driveway and before he could even get out of his car and get to the dog he heard the squeal of tires and the thud. Zeus was killed instantly. Our neighbor pulled Zeus from the road and looked at the dog tags. (Zeus was wearing an expired dog license from where we lived before - shame on us) It took him all morning to get our name and number.
I was sad at the news but also relieved to know he didn't suffer. I was relieved to know he hadn't crawled under a bush. It wasn't how I wanted to say good-bye to my "first child" but a part of me had been ready to say good-bye for a while. He was old. He was 16-1/2. That's a long time for a large dog to live. We'd been waiting for this news for a couple years now.
But still - as I walk around this house I notice how empty it feels....not quite the same without the click of dog toenails on the floor.