Quite some time ago, about twenty years in the past, I had a Black Labrador named Quincy. He was the dickens and drove my wife absolutely crazy with his shenanigans and destructive behavior. He was a replacement for our Black Lab named Winston, who developed cancer in his snout when he was just four years old. There was no cure for the cancer, and we had to help him cross the rainbow bridge unexpectedly to avoid his unnecessary suffering.
We visited a shelter and adopted a Black Lab pup that would join our eight-year-old Cocker Spaniel, Tory, at our home in the western suburbs of Chicago. Right from the start, Quincy was bound and determined to show us just how wonderful and well-be-haved Winston had been by being the worst dog we had ever owned. You name it; he did it. Way beyond the usual pee and poop in the house. He would poop, smear it into the carpet, and drag bits of poop all over the house as we chased him, yelling, “Quincy, STOP!”
Both dogs had a little room of their own with four doors. The first door on the north side was a doggie door that led to the outside and fenced-in backyard. A door leading to the garage on the south side was on the opposite wall. A half or Dutch door led into our kitchen on the east side wall, and finally, on the west side wall, there was a door leading to the laundry area.
One evening, my wife and I pulled the car into the driveway, and I clicked the garage door opener. As we watched, the door raised, we saw a pair of glowing green eyes. I was like, “what the….” Here, Quincy had chewed and clawed his way through the drywall on both sides, and his head was sticking through the hole, looking at us. My wife used many expletives to voice her feelings, including yelling, “Quincy, STOP!”
Quincy always loved to take my wife’s things off the floor. Her shoes, bra, gloves, hat, purse, etc. She would yell at him constantly. “Quincy, STOP!” She asked me why he took her things but not mine, and I quickly answered, “Because I don’t leave my things on the floor where he can get them.” He ended up training my wife to pick up her things.
After two years, Quincy suddenly be-came the best dog ever. He would listen and obey. He was fun to walk, although his pulling still required the occasional, “Quincy, Stop!” He was a great dog once out of the terrible twos. He moved with us to Florida. Once settled in the Port Orange area, we adopted another dog, a little female yellow lab. He was the best big brother to his little sister.
As time passed, Quincy, like the rest of us, aged. He was having trouble walking and even standing for any period of time. My wife came to me and said she thought it was time for us to take him to the vet. She had already laid out a blanket for him to slide onto so we could drag him to the car. He was a large Lab of close to 100 lbs., so moving him would not be easy. I walked into the kitchen, assessed the situation, and said, “C’mon, Quincy, time to go for a car ride.” With that, the big black Lab shot up on his feet and began walking briskly towards me and into the garage. My wife was dumbfounded. She couldn’t believe Quincy could stand, much less walk so fast. By the time we arrived at the vet, old Quincy was not doing very well. His breathing was labored, and he was moaning. He was not going to be able to jump out of the car and walk, so I carried him into the vet’s office.
As we prepared for the injection that would take our boy over the rainbow bridge, I grabbed his face, looked into his eyes, and said, “Quincy, stop.” Before receiving the injection, Quincy decided to leave on his own, and his heart stopped.
I will never forget the great times Quincy gave me. I will always remember him and keep him in my heart. If you want a best friend that will always love you and you will love them, please, adopt, don’t shop.
Barry KuKes is the Community Outreach Director for the HHS, Daytona Beach. He can be reached at 386. 274.4703, ext. 320, or firstname.lastname@example.org