Meet Bobo.

Bobo loves destroying socks and bras almost as much as he loves chewing tennis balls, and he often sports some kind of a dirt mustache because he likes to stick his nose in the garden, in dog poop… basically in everywhere his nose doesn’t belong. He’s smart enough to figure out how to open cabinet doors and steal food from bottom shelves, but we had to replace two screen doors and install a permanent doggy door because he can’t tell if the door is open before trying to barrel through.

Bobo loves peanut butter. Peanut butter sandwiches are his favorite, second to only apples with peanut butter. No matter where he is in the house, when my mom starts chopping apples in the kitchen, he runs to beg for a piece (and is usually successful). However, he can’t seem to hear us shouting his name when he runs out of the house to investigate a particularly interesting neighbor’s property. He has both exceptionally good and exceptionally terrible hearing.

Bobo was diagnosed with cancer last week. After nearly ten years of bad breath and dirty paw prints, we’ll miss him terribly. We adopted him when he was three. He would’ve turned fourteen on November 4th if he’d lived that long.

As I sat down to write this, Bobo padded over to sit by my side, as he usually does. This time shouldn’t have been any different; spending a simple afternoon downstairs with him doing nothing in particular wasn’t unusual. But hearing his labored breaths, I understand that this is one of the last times I’ll ever be with him.

Nowadays, he doesn’t eat, not even peanut butter sandwiches. He doesn’t want to play much, either - the cancer is in his nose and throat, so he can’t breathe properly if he exerts himself too much. He barely even drinks water - it’s difficult for him to swallow. He lays on the couch all day, moving as little as possible if he hasn’t taken his painkillers because it hurts him just to breathe. Even so, he hopped off the couch to sit next to me, just as he always has.

We can remember the big events with fond nostalgia, like the time he stole a package of my mom’s specialty bread from the kitchen table and ate all the contents. Likewise, we can laugh at the time he came back from the groomers completely bald and hid under stairs for days. But those little moments are the ones that get you. Making a peanut butter sandwich and remembering there’s no Bobo to give a piece to; bouncing a tennis ball and not having him rush over and steal it away; opening the door with a “Hey, Boy-Bo!” and realizing your call will go unanswered.

Anyone who has a dog knows that your dog is so much more than just a pet. They’re the best thing you come home to after a long day. They make your good times better, and your bad times more manageable. They love you unconditionally and never hold a grudge, even though you may have forgotten to refill their water bowl or play with them that day. They cuddle you, comfort you, keep you company. Only when your dog is dying do you realize the extent to which he bettered your life.

Bobo is scheduled to be put down in two days. He could’ve gone in for surgery; the surgery recovery, though, would leave him to suffer for the remainder of his life due to his old age - not to mention that the surgery itself is unlikely to succeed. We know it’s the best decision with him already in so much pain. Still, I can’t help but wish for him to stay with us.

We love you, Bobo.