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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A man and a dog and a gun - sad story

This is only marginally firearm related, so no worries if you want to lock it, but the following touched me deeply...

I was out for a walk early this morning in the fields and forests where my Dad and I used to hunt when I was a young boy. I felt the need to go back and re-visit some of the places and ghosts where some of the best memories of my young life took place.

The snow has just started to fall here, the sun had just cleared the horizon, and there was a light blanket of snow on the ground. All the leaves have fallen, and just the smell of everything around me was intoxicating. The only noise was the distant calling of crows, and the scampering of squirrels gathering nuts for the winter.

Across the next field, I saw a man and his dog out for a walk, or perhaps hunting rabbits. They were a good 500 yds away, so I watched them through my binoculars. The man was old, the dog looked past his prime as well, and I couldn't make out the rifle model he was carrying from that far away. I watched the old man throw a stick for the dog a few times, and the dog would happily chase it time after time, even with the apparent arthritis of all its four legs.

I watched them play for a few more minutes, then thought I'd go over and say hi and talk guns and see what he was hunting with, or for. Just as I was about to put my binoculars down and set across the field, I watched as the old man told his dog to sit. The dog did so with instant obedience and trust. The old timer turned and walked a few paces away from his dog, then turned - raised his rifle, and fired. I was shocked. I was horrified. I couldn't believe what I saw. The dog crumpled instantly and lay where he had been sitting.

I can't remember the next few seconds as I moved towards the man, but I'm sure I ran across the field, and hopped the fence into the next, and I don't think I ever ran 500 yards that fast in my life.

I approached the old timer, and introduced myself and why I was out there. The man was even older than he appeared through my binoculars. We stood for a moment in silence after that, at the dog's feet. The man was crying. I was about to ask him about what I just saw, but the man started talking. He told me that Scout was born 19 years ago, and was the best dog he had ever had. He told me his wife had passed away 10 years ago, and the dog was all the man had left, and was his sole companion now and best friend. He told me that the last few months, the dog had developed leukemia, as well as the worsening arthritic condition which was already apparent from a field away when I first spied them.

He went on to tell me that his dog was in constant pain now. He couldn't see letting a vet take the dog's life in a clinical environment like that. The dog loved outdoors, and most of their time together since his wife's passing were spent there. He said it was time for his dog to go play fetch with his wife now, and there's was no damn way he'd let a stranger with a needle be the last thing that Scout remembers.

I burst into tears. I haven't cried this hard, maybe ever. The old man stopped talking as quickly as he started, and we simply stood over the dog, with tears streaming down our faces. I sobbed like a baby.

Then we stood silent for a while. I never did get to ask him about his rifle (Marlin lever action). I finally shook his hand, and told him there's not many things better in life than the love of - and for - a good dog. He simply nodded and squeezed my hand a little tighter.

Tears are falling on my laptop as I type this. It is something I will never forget.
 

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Just damn...gonna take awhile for me to stop crying now...

My cat is 18 years old, and on his final lap. I won't be doing what the old man did, but I'll be holding my best friend in my arms when he breaths his last at the vets.
 

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Sory for his loss! But I think I'd rather be put to sleep myself! LOL!
 

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You know... as dog owner I know how sensitive the subject is (putting your dog down) but come on man...Miss the brain and blow your dog's jaw off... blue juice express at the vet and spread the ashes in the field.

And I would bet that if you went to a vet for 19 years they might even make an accommodation to do the procedure in the field with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It's not my place to guess the man's intentions and wishes for his pet. And it's not like he took the shot from 100 yds. He was 4 yds away, at most. I believe what he did was just as humane as any other means.
 

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Most people who survive a gunshot wound say it was pretty painful. Haven't heard much from those who don't survive.
 

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Story can bring a tear to my eye as I do love my animals an awful lot....

A coworker relayed similar story to me the other day whereas his Dad took an old dog out for its last hunt too.... Well he missed the mark and only wounded the dog which then ran howling in pain and terror all the way home with his owner in pursuit of his once cherished dog... Dog made it home and bleed all over the place; kids and babies are crying and throwing up....

I can't think of a worse way to go for the dog or for the owner...

Don't miss or better yet take the old dog out for its last hunt, give it a last meal it will never forget along with a few sleeping pills... Then do the deed to a sleeping dog if you must do it yourself.
 

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I'm not sure how one can argue that a gunshot is more humane than sedatives and sodium pentobarbital... the animal doesn't feel anything and it effectively put it down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm not sure how one can argue that a gunshot is more humane than sedatives and sodium pentobarbital... the animal doesn't feel anything and it effectively put it down.
Well, that ties into the whole ethics of hunting. And that's not what my post was all about. But for the record, it was humane and instant. Yes, it could have gone wrong as in T's post above. But it didn't. It was a touching last moment with a man's best friend, and in some odd way I am glad I witnessed it, as sad as it was and as sad as I am.
 

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That is a sad story. I had a somewhat similar conversation with a gentleman living down the block from me. I had stopped on my afternoon walk to say hello. He had a little dog with him. I asked what is her name. He said his name is Jake and that he had been his wife dog. He said his wife passed away about a year ago and perhaps I had seen them walking together. He said the little dog now followed him everywhere he went. Funny how dogs fear losing another person and want to be with them always.
 

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Well, that ties into the whole ethics of hunting. And that's not what my post was all about. But for the record, it was humane and instant. Yes, it could have gone wrong as in T's post above. But it didn't. It was a touching last moment with a man's best friend, and in some odd way I am glad I witnessed it, as sad as it was and as sad as I am.
Shane,
I understand completely what your post was about and I'm also glad you witnessed and understand it.
Some will never understand that it was the right thing to do and the lesson the Old Man could teach them.
Respects, Pedro.
 

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I get it. A walk in the countryside with their master is the best day possible for a dog. A trip to the vet is NOT the best day for a dog. Let him have his last moments doing his favorite thing with his favorite person.
I would throw a stick then shoot so he does not see me taking the shot. No .22 either. I'd want an instant ending for him.

Sad stuff.
 

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Shared most of 13 years with near constant companionship of a male Rottweiler. He helped my youngest son and several nephews grow up. When his life became more torture from arthritis and a throat cancer I felt I owed it to him to end his life as he'd always lived it, in my company outside. Spent a couple hours early one morning digging a large, deep enough hole so as not to crowd him. Fed him a few "people food" scraps, encouraged him to walk the one hundred or so yards to the back fence, and put a 200gr hp 45ACP through the back of his skull, muzzle in contact. Finished the undertaking crying like a baby.

Our current bundle of love is a Yorkie. Not fit for anything but love and companionship. When she makes her yearly visit to the Vet she sits in our lap, shaking like a leaf on a tree. When her time comes I'll turn the lights out within a few feet of her predecessor. She deserves no less.

Matter of fact, when my time comes, it'd be nice to go the same way.

Bob
 

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Neither way is any fun.

We own 4 Border Collies and in years past have had to take 3 to the vet at the end of the line.


Incredible courage on the old man's part.
 

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I could not do that. Even the possibility of inflicting pain on any dog of mine would be beyond my capability. I have 3 at the moment. A year ago I had to hold one as she went to sleep at the vet's. In my mind that's a better way. At least he/she can feel secure in your arms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
In my mind that's a better way.
I don't think there is a "better" way when it comes to humanity. The dog suffered in no way, and his last memory was doing something enjoyable with the one he loved the most.

I'm not saying this is the best choice for everyone. But I have no doubt it was for this old man and his dog.

God, I can't even remember the man's name now and it was only a couple hours ago. But I will remember Scout forever.

Eyes are still wet...
 

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I read just enough to know I didn't dare read anymore. I can't handle any more sad than is in my life everyday.
 

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First I want to say Thank You for a touching story. Well written, brother.

The deep pain is now in the old man's heart.
When his time comes, I hope it's not in a hospital
with tubes sticking out of his body.
The old man deserves better.
 

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Neither way is any fun.

Incredible courage on the old man's part.
Just someone from an era where you didn't pay someone else to do your "dirty work" in an effort to pretend it didn't exist. My heart goes out to him.
I'll try to make this brief. I am pretty serious about family genealogy, been working at it for close to twenty years. In my documentation, I have hundreds of copies of death certificates. Among the other information, there is a box to fill in for the name of the mortician/funeral home. I came across one of these a few years ago, and in that box it said 'family and friends'. I sat and thought about that for a long time, and the sanitized world we now live in.
Thanks for posting,
L.
 
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