He was thirteen years old, so his death was not surprising, but he was healthy--except for arthritis in his back legs--so it was very unexpected. We all take comfort in the fact that, as far as we know, he went in his sleep without any pain.
Carter was part of our family since he was just a few months old, and I feel lucky to have had so many years with him. I don't think I'll ever forget the day we got him--picking him up and talking about how huge he was compared to his brothers and sisters. Memories of him greeting us at the door every time we came home, playing with his food like a puppy even when he got old, and howling his hilarious bark will always stay with me. And I'll never forget that time he ate all of our Halloween candy when we were at school--what a rascal. Or that time we fed him too much turkey on Thanksgiving and he was in a food coma until the next morning. Or that time he got out and went on an adventure and scared us half to death.
I'll also never forget how much he looked like a puppy when his hair was long. Sure, he smelled better after being groomed, but something about that puppy face always got me.
At this point, we're all finding our own ways to deal with this loss in our family. My little sister only knows life with Carter, and I'm curious to see how our lab Chloe adjusts to being the only dog in the house.
For me, I'm expecting it all to become real the next time I go home to Dallas. Until then, I can only hope that we made Carter as happy throughout his long life as he made us.
We'll miss you, Carterboy.