Sweet Bandit.

“Let me get him a puppy.” My mom said, shortly after we had to put our dog Willie to sleep in 2007.

I didn’t think I was ready to even entertain the idea of a new puppy. But my mom felt a new dog was just what Ethan needed. You see, Ethan and Willie were very bust buddies. The days after Willie died, Ethan’s heart was broken. He couldn’t bear to go in the backyard, too many reminders of Willie were lingering back there for his tender little (broken) heart handle.

I wasn’t ready for another puppy, but I was overcome with sadness for my son, so I agreed to let my mother find a puppy for our grieving family. It just so happened shortly after this conversation with my mother, a friend of the family mentioned that she was getting a puppy from a woman whose lab had puppies, TOO many puppies (I believe it was 13 puppies? Nuts.) She invited me to come with her if I was interested in getting a puppy. Perfect timing.

“Pick the biggest puppy.” My husband said as I walked out the door.

I found the biggest puppy and he was the cutest thing I had ever seen. I picked him up and instantly fell in love.

I brought the little guy home and Ethan was smitten.

“What do you want to name him?” I asked.

“I want to name him Bandit, because he has stole my heart.”

It was a rough few weeks for me. Bandit was very young and so he was very needy. I slept with him every night on the couch for the first week. I would get up to take him potty and to pet him when he would cry. And OHMYGOD, how he would cry. Sometimes? I’d cry because it was just like having a newborn baby all over again. But man, I would do anything for my children’s happiness and dammit, I loved that puppy.

Bandit grew up to be a huge dog. He was so large and weighed so much, he could knock you on your butt. When he’d come running towards you, you would have to brace yourself, plant your feet firmly in the ground and hope for the best. But that dog was so amazing, he would never run towards the little kids. He would always approach them gently. I loved that about him.

Such a beautiful, fun loving, dorky, hyper, dog.

A few weeks ago, we knew something was wrong with Bandit. There was a growth on his nose. Then, we heard that one of his brothers had cancer. When I heard that, my heart sank. I knew the news wouldn’t be good for Bandit.

Our fears were confirmed by the vet. Cancer. Nothing they could do.

We had to have him put to sleep.

I didn’t go with Tony the night we put him to sleep. I couldn’t bear it. I just couldn’t. But when I got the call that it was over, that he was gone. I just lost it.

It was a sad night for our family. And it was especially sad for his best buddy, our other lab, Luke. He howled for hours the morning after and still to this day, he’ll run to the gate on the side yard and cry. It’s awful.

Bandit was only 6 years old. Seems so unfair he had such a short life. But I am grateful we had him in our lives for those 6 years. He was such a funny, loving, loyal, pretty dog. I’ll miss him forever. We all will.

24 thoughts on “Sweet Bandit.

  1. Jessica

    Aw, I’m sorry to hear this! I have my own Lab and as annoying as he can be, he is still a good dog and the very best with my children. So sorry for you!

    1. Y Post author

      Ethan kept to himself about it. Gabriella had a few good cries. They’re better now, just miss him. 🙁

  2. Suebob

    Oh man. So hard. I’m still really grieving my dear dog Goldie, even though I have a new dog now. It’s rough. Dogs do steal our hearts, your boy is right.

  3. Momo

    Oh, honey. I know it hurts so much. I can’t imagine losing a dog that young either. I’m sure that makes it doubly hard. Hugs to you and may Bandit be chasing the heck out of some tennis balls.

  4. Fiona

    I’m so sorry for your loss, there’s truly nothing like a special dog. Reading your post, it’s so similar to what’s happening with my dog, and his brother. Lupo’s brother Love passed away a couple of weeks ago from cancer and I rushed Lupo to the vet for scans and ultrasounds….alas he, too, has cancer….we’re still doing investigations (CT scan and needle biopsy next) but it doesn’t look good. So sad that this runs through siblings. My thoughts are with you Y.

  5. randi

    I clearly have been reading your blog for a long time because I remember that puppy. My heart hurts for you. I hope Bandit’s memory lives forever in your heart.

  6. Kristin

    Aw Y, I’m so sorry. Losing a pet is the worst. But as I’m sure you already know, you did the best possible thing for him. Animals don’t have any concept of death, so as long as they’re not in pain, they’re happy right up until the end. If only it were so easy on all of us left behind to mourn their absence.

  7. Erin

    I am so sorry for the loss of Bandit. We are dealing with our own cancer diagnosis over here. And though our dog is 11 and we knew he had another type of cancer last year, we still thought we would have more time. It is so hard to lose pets and yet I wouldn’t go back and not get our dog to spare this pain and the pain that is yet to come because he has enriched my life and the lives of my children in so many ways.

  8. rach

    Oh, no. I’m so sorry. One of my parents’ labs died a few years ago (they had two, different litters but same mother). The younger one was so lost and so sad.

    Thinking of you all.

  9. norm

    Oh, I remember when you brought Bandit home! Wow, that means I’ve been reading you for six years?!? Amazing how the time flies.

  10. Linda Tackett

    It breaks my heart that you have lost a part of your family, because they are familly! We always had horses and every animal has it’s own personality! When my daughters were 13 and 6 they competed in barrel racing in rodeos. When the 13 yr old was on him he would push it to the max and then when the 6 yr old was on him he would be completely different. Still ran the same pattern but with a little more care for the rider. Animals are smart and a lot of people just don’t get it! I am so glad that I was raised with animals and realize how important they are!

  11. Emilie

    The very day you posted this, we had to put our sweet 6 (ish? He was a shelter dog, never sure how old he was) year old dog down because of cancer. I’m heartbroken & miss him so much, but at least he didn’t suffer. So sorry your family is going through the same thing.

  12. Donna

    This post breaks my heart. I remember when you got Bandit. Your son’s reason for the name was so touching. I know the pain your family is feeling because I also recently had to put down a 6 year old bundle of fur and love. We bought a few extra months with chemo, but it was not nearly enough to satisfy our need for time with her. She was the sweetest, most loving dog and our family feels her loss every day. My heart goes out to all of you.

  13. jenfromboston

    I remember very clearly the day you gyus got him AND how his name came to be. I am again so sorry he’s not with you guys anymore. What a sweet face. Such a loss.

  14. ella

    Aww… man. There’s nothing worse than losing a pet. Their unconditional love and the happiness they give us is immeasurable.
    He had a great life with your family. And he’ll be waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge.

    RIP Bandit.

  15. Janet

    I started following your blog at the same time you adopted Bandit. I’m so sorry to hear you lost him at such a young age. He was loved.

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