I never wanted to see him suffer and, until recently, he didn't suffer much. Last night he was as spirited as ever at feeding time. But, otherwise his whole demeanor had drastically changed. He was running into things. Walking under bushes and rubbing the side of his head into the ground. There was a constant grumble. So, enough.
We did all we could, longer than any one expected and far longer than most people thought was reasonable. But, I don't regret doing any of it. We gave him the best (and longest) life we could and - consequently - the best death we could.
Parks is buried at the edge of the woods at the far end of our back yard. Charlie and Nala came to watch as Jennifer and I finished shoveling the dirt over him. They briefly sniffed around the fresh mound as we walked away, then they followed us back to the house.
Rest in peace Parks. You were a lucky stray. We were lucky to have you. Good-bye.
Note: Parks is mentioned throughout many posts tagged as "Home Life" in this blog. But, the story of his last year of life is basically told in posts on February 12, 2010 / August 1, 2009 / April 19, 2009.