We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, November 27. 2018
I have many more Iceland pictures to post, but I've been busy. We left knowing our pet bulldog was on her last legs. She'd been diagnosed with congestive heart failure 2 weeks prior to our trip. Making the decision on what to do with her was easy, Mrs. Bulldog said we'd go and let a friend watch our baby. Everything worked out for the best, and we came home to a happy pup, all of 12 1/2 years old. With Thanksgiving coming, she'd get to see all her favorite family members. We took our annual picture on the beach, which she's featured prominently in for all of her years. She was pleased to see her bull terrier cousin, her Nanny and Poppy, and all the people who made her happy over the years. She had even taken a trip down the shore to see my family.
I guess she'd said her good-byes, because at about 9:45 last night she managed to jump up and sit next to Mrs. Bulldog - her place of prominence - only to slide down and lay on the floor, where she expired shortly afterward. We cried a little, then prepared her for this morning, when we took her to be cremated.
The real pain for me occurred this morning. Expecting her to greet me with pure happiness, knowing the day was about to start and she'd have friends around her. But I knew it wasn't happening. I expect to hear her claws clicking on the hardwood floors, a little bark to say she's ready for food, or requesting to go out. It will take a few days to get used to the silence, having one less body in the house. I had to skip work. As I told a friend, I've been to this rodeo before, having put down our last dog 14 years ago. When you make the decision to put down a pet, versus having one pass naturally in front of you, the impact is different. I'm not sure why, but it has certainly affected me deeply.
No matter what, and I don't care how cliche it sounds, the reality is dogs give back far more than they take. The hardest part of having one as part of the family really is saying goodbye. I can think of every time I complained about having to get up and care for her. The baths I gave her, cutting her claws and the fights she gave me over that, taking her to the vet, all the little things which were annoyances in my everyday life but were really an honor to provide for such a loving pet. I'll never trade the moments of lying on the floor or couch with her, soundly sleeping with her head on my feet, or the fun walks she used to take when she still could. The playful way she'd wrestle with the boys when they were all younger. We didn't allow begging for food, but when she reached 11, she got whatever she wanted. I'd complain to her as she stared at me expecting just a little bite. She always got a taste, and I appreciated her presence. Even if all she wanted from me was food.
I wish all of you the best with your pets. Love them, and enjoy them. I doubt we'll get another. Mrs. Bulldog wants to travel more, and with both of us working out of the house, it's not fair for the dog to be alone all day. They certainly love us, and we owe them.
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Not the first to say this, but —
The cruel fact is that we have them for part of our lives, but we are everything to them for all of their lives.
As I have said before, they always break our hearts in the end.
Someone at Maggie's once commented that grief is the price we pay for love. How true.
Hope you have a quiet solitary place to let the tears flow as you adjust to losing her.
Awfully sorry about your beloved bulldog.
Please be comforted in knowing that you provided her with a great home, love and life.
I'm sure it is painful now but I hope you get another dog in the near future. Busy as you are dogs are great for you and you for them.
My adult son has a pair of pet rats. He says that they have more personality than any dog we or he have ever owned. Plus, of course, they require much less food.
Dogs...the definition of unconditional love.
Don't know where this came from but it fits:
"Yet dogs are trouble.
They run away when they should stay put. They roll in dead stuff. Stink. Bark. Kill chickens. Chew furniture. Jump up on new pants.
And throw up on the kitchen floor.
Just like any other good friend.
And, in the end, when they die, they break your heart."
I'm so sorry, Mr. Bulldog. Losing pets takes a little chunk of our hearts with them when they go. I'm with Will Rogers:
“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
Been through this many times; never any easier. Kipling wrote about it:
There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Of course, Kipling also wrote:
When the Man waked up he said, 'What is Wild Dog doing here?' And the Woman said, 'His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.'
Personally, I'm willing to deal with the pain to have the companionship and love. ..bruce..
Oh, Bulldog, so sorry to hear about your beautiful dog. My husband and I had a 120 lb. Akita that went around the same time, 12 1/2 years. It hurt so much we swore we would never get another. Well here I am with a 9 year old Shiba Inu who I absolutely adore. Never say never.
Sorry about your pup. With our last one, we couldn't let her go on in pain. We were lucky enough to find a mobile vet to come to our house to put her to sleep, and the vet agreed with my request to sedate her before sending her on. It's a little thing that most vets won't do, but I wanted my friend's ending to be as peaceable as possible.
So four years later, I think we're finally ready to get another dog.
Thank you, everyone!
Thanks for this, bfwebster. I love Kipling's writing and I'd forgotten his poem. As much as his poem is a warning, he shows what a blessing it is to have the opportunity to love, and be loved, so fully.
"Bury me beside my dogs,
The dogs I loved and knew,
So as in life, they'll never be
Short of a bone or two."
Beautiful posts from all your commenters, and all on the mark. I lived almost all my life with dogs, only went two periods of time without one, and now am living with my last one who was rescued from a kill pound. She is the easiest, sweetest one of all the many, which I believe God means she was meant to be my last, because I do not want her to outlive me. When she goes, I will have her cremated and spread her ashes in the place she loved to run, so that I'll have a place to visit in the very last years of my life if I am fortunate to do so. I have many humans to love, and who love me, but no one will ever be able to replicate or explain the love of a dog.
My condolences on your loss, it only hurts when you lose something important.
I lost a good friend of 15 1/2 years this summer but I still smile when I think of one particular picture I have of him - he'd lay next to my chair and occasionally let out a godawful stinky blast and then he'd look over his shoulder at me and give me the most disapproving look of disappointment as if chiding me for my breech of etiquette so much so that I almost felt like I should apologize for my indiscretion. RIP Stinky.
My condolences on your loss BD. Losing a dog is tough. Here's a poem that helped me through the loss of my last dog:
Where to Bury A Dog?
Ben Hur Lampman - 1925
Beneath a cherry tree, where, in its proper season
The cherry strews petals on the green lawn of his grave,
Or beneath any flowering shrub.
Beneath such a tree or shrub he slept, or lifted his head to challenge some intruder.
These are good places, in life or in death.
Yet it is a small matter,
For if the dog be well-remembered,
If sometimes he leaps through your dreams, actual as in life,
Eyes kindling, laughing, begging,
It matters not at all where that dog sleeps.
On a hill where the wind blows, the trees roaring,
Or beside a stream he knew in puppy hood,
Or in the flatness of a pasture lane where cattle grazed,
Is all one to the dog,
And all one to you.
Nothing is gained and nothing is lost if memory lives.
But… there is a place to bury a dog.
If you bury him in this spot he will come to you when you call;
Come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death,
And down the well-remembered path to your side again.
Another dog will not resent his coming, for he belongs there.
People may scoff at you who see no slightest blade of grass bent by his footfall,
Who hear no whimper;
People who never really loved a dog.
Smile at them, for you shall know something that is hidden from them,
Something well worth the knowing…
The one best place to bury a dog is in the heart of his master.
The House Dog's Grave (Haig, an English bulldog)
by Robinson Jeffers
I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.
So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.
I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.
But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read - and I fear often grieving for me -
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.
You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope that when you are lying
Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that's too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.
And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided....
But to me you were true.
You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.