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Go give ol' Fido a big hug

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by MertWindu, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. MertWindu

    MertWindu Active Member

    Because after tomorrow, I can't.

    I'm about to jump on the road to drive 2 and a half hours home so I can be there when we put my boyhood dog, Nick, down tomorrow morning. I generally don't do the personal threads on here, but it's all I can think about right now.

    St. Nicholas was my Christmas present in 1993, when I was 11 years old. He's all black with a little white tuft on his chest, a springer spaniel-gordon setter mix. He's one of the smartest dogs I've ever known, and while I certainly am biased, several years ago we sat down and made a list of his "vocabulary" - the words that he recognized. Some of them are typical (walk, food, no), and some of them are pretty cool (he loves cheese, so that, also treats, the names of everyone in my family, the neighbors' names, the mailman's name - no attacks, just biscuits). He's also one of the nicest dogs I know. He barks his droopy lips off every time a car pulls into the driveway, but no matter who it is they get kisses. We worried that he'd be useless as a watchdog, but then we realized that anyone trying to break into the house would be so overwhelmed with licks that we'd get the upper hand.

    Nick's about 13 now, and for the last year he's been getting shakier and shakier. While I know the dog that greeted me every day when I came home from school is still in there somewhere, he's been having trouble being himself lately. He's pretty lethargic, with arthritis racking his legs and making it difficult to walk the first few minutes after he gets up. He can't really run too much anymore, and has some trouble with the stairs and hardwood floors in my house. When I last saw him, he was pacing a lot, and making a lot of circles before he finally lay down. The vets were thinking it might be a sign of some mental illness, until they observed that he went in both directions with the circles. So my thinking is that he just knows how much it'll hurt to get down and get back up that he's trying to put it off.

    That spirit, though, was still there when I saw him a few weeks ago. He started wagging himself silly when he saw me walk through the door, and stretched his head out over the barrier my Mom and stepfather created to keep him from going down the stairs so that he could kiss my face. And of course, because he's got his own little human traits, he knew that the next thing he got was a slice of cheese. He pretty much gets cheese for everything, whether it's for coming inside quickly, someone arriving, or the Patriots scoring a touchdown.

    He gets so scared during thunderstorms. The crashes of thunder send him under the dining room table, and he shakes until it's over. He loves snow. Every winter he has gone out and plowed through the powdery stuff, suddenly going from all-black to all-white. He has very fuzzy paws, so when he comes back inside, all the ice and snow puts taps on his shoes, and it sounds like freakin' Riverdance until the stuff melts.

    He has never truly snapped at anyone, and very rarely even growls. If he does, it's usually because someone tried to take away a chewy meat stick while he was holding onto it for later. And all it takes is a stern word to get him to relax. We have never trained him, beyond paper training. When Nick had just arrived in our house, those darned hardwood floors turned him into Wile E. Coyote when he tried to run. Feet flying in every direction but forward. He finally got the hang of it, and also roughed up the paths between all the important spots in the house enough that he could walk confidently.

    On Saturday, as I got ready for a football game, my Mom called me to tell me what I knew was coming soon. Nick had collapsed during a walk, and although he got back up and came in, he wouldn't eat or drink. So they took him to the vet's, but there's not much they can do now. We've officially reached the end of the road for St. Nicholas, and while I've known for a good year that this day wasn't too far away, I'm still not ready. Nick has been there for a lot of my life. I can still hear him howling in unison with my saxophone as I played carols on Christmas Eve. He really hated B-flat, always made him croon.

    I made a joke in an away message tonight about my childhood being over because Doogie Howser and Dr. Quinn are going to hook up on How I Met Your Mother tomorrow night. But the thought was already there. I'm 23 now. Nick is going to come within a week and a half of seeing my 24th. I'm holding back a whole lot of tears right now, because I'm still at the office. I don't know why I felt I had to write this here, of all places. And if you're still reading, well, thanks. And pay attention to the title, please. While I don't regret not spending more time with Nick - he led a really full, great life, and brought me a ton of joy - I'm still not ready to believe that I won't get anymore kisses from him, that he won't be waiting at the top of the stairs, that we don't need to buy anymore American Cheese.
  2. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    Hey ... losing someone that means that much to you is worth a thread here. Always.

    Sorry for your loss. It stinks, but at least you'll be able to give a proper farewell.

    Take care and know that the outlook will soon improve ...
  3. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    jesus mert, i'm so sorry, man

    my pup has cancer right now. he's been getting steak and bacon to keep his weight up, so he thinks this cancer thing is the greatest thing in the world.

    he's done well, twice getting the tumor cut out, but it's up in his jaw and spreading. when that time comes, well, i'm not thinking about that yet
  4. carrie

    carrie Active Member

    I lost my little man over the summer. Hardest thing I've ever had to endure in my life.

    I'd like to say it will get easier - and hopefully for you, it will.

    I still relive everything in my dreams at least once a week. Which is good, because that means it's down from three/five/seven times a week.

    Months later, I still can't accept that he's gone. I know that will go away.
    You'll feel the same way, but don't repress it like I have.

    I can't go to his gravesite. I can't look at pictures without crying. I can't tell stories without tearing up. He just meant that much to me.

    So keep his memory alive - tell your stories of him whenever you can.

    But just know that some people won't understand. They won't get that it's so much more than signing a piece of paper and watching the breathing stop.

    I'm so, so, sorry.
  5. Garner

    Garner Member

    I really don't want to be the guy to point it out, because I also lost a dear friend a few years back, but having this thread next to the one about the husband being caught having sex with the family dog is the funniest thing i've seen in 8 years.
  6. poindexter

    poindexter Well-Known Member

    lol - agreed.

    I assumed this was a thread on foreplay.
  7. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Mert, you have my sympathies, completely and genuinely. My first wife and I lost her great and wonderful CJ (beautifully sweet lab) at the age of 11 or 12. Then she got a black lab, named her CJ2, and had to put that one down a month ago. Those two dogs have been her children, since she couldn't have any of her own.
  8. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    My dog is by far the most popular mammal in my apartment, and rightfully so. I know I won't have another dog when he goes, which, since his life expectancy is about 17, won't be for a while yet.

    Give Nick a hug for us and be thankful for what he brought you. My Sparky Boy will receive the same.
  9. GuessWho

    GuessWho Active Member

    Our little pup is pushing 12, I think, and is still doing fine. But I obviously know the day is going to come and I don't want to even think about it. It's going to rip up the Mrs. as well as our two 20-something kids. And I'm pretty sure I'll be the worst of the bunch.
  10. Norman Stansfield

    Norman Stansfield Active Member

    I had a German Shepherd-Husky mix from the time I was 10 until I was a junior in college.

    Greatest dog ever. Fun, gentle, loving, all that. Had some health episodes later in life, the last of which ultimately led to us having to put him down.

    One of the top two or three hardest things I've ever had to go through. I'll never forget him getting into my dad's car, all excited because he loved going for rides, and watching him looking out the window as they drove away toward the vet.

    I was a wreck for the next week. That's also another reason why I'll never have another dog. I don't ever want to go through that again.
  11. Yawn

    Yawn New Member

    Dogs are better friends than most humans. It's damn painful.

  12. BigRed

    BigRed Active Member

    I'm very sorry to hear what you are going thru, Mert. It's one of the tougher things you'll ever have to do.
    I had a cocker spaniel named Chuck - a stray that our family rescued from the pound when I was in sixth grade. He lived until the spring after I got out of college... 11 years, and he was a couple years old when we got him.
    I'll never forget it. I was on a road trip covering a basketball tournament, and I happened to watch the end of "My Dog Skip" in the hotel room that Sunday morning.
    When I got home, my folks called me and told me that Chuck had passed on. It hit me hard, and it hit me even harder when I told my girlfriend (now my wife) about it - especially when I realized I'd watched where "Skip" died in the movie that morning. I bawled my eyes out, and I'm not ashamed to say it.
    It's very,very tough.
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