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Good dog.

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by HejiraHenry, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Our dog died over the weekend.

    Abby, a black lab-based mutt who began life named "Blossom" – she was no Blossom, though – went to sleep and didn't wake up early Sunday morning.

    She was, as far as we can determine, about 12. My wife and her first husband got her from some friends when she was about 1. The girls named her Abby, I think, as a riff on the Young Frankenstein joke ... Abby Normal.

    She had a lot of old-age white on her snout and a little on her belly in the last year or two. But most of the time, she was still just a big puppy.

    Get her harness and leash out and she'd jump like a young dog with anticipation of getting to walk the the neighborhood. We had similar walking styles. She liked to stop and sniff stuff and pee. I liked to stop and relax while she did her important dog business.

    Abby never met anybody she didn't like, with the possible exception of the guys who came to mow the yard and the Orkin man. She was just being a good guard dog, you know.

    She would never bark when I walked her, even when other dogs were barking at her. She did like to bark at the frogs in the pond behind the house when they'd get too noisy at night ... usually about 10 minutes after I got to sleep.

    Like most dogs, she had different kinds of barks for different situations. The most upset she ever got when I was around was one night when a possum situated himself on the fence, just out of reach. A friend of mine who knows about such things suggests that possums do this because they know it aggravates dogs and it's good sport for them.

    She used to be a very accomplished escape dog. It was just her idea of good sport, I guess, and she often would be back home, sitting cross-legged in front of the garage, by the time I made a loop of the neighborhood looking for her.

    She was very pleased with herself a few weeks ago, when the yard guys (I guess) left the back gate open. She had already made her rounds and was in the back yard again by the time I got home.

    I could tell she had gone for a swim in the pond behind the house, though she was pretty much dried off by the time I got there.

    Later that same day she began to have trouble with her rear legs. She needed ACL surgery (no kidding) once about four years ago and we thought maybe that was the problem. But the vet noticed that she smelled strongly of chemicals (insecticide?) when we took her in ... why we didn't notice that, I dunno. She got better for a while and then got worse again a couple of weeks later.

    Then, Saturday, it was clear she wasn't doing well. By coincidence, both of my stepdaughters were in town and had a chance to spend some good time with Abby. As I think about it, the younger one, who just turned 21, would have been maybe 10 when Abby came to the house to live. She was the dog of their late childhood and journey into early adulthood.

    Even though it was clear she was suffering, she would still wag her tail -- happy to see anybody who came to visit.

    My son-in-law spent an hour or so with her Saturday night, just talking to her and telling her she was a good dog. She was, you know.

    The end finally came Sunday morning. She just quit breathing.

    The next job was mine. The local vet has a guy who'll bury dogs, but I had to get her to the vet's office. I spent a while on the back deck just sitting and talking with her, even brought one of the cats out to say goodbye.

    I wrapped her up with her favorite pink plastic squeaky bone and took her for one final spin of the neighborhood, around the route we'd always walk. Then, down the street to the vet's office. And then goodbye.

    One thing that struck me as I was getting ready to wrap her up to transport ... her ears were perked up. I'm sure there's some post-death physiological reason for that, but it looked as if she'd heard something right before she died.

    My wife said maybe someone said "Abby, let's go play." She would have liked that, I think.
  2. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Sorry, brother... I really feel your loss from that...
  3. FuerteJ

    FuerteJ Active Member

    Let me be one of the first to say, I'm sorry for your loss and know exactly where you're coming from.

    When I was in college, Mollie - the German Shephard I grew up with - died. It was tough. And now that I have my own dog, I can't imagine being without her for more than a weekend away or a vacation or something.

    Be glad she led a good life thanks to you.
  4. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    I'm sorry for your loss, HH.

  5. pallister

    pallister Guest

    Thanks for making me cry, HH.

    Very heartwarming obit. Condolences on your loss.

    My two dogs are 9 and 10; I don't even want to imagine living without them. In fact, I think I'll go pet them right now.
  6. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    HH - Sorry to hear about your loss.

    I was given the family dog I grew up with about 4 years ago. She is about 14 years old as far as we know and it is starting to show. When she finally kicks the bucket it will be terrible. She is the only family I have for 1,600 miles. Not something I look forward to.
  7. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Funny thing, but I think you all know what I mean ... it feels better to write down stuff like this. I guess that's why most of us are in this business to begin with.

    Thanks for the nice thoughts.
  8. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, HH.

    We had a beloved Border Collie die of cancer about two years ago. Like Abby, Zamboni was cheerful and wagging his tail right to the end.

    We've adopted two more dogs since losing him, but I still think of him a lot - and as I type this, I'm looking at a photo of Zamboni with a big goofy grin and Mardi Gras beads around his neck.

    My condolences.
  9. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    HH, that was an awesome ode man. Makes me want to get a dog, so I can go play with it.
  10. kokane_muthashed

    kokane_muthashed Active Member

    Tears, man. Tears.

    Rest in peace, Abby. You'll be missed.
  11. Dan Rydell

    Dan Rydell Guest

    Nice tribute, Henry.

    Here's something worth watching. It's sad, but it's good:

  12. ArnoldBabar

    ArnoldBabar Active Member

    My deepest condolences.

    Last year I lost a 15-year-old golden retriever who had been my best friend through most of my adult life. He died in my arms and it hurt so much I can't describe it. But I've managed to make it about the memories and satisfy myself that I gave him a good life.

    I have a new dog now, and while my old dog was one-in-a-million, it feels OK sharing my life with a new friend. Jake would have wanted it this way.
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