Tag: in memory
I don’t do it often, but every now and then, when a dog I’ve had the fortune to connect with passes on, I post a little memorial, like this one for Butch, a pug who lived down the road.
Butch’s human, Martha, had to have him put down last week.
Ace and I would run into Butch pretty regularly on our walks around the block since we moved into the neighborhood a few months back.
Usually, we’d see them not far from their front yard, because Butch, at 15, stayed pretty close to home. In addition to possibly having had some strokes and other health problems, he was also blind. And deaf.
He still had life in him, though. A few times, I saw him get playful, with Ace and once with another dog. Even though he couldn’t see them, he’d do a slow spin and do his best to get into a play stance.
But he’d always stop, wagging his tail even before I reached down to scratch him, as if he somehow knew it was coming.
A while back, when she was having back problems, Martha let me take him for a walk along with Ace. She explained the basics to me: Pull up on his leash to support when when he’s going up or down a curb. Try not to let him walk into a telephone pole. But if he does, don’t worry. He’s a resilient little fellow who has gotten good at absorbing the bumps life brings our way.
That resiliency came to an end last week. Seeing her dog constantly panting, losing control of his bowels, getting right up into her face and staring at her as if to send a message, she knew the time had come.
Martha told me the news on Friday night.
I said the words we say at times like those — always inadequate, but even moreso in her case, for I’d seen the strong bond between them, the joy he brought her, and the fine home she provided for Butch.
Feeling not the least bit helpful, I went home and got a copy of my book, “DOG, INC.,” which, while it relates to dog death, is definitely not feel-good, Rainbow-Bridge, chicken-soup type reading.
Instead, it looks at the ever-strengthening bond between people and their dogs, and the extremes humans sometimes go to after they lose a pet — focusing on the newest and most technologically dazzling of those: cloning.
Martha, I know, would never clone her dog, and, if you’ve read the book, you know I would never suggest it. Martha, pained as she was by Butch’s death, didn’t seem to be going over the edge, and I guess I wanted to give her the book because I admired that.
From our short talk Friday night, she seemed to be handling it, probably better than I would. She seemed to have the right approach — focusing not on the loss, not on herself, but on the happy times the two shared. Happy memories beat a stuffed version of your dog, jewelry made from his ashes, or a laboratory-created genetic replica any day, at least as I see it.
It doesn’t make it easy, but I think that having experienced all you can with your dog, having fully appreciated your dog during his or her life, can somewhat blunt the pain of his or her death — knowing the two of you, and that bond, became all it could be. That seemed to be the case with Martha.
I signed the book, “In memory of Butch, a dog savored in life and lovingly remembered in death — as it should be.”
I rang her doorbell and yelled at Ace to sit down — for he tries to enter any door that opens — and when Martha saw him she said, “Oh perfect!”
When your dog dies, decisions have to be made about what to keep and what to jettison. A favorite toy might be comforting to hang on to, but there are some things painful to look at, like the lingering treats that he or she will never be served. It hurts to see it. It hurts to throw it away.
“I’ve got some bacon I was saving for Butch,” she said. “I’d really appreciate it if Ace would eat it.”
I accepted the package, neatly wrapped in tin foil, and carried it down the sidewalk as Ace jumped up and down next to me, acting anything but mournful. I don’t think he paused for a millisecond to appreciate the significance of the bacon. To him, bacon needs no added significance. He gobbled all three strips down, barely chewing, and kept bouncing up and down beside me even when I told him it was gone.
From a dog who had dispensed much of it in his 15 years, it was like one final dose of joy, courtesy of Butch.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 20th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, blind, bond, butch, connection, deaf, death, dogs, euthanized, grieving, health, ill, in memory, losing a pet, love, memorial, mourning, neighbor, north carolina, old dogs, pets, pug, put down, sick dogs, strokes, winston-salem
A dog friend we told you about during our travels was put down last week, at precisely 1:45 a.m. on Friday, after some long goodbyes from his family — George and Kathleen, who bid him farewell at the vet’s office in Virginia, and their daughter Elizabeth, who had a final talk with him via cellphone from California.
Puck was six weeks shy of turning 18.
Blind and deaf for the past two years, with one eye surgically removed, and diagnosed with congestive heart failure, Puck persevered — and did so with dignity, despite the diapers he wore and the daily shots he had to receive.
After months of wondering how they would know when it was time, they knew it was time.
The veterinary staff sent them to a room where they could say their goodbyes. They hugged him, cried a lot, and fed him turkey breast. He wagged his tail. They placed a call to their daughter in California and held the cell phone to Puck’s ear as she said goodbye.
Elizabeth was 7 when they got Puck, and she came up with the name — as in pucker up — because he liked to kiss. She’s 24 now.
A neighbor offered them the dog back then, describing the pup as a poodle. He didn’t look much like a poodle at all. That didn’t matter. They raised and taught Puck, and when he grew old, he, as dogs will do, taught them a thing or two, by example.
Puck was toted upstairs every night, carried downstairs every morning. Despite all his medical issues, the suspected strokes, the epilepsy, Puck was a stoic little guy. He never whined.
Despite all the inconveniences, the diapers, the shots, the veterinary bills, neither did Kathleen and George.
Near the end, Puck didn’t do much more than eat, sleep and cuddle.
Still, George noted, “It’s amazing the void there is now that he’s gone.”
Rest in peace, Puck.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aging dogs, america, animals, dead, death, dogs, dying, elderly dogs, goodbye, grieving, illness, in memory, medicine, mixed breed, old dogs, pets, poodle, puck, road trip, saying goodbye, terrier, travels with ace, veterinary, void
Pete, a dog whose likeness has appeared on ohmidog! since it inception — and a dog whose human played a big role in that inception — died over the weekend at the age of 10-plus.
Baltimore artist Gil Jawetz, who designed the ohmidog! website and helped get it off the ground, posted notice of Pete’s death this week on his website, buskerdog:
“On Sunday, November 28, 2010, after over 10 years of enriching our lives, of spoiling us with his endless love, and of making us laugh, smile, and cry, Pete passed away. He gave us more than he ever could have imagined. He was a muse and a best friend, a confidante and a rock in the storm. He will be profoundly missed for the rest of our lives.”
Pete entered the life of Gil Jawetz and Tracey Middlekauff when the couple found him in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, ten years ago.
“We don’t know how old he was when we found him,” Gil said. “We optimistically hoped he was one but he could have been anything.”
Tracey paid tribute to Pete on her food blog, Tasty Trix, yesterday.
“… Pete was my best friend. Any of you have ever loved a pet with your whole being know exactly what I mean. My relationship with him went deeper than silly words can express … He showed us what it means to be truly good and open and unselfconscious and funny and sweet and noble and artless. He gave us all of himself, fearlessly and completely. I am honored that I had the opportunity to know him for just over 10 years, a time that now seems maliciously brief.”
Pete had degenerative mylopathy and a nasal infection that turned out to be, likely, a tumor. After a seizure on Sunday, his vet suspected the tumor had spread to his brain.
“Rather than put him through more (and stronger) seizures, we took his calm exhaustion following the seizure as a sign that he was ready to go,” Gil wrote in an email. “He spent his last few hours on the floor of the examining room with his head in our laps, staring into our eyes.”
Pete’s image appeared in numerous galleries and art shows, and it has been on ohmidog! ever since Gil, a painter of dogs and other things, designed this website for me. (See the advertisements on the left side.)
“We are beside ourselves with grief, as you can imagine,” Gil wrote. “Our world as it has been for over a decade is utterly changed. The world is a less joyful place for not having Pete in it.”
(Photos: Courtesy of Gil Jawetz)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, artist, baltimore, death, dog, dogs, gil jawetz, grief, in memory, loss, ohmidog!, pete, pets, tracey middlekauff, tribute