Sunday, March 21, 2010

All Dogs Go to Heaven


It's been a while since I blogged but it's been one of those weeks. Not everyone is a pet lover but those who are know the joy of unrestrained love and loyalty from a warm, furry friend.

We moved to our current location fourteen and one half years ago. Our first summer here, my son asked for a puppy for his birthday. We wanted a large dog but one with a reputation for gentleness and intelligence.

I have a dear friend in the dog business and she warned me against golden and Labrador retrievers who have been vastly over bred due to their popularity. Not that there aren't wonderful examples of those breeds out there but they would probably be out of my price range. By some chance of luck we saw someone with a Chesapeake bay retriever at a baseball game. The proud carriage and settled behavior of the dog convinced us. We lucked upon a breeder who had one litter being raised in his own home.

We drove into the mountains and selected a male with reddish brown curly hair. His official name was Gunner and he had a long line of police working forefathers in his pedigree. Gunner is no name for a family dog. In our house nicknames are used more than real names. Within hours my stepson dubbed our new puppy, Schrambie. Most of the time we called him Schram. The vet had fun with that one.

Schram would have turned 14 in April. On Tuesday he didn't eat but he had been doing that once in a while over the last year. But then he didn't eat on Wednesday morning either though he was still drinking. I worried about him while at work and when I returned home, he didn't want to get up at all. I carried water to him and he drank some and looked more alert.

He didn't seem in discomfort so we took turns sitting with him. His conditioned worsened throughout the night and at times I wished I had taken him to the vet. But he was afraid of the doctor's office so I put it off.

I knew by two in the morning he was never going to wake up again. I stayed up all night and woke my daughter at 5:30 to say her farewells. Schram had become her dog after my son went away to college. Before she got dressed and came down stairs to see him, Schram died. I knew he would want to be at home on his favorite rug and was glad I didn't take him to the vet. It was quick for him and without pain except for us.

I rejoice in 14 years with the most loving, loyal pet in the world. He growled at strangers, fought off any male dog on his territory, let all the female dogs visiting him steal all his toys and he carried more frogs and toads than I can count back to the house. He loved the snow and rain and hated the heat.

There's an empty spot in our house and a scar on our hearts. It's been tough to write this week but I'm at a part of my book where people have to step up and be heroes. They have to be willing to sacrifice everything. Some of them only need to be loyal and stand beside their families and friends through hell and beyond. Perhaps when I can think of him without crying, Schrambie will inspire me to catch the deep emotion I need.

Rest in peace, beloved friend.

9 comments:

  1. You have my sympathies. It's so hard to lose a pet. They're real parts of the family.

    Schram sounds wonderful - you'll have so many memories to treasure. You were blessed to have each other in your lives.

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  2. Oh, Sue, I'm sorry! It's wonderful that you had so many years together, and a blessing that it was a relatively quick and painless passing, but the hole he left behind is no smaller for that. You have my deepest sympathy

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  3. Thanks for all the kind thoughts. I know many of you have suffered the loss of a pet. I always say no more because I don't want to go through the heartbreak again. Hug your dog and cat tonight.

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  4. I completely understand, Susan. Almost the same thing happened to us last fall. Although we only had six years with our dog Benji, we loved him like one of the kids. I thought my heart would break.
    So when my niece sent me links to rescue dogs, I resisted looking, but fell in love with a pup. We went and got her (the house was unnaturally quiet!). Lily's not Benji, but she fills an empty space with joy.
    I know you feel like you're not ready for another dog, but helping a rescue dog helped rescue us!
    Sincere condolences.

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  5. Thanks, Cate. We're still a long way from ready to think about another one.

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