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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Man's Best Friend

Ah, man's best friend.  What can I say to disagree with this.  I love dogs...any kind of dogs.  I was fortunate to have had two in my life and they were indeed the "love's of my life".  Our first dog or rather our daughter's dog was the runt of the litter.   I knew even though she said she would take care of him, I would be the one to REALLY take care of him.  His name was Tyson and we only had him for 7 years. During that time, he was hit by a car which left him with seizures which in the end would be the cause of his death.  He took medicine to control his seizures but it never stopped them.  If you have ever seen an animal have seizures then you know what I am talking about...if you haven't be glad because it is heart breaking.  He was a very sweet and loving dog but never seemed right after he was hit. I believe he was blind because he would chase balls and relied upon his senses to find them. I tried to find a photo of him, but I couldn't locate one.  I believe his photos are in one of the many boxes of photos that I have categorized but could not find.  He was a mix of a Labrador and a terrier but looked exactly like a black lab.

I never thought I would recover from his death, leaving his bed and food bowls out for over a month after he died because I could not bear to see them gone from where he ate and slept everyday.  He would die in my arms after a week of severe seizures.

Meet Josie...

My Josie ~ the love of my life
I waited over a year before I decided to get another dog.  This time she would be a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix.  Her coloring was like that of a yellow lab but her face was shaped like that of a Golden Retriever and instead of having large paws, she had very delicate small ones like that of a Golden Retriever.  Oddly, the first time I saw her she was outside laying on the back of another Labrador sleeping.  It was such an adorable sight!  She would also be the runt of the litter and never grow to the size of most Labradors and keep her girlish figure of 51 pounds nearly all of her life.  Her birthday was one day before mine...another sign she was destined to be with me!  And mine she was, following me from room to room even if I was only to be gone for a second.  At night, she would jump up upon the foot of our bed and lay there for about 20 minutes and would always jump back down to her bed onto the floor in her corner contented that we were all together.  I suppose she just wanted to make sure we were tucked in. HAHA

She was like my child and went with us wherever we went.  She only spent two visits in a kennel because I could not bear to leave her there.  I would make husband take her after the first visit because I could not stand watching her as she tried to escape the vet's office and the way her pleading eyes would look back at me when they dragged her to the kennel (and drag they did). The two times I did leave her, when I went to pick her up the vet would tell me she was such a happy and cheerful dog who greeted them every morning.  They would say they never had any problems with her...they loved her as much as I did.

At that time, we lived about 5 hours from our hometown and when we went to visit or if I had to go to help out with my husband's parents or mine she always went with me and would jump into the floorboard with her head under the seat.  She hated to sit on the seat of the car because it scared her so she was content in her small space behind my seat on her comfy blanket, head tucked under the seat.

She lived to be 12 years old.  True to what I have been told, you can never tell how sick a dog is until they refuse to eat.  That is when I noticed something was wrong.  Her appetite decreased and she developed a horrible cough.  When we took her to the vet, he said she had a spot on her lung and gave her two rounds of antibiotics which helped but never completely took her cough away.  This went on for about a year until one day she quit following me around and just lay on the floor. She struggled to get up, and quit jumping upon our bed.  Her cough had worsened and  the medicine (steroids) wasn't helping.  In the end she would go to the vet for more tests because I knew she was getting worse.  When husband went to pick her up the vet said she had gone into respiratory distress and if we took her home she would more than likely die before the night was over.  So, husband called me from the vet told me the news and came to pick me up to take me back to see her and talk with the vet about what we would do next.

What she did next amazed me.  Upon seeing me she tried with all her might to get off the table to get to me, something she hadn't done for sometime.  I went to her and held her and knew immediately that she was dying. She labored to breathe and could barely catch her breath but even as she labored to breathe, she looked up at me and smiled her sweet little smile.  I couldn't stand it any longer and agreed with our vet that we would put her to sleep. I did not want her to suffer any longer.  So, again my dog died in my arms.  I was devastated and once again found myself  in grief.  That was 3 years ago and even now, I grieve for her and my heart feels heavy with sadness.  You know, you keep expecting them to hop upon your bed or to follow you like before.

She Rules...This was her sofa and did not want to share with me!!!

Where she always waited for us when we were gone.

Several of my blog friends have recently lost their pets and each time I hear of a pet loss, it brings me back to the two I've lost, the unconditional love they gave me, their faithfulness and the joy they gave me while they were with me.  It never gets easier and I suppose there are those of you who after experiencing losing your pet would shut yourself off from having another one.  But for me, I want another and even if I have to go through watching them leave me all over again I'll still feel like nothing compares to having the love of a dog or any animal.

To all of you who have lost a beloved pet, one of our fuzzy friends my heart goes out to you and if I could say or do anything to ease the sadness that you are feeling I would.  All I can offer is the voice of someone who has been there. I can tell you that it does get easier, that one day you will be able to think about them without crying, that you will be able to remember them for the love and joy they brought to you, and that your heart will smile and sing again in remembrance of the gifts they brought to you.


  1. Dear Kris,
    I can imagine how sad it is to lose the beloved dog!

    My dog - from a animal shelter in Spain - is living with us since six years. She came to us when she was ten months.

    ♥ ♥ ♥

  2. Such a heartfelt post. Dogs always have such a special place in our homes. I am on my fifth, well sixth really, as we has two Springer Spaniels together at one time. I loved them all to distraction. Our present sweet Prince is sitting by my feet while I type, he is a bit stinky at the moment as he has been racing through the woods, but he is gorgeous just the same. I think you aught to plan your new furry pal.

  3. Oh, how I can empathise with you Kris. Our Ben, a labrador retriever like yours, gave us 14 happy years. He was a lovely dog but he could also be very trying at times. From time to time he would escape and he had to be rescued from the police station on several occasions and once he was kidnapped (dognapped)for 5 days. It was only because we announced his disappearance on the local radio that we got him back. We will never forget the day the vet told us that his end had come and he died in my arms. Our children still like to tell stories of his mad adventures from when he used to come with us oon our annual holiday. You are right that the day does come when you can remember tham and laugh rather than cry.

  4. dear Kris,
    its an amazing coincidence, but this morning i wrote something about my dog that died 12 years ago... sometimes i write blogposts and won`t post before i feel somehow ready for it.
    you are right about the love one gets from a dog. its impossible to compare ...
    you gave me some tears tonight my friend.
    i hope you `ll get another dog soon.
    i think i will. it is good for the children. and i know it will be good for me too

    love from Norway

  5. Bodhi is the runt of the litter, too! (And the most adorable, in my humble opinion...but I'm not the only one who thinks so, mind you!)

    And yes, he is, indeed, the love of my life!

    My sister's dog died last year and it rocked her world. Ah, such a risk when we allow ourselves to love so deeply...and dogs return that love 10fold, don't they?!

    Lovely post, Kris.

  6. Dogs bring so much joy to our lives. Equally important is how much we bring to theirs. You are the perfect candidate to rescue a dog, because you are such a loving dog owner. So I say go for it. It will be beneficial to you and some very lucky dog.

  7. Oh, Kris! What a sweet face she had!! I love dogs, but currently we have two cats. The oldest cat will be 17 this July. She is such a sweetie. Thank you for the visit and the book recommendations. I have put them on my wish list. Hope you have a grand day! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  8. our pets are our children, we love them as much as we love our kids...what wonderful and sweet, sweet dogs you have sad when they pass on, but we know that sooner or later it's inevitable....thank-you for sharing your lovely pets with us...

  9. What a sweet post, and loving memory. Thanks for sharing Kris.

  10. So sweet. Our pets do make such a difference in our lives, with so much love and affection!

    We lost our Golden just over a year ago - we miss him every day!

    Thanks for sharing Kris.

  11. You know this post made me cry. Last week was a year already since I lost my baby Buddy....2 days later we had another dog. A beautiful but CRAZY German Shepherd who a year later still drives me but. All 3 of my dogs are my life...they are my kids. What a sweet post Kris. Reminds us to hug our pups a little tighter today :-)


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