This Is A First For Me


Andy, our boxer, had cancer and lived to be 5 years old.  The whole family was at home, and we experienced grief together.  The vet came to our house.  I went to the basement; the kids went to their rooms; Grant stayed with Andy and the vet.  I heard Karin scream.  She had looked out the window when the vet was carrying him to his vehicle.  We comforted each other.

Our first dog, Blackberry, died at age 14, just six months after losing Andy.  Only Grant and I were at home the early January day when we found her lying in bile.  Greg & Karin were both in college.  She had been sick for a while.  It was time.  Again, I went to the basement.  But we had each other to comfort.

At Christmas time, 5 months after Andy died and just weeks before Blackie passed, we acquired a new puppy.  Hershey.  Oh, my. . .  Hershey!  What a demon he was as a puppy!!!!  He dragged Blackberry around on her bed and probably hastened her demise.  Hershey, who became THE Gentleman, lived 11 years.  He was allergic to everything and was on the one and only prescription dog food he could tolerate plus allergy serums and meds which extended his life five years, thanks to Cousin Dr. Mark Herne.  Then he ate mushrooms in the yard.  The next day, he was losing through both ends of his body.  He died in the car on the way to the Emergency Animal Clinic.  Grant and I had each other.

Guinness was my dog, and only my dog.  There was no one to be with him but me.  I didn’t think that would be an issue, but I came home, and there everything was. . .   Guinness was EVERYWHERE!!!!!  As I exited the car, I took out the ramp which had helped me mobilize him into the car last night.  (Was it only LAST night?  It seems like DAYS!!!)  His tie out was on the front tree.  The vase full of grocery bags for our walks was at the door.  A bone was in the front hall, and his leashes hung on the hall tree.  Toys were under my desk.  The cupboard has half a shelf of treats.  A dish of treats sat on the kitchen counter.  The ramp I needed to move him on and off the bed since Sunday was set up in my bedroom.  His crate and dog food bin and bowls are in the master bath.  (Where to put them?)  The sofa in the TV/toy room had a blanket on it to keep his hair from the sofa cushions.  A bath towel was hanging in the guest bath as a hand towel, as he will not steal a bath towel, but he will a small hand towel.  His basket of toys was in the living room next to the back door as well as a throw cover for the fabric loveseat.  Other toys were scattered around the house.  His comb and brush were on the patio, plus a water bowl.  This house was HIS house!  Wailing, I removed most everything from sight.  I remember how upset Karin was when I cleared away all of Andy’s things immediately.  If I had not, the wrenching grief would have gone on and on.  Friends and relatives bewailed that I was alone to bear this grief.  My reaction was — I can handle it.  Nope, I couldn’t handle it!  He was my buddy, my protector, my exercise companion, my guard on trips, my introducer to a world of dog-owning friends.  He.  Was.  My.  Dog.  Before moving to hot Texas, he went everywhere with me!  My car had been his kennel, but he could not be left in a car here.  My home was his home.  His antics and love are seared deep into my heart forever.


About 9awalsh

A genealogist and writer who has uncovered legacy stories which must be told. I also write a blog, Deciphering Life, trying to figure out why life becomes so tangled --
This entry was posted in Dog and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to This Is A First For Me

  1. Michele says:

    Nina my heart is broken for you I can imagine the pain and its too much to bear I am so very sorry for your loss. I guess Karin wanted him to be her dog so there is no more pain and they are free and happy :). Lots of love and hugs to you.


    • 9awalsh says:

      We brought Guinness home 2 weeks before Kevin came home! Karin was rather annoyed that I would compare Guinness to Kevin sometimes, but there were similarities between them! LOL Love and hugs back to you! May you enjoy your trip and be healthy!


  2. So very sorry…reading this with tears…beautifully written…beautiful tribute…When we lost Zeus in February we buried him on our land…but everything was buried with him…could not look at any of his stuff…even buried his 2 beds….I can feel your pain, so feel for you. We will always love our pets, companions..our life…even after 6 months still miss Zeusy every day and he will always be with us….waiting for heaven so we can see them again.


    • 9awalsh says:

      Thank you, Joanne, for your complimentary and sympathetic words. God knows, it wouldn’t be heaven for me if my dogs aren’t there! Hey! Not only are Karin and my Dad welcoming Guinny, but Sharyl is too!!! 🙂


  3. Lynn J. Bates says:

    So very sorry, Nina. We are planning on adding a puppy to our family soon and since I’ve read what you’ve been going through, I wonder…. Never met Guinness but his pictures and your stories make him look like a combination of regal and elegant — until you bring treats around, or squeaky toys; then he’s just a fun, playful pup!


  4. 9awalsh says:

    You will not regret getting a dog. But, I have to say, Guinness was neither regal nor elegant. Hershey was, and Hershey can be seen in one of Guinny’s puppy pix. Guinness was a rapscallion!!! Hershey loved fetch. Guinness only did reverse fetching: he would steal something and make you chase him for it. He was a total goofball. He even recognized the word “goofy” as if it were his name! LOL He had a mind of his own and loved to tease, plus he was VERY strong. I always said, “It’s just a good thing he is cute!”


  5. Diane Toycen says:

    Oh, Nina, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss of your good buddy. The companionship of a pet is one of God’s blessings. I’ve always been a cat person, but can certainly appreciate the same feelings toward a dog. I spend lots of time alone when Dave travels, and there is just something special about having another living thing in the house with me, meeting me when I walk in the door, sitting with me and sleeping beside me. It’s always an adjustment when they are gone.
    Thinking of you and looking forward to seeing you soon.


    • 9awalsh says:

      Thanks, Diane! I realized yesterday that I did not question God when Karin died. I did not question God when my spouse ran off. But I did question God when Guinness died.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s