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.