Sunday, November 04, 2012

In Memorandum

"What kind of dog is that?"- a perfect stranger

"His mother was a registered  Australian Shepard who got out of her yard while in heat and found the nearest male. We think it was a Bouvier. Since his mom was only about 40 pounds we assumed he wouldn't be so big either."- me

"He is so beautiful!"-stranger   
This is my dog Gus. He was with me through thick and thin for fourteen and a half years. 
I had to shear him like a sheep at least three times a years because his fur would get so long and he would be incredibly hot. It could be snowing outside and he would inside panting. All that damn fur. 
Gus was a stubborn dog and would often disagree with me in his last few years about whether or not he should be stealing food off the kitchen table. For almost his entire life he was very well behaved in regards to food and would never steal any of it off a counter or table which he could easily reach. Then something switched in his brain and he wanted food all the time. 
Gus decided early on in his life that water was bad. Try as I might to get him to dip his paws into a lake or stream he would bark at me. Goofy dog. 
He would howl as a siren passed our house or bark at the one neighbor he hated as if she was going to murder us all. Gus was definitely smarter then your average dog too. 
His vocabulary of known spoken words was often very surprising and very extensive.  
I loved him and took his presence for granted. He was always there. 
Sometime late in the month of this past August, blood would occasionally show up on the floor. I discovered that it was coming out of his nose. When I asked my neighbor, who is a veterinarian, what it could be, he listed off some very horrible sounding things. 
I have had my share of death over my lifetime. Whether it was elderly relatives passing on, a pet who had lived a good life. I have even been the hand of death at my last job. The tricky part of death with an animal is knowing when it is the right time. Letting the animal still having it's dignity without causing it to be overly pathetic. 
For the month of September I watched Gus everyday. I cried many tears over the mere thought of losing him. And yes, I cleaned up a lot of blood splatters too. 
Thursday October 25th 2012 dawned and I knew it was the day I had long been dreading.
 Gus wasn't eating. He wasn't drinking. He was just sleeping and oozing blood out of his nose. I let my neighbor know. And then I watched Gus all day. I spoiled him rotten too. I put vanilla frosting in front of him which he gulped up. I gave him candy corn M&Ms.  But he stayed there on the kitchen floor not moving from his spot for most all the day. At 6 pm Gus was suddenly up off the floor, and smiling his dopey grin. He even waged his tail at me. How do animals always know their time has come? My neighbor came over at 7 pm with his veterinarian doctor bag and he gave Gus a shot to relax. And then he gave him the shot that would ease his suffering and end his life. I never left Gus's side. And I always had my hand on him. I felt his heart takes it's last beats.
this is what I have left of my 70 or so pound dog. A collar and leash. One paw print and a cherry wood box full of his ashes. It is so odd.

Good bye Gus. 
We love you so much and miss you every day. The house is so quiet without your dog tags clinking.