February 3rd 2012 8:03 pm
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Monday, January 30th while en-route to pick up my dear Baby's ashes, I came across a traffic back-up on a busy street. It turned out that two dogs -- a Pitbull Terrier puppy about 4 months old, and an adult Setter-mix were in the middle of the road.
As is unfortunately the usual case, no one had decided to pull-over & assist the dogs, the %$#@* motorists, mostly mothers heading to a nearby elementary school to pick up their kids, just tried to dodge hitting the dogs.
The puppy was oblivious to the cars, whereas the Setter seemed to know it shouldn't be on the street, but yet it didn't want to leave the puppy alone.
I pulled over & hopped out of my car with a slip-lead I always keep in the car for such purposes, and with a pretty unpleasant look on my face I let the oncoming motorists know that they'd better stop, then I changed to a 'happy face' & voice to try to get the puppy to come to me. She did, I got the slip-lead on her & then tossed her into my car so that I could focus on the Retriever. I got her off the road, then contemplated what to do with them -- neither had tags on, I didn't want to take them home, but nor did I want to drop them off at the local shelter & risk the dogs I'd just potentially saved ending up being euthanized. Thankfully, a few moments later the owner of them walked-up to me & claimed his dogs.
He said he lived down the block & had just let them out of the house to go to the bathroom about 10 minutes prior. I was of course already extremely emotional at having to go pick up the ashes of one of my own dogs, and here I was, dealing with a guy whose two dogs were almost killed, due to his irresponsibility. Luckily, I just gave him a hard look & told him that both dogs had been in the middle of the street (a relatively busy throughoughfare -- Main Street in LaVerkin Utah), and that puppies are curious and do like to explore.
Then I got into my car & left to pick up the ashes of my Baby.
Had Baby not died, I would have been over 100 miles away at that time of day, and had I not been there to intervene, I'm quite sure that at least the Pitbull puppy would have been hit by a car & killed, maybe the Setter too.
January 28th 2012 12:47 pm
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Today -- 12 years, 6 months and 1 week after Baby came into my life, I took her to the vet to have her euthanized, and then just dropped her off for cremation.
I'm in the eye of my personal storm right now -- the decision was made, carried out, she's physically gone, and for better or worse, I have nothing I need to do until I pick her ashes up in a couple days. As quiet as she's gotten in the past year or so, it's easy to fall into disbelief & think she's just in the other room, on the bed snoozing under a comforter.
After the death of Nike in 2009, Baby became the lone entity that I shared so many memories & important events with -- moving across the country to California, then moving to SW Utah. We shared the experiences of 4 different homes in 3 different states. Human family was long gone, acquaintances, friends & girlfriends come & go, but Baby-Girl & her brother Nike were the one constants in my life that I could count on as being there for the long-term.
Unfortunately, a dog's natural lifespan doesn't come close to that of a human, but they're so much smarter than us, they can live a full-life in 10 or 15 years. The death of a faithful, wonderful dog should teach us a lesson about life, but unfortunately for me, I've already learned that lesson several times over, so the death just seems like cruel punishment that I wonder if I really deserve.
I truly thought & expected that Baby would be gone last September, but thanks to a lot of veterinary work, she survived the month & did fairly well afterwards, until the combination of her longtime medial maladies as well as what seemed to be basic age-related difficulties resulted in her being alive, but not having any sort of quality of life. That reality made me start to consider what was absolutely something I couldn't consider. Over the past week, she lost interest in food, and eventually even water. I couldn't let her sleep on the bed because it's about 2 feet above the ground, and she was no longer able to find the doggy stairs leading up or down. She'd spend the night restless, wandering around & bumping into the walls, and last night I tried to keep her in the bed with me but eventually she decided to get up & wander again. I had to put her bedding, food & water into the walk-in shower stall just so that she couldn't keep wandering around & bump into things, and when I woke up (or I should say got up, since I didn't really sleep) this morning, I just kind of accepted what needed to be done, and I did it.
While I have FOUR other dogs at home & love them very much, the reality is that Nike & Baby were & still are in a totally different league. I'm proud to say that in terms of being the human companion responsible for providing them with a great life, they/I/we were lucky enough to get that accomplished -- they were never lost, never had a need to be afraid, always plenty of toys, treats, exercise and medical care when needed, and I'm glad I was able to provide them with that, though it pales in comparison to what they provided me over the years.
I really, really wish I had some religious beliefs, so I could be thinking that she's re-united with Nike & lots of other dogs we all had a part in helping, but unfortunately, all I know is that her suffering is over with, and mine is just beginning. But if anyone needs to suffer, I'd rather have it be me & not her.
I'll get her ashes on Monday, and they will be combined with those of Nike, so that I'll just have one urn to move back & forth between the bedroom & living room each day, & take with me on overnight trips.
Like was the case with Nike, this will be the last diary entry/update for my dear Pretty Baby Girl. Who knows how many people will see it, how many people will understand the loss & emotions, and how long it'll be on the Internet. The reality is that all of us are mere blips in the big picture of life, but in the blip, that is and was *my* life, Baby's life & death are tremendous events.
July 21st 2011 9:41 pm
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12 years ago today, Baby was brought to me! I won't repeat the whole story -- you see it in her regular info, plus the 10 YEARS! diary entry.
I still remember that day in 1999 very well. The people were so sad & teary, it made me that way too. But they chose to give her up, which is something I can't imagine doing. After her 10 year anniversary with me, I did briefly try to search for her prior family via Google, but found nothing. I'm sure they would have been happy to learn that she was still alive and doing pretty well.
I wonder if they ever think about her?
The hardest thing for me to accept about my having Baby-Girl for 12 years now is that it means she's probably, based on my prior calculations, 14 years old now. Suddenly, I want to revise my estimation (based in-part on some medical records given to me with her 12 years ago) that she was approximately 2 years old then.
In some ways, she does act 14 -- she just hangs out & snoozes most of the time, seems to be partially deaf (I use a very high-pitched voice to talk to her now -- good thing I don't have any nearby neighbors, or they'd really wonder about me), and her vision is going, especially at night. If I'm standing just a few feet behind her & call her, she hears me, but has no clue where I am until I move in front of her & sometimes wave my hands. Sad. But her quality of life is still good, as she's slow, but mobile, and doesn't take any crap from the many other dogs in our home -- all of whom despite having issues of their own, know to respect & tolerate her.
When the weather is nice enough for it, she does seem to enjoy going for walks around the block with her new (adopted in Summer 2010) sister Marnie. When the weather is not nice enough for it, she enjoys resting in the air-conditioned house or in front of the fireplace, but as she's done for 12 years now, she always makes her way to the bed when I am there.