October 25th 2004 10:30 pm
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This is Bern's Mom writing..
I was just going through the web pages of all my furkids, past and present, and when I got to Bern, my heart kind of got a "catch" in it. I miss him more than what I thought.
Bern really was my "Velcro Boy", and even now, it seems like I can sense him on the floor next to my chair.. I would reach down and run a fingernail down the line of white hair on his head down to his eyes and he would almost "purr" because it felt so good, I guess.
I didn't really get to say goodbye to him. He went in for x-rays on his hip and leg due to a limp that he had developed two weeks previously. I gave him a little hug before I left him at the vet's office because I had planned on picking him up again in about an hour or so..
Dr. Sue called me at home and said she had bad news for me and my heart sunk.. Bern had a fast spreading/invasive bone cancer. There were three options: pain medicine, chemo, or amputation.. all of which would involve eventual pain and would only give him a matter of a few more months to live.
Dr. Sue was always Bern's doctor and I asked her if it was her dog, what would she do? Her answer was the same as what I had been thinking and that was since Bern was still sedated for the x-rays, to go ahead and put him all the way under. I have a flight of stairs to get into my house and because of the pain that Bern would be experiencing, it wouldn't have been fair to him to subject him to the invasive and painful medical treatments and the struggle up the stairs just to make me feel good and keep him with me for a few short months.
I told Dr. Sue to go ahead with the final act.. and I would prepare his grave.
I went out to my field where my other furkids from over the years are buried and I dug Bern's grave.. I stayed strong in my emotions until I got to the vet's hospital and two aides brought Bern out to me, carrying him on a stretcher.. He was wrapped in a blanket and they took him to my car.
On the way home, I stopped at my neighbor's house and between stomach -wrenching sobs, I asked him to help me carry Bern out to the field. We put Bern in his grave and I thanked the man and told him that I would like to do the rest by myself.
I had already brought a new tennis ball and a pair of scissors, along with an envelope. I cut some hair from the white tip on Bern's tail and from his chest and placed it in the envelope. I put the tennis ball between Bern's front feet, kissed him goodbye and covered up his face with the blanket.
Later on, I planted a Willow tree over his gravesite, just as I've planted trees over all of the furkids final resting places.
I've never told anyone about putting the tennis ball with Bern, because everytime I think of it, I still cry, as I'm doing right now.. But maybe by writing this, I can let go a little more.. but, boy.. it sure does still hurt.
September 16th 2004 2:13 pm
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The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote last year for two canine websites. By observing Bern's actions, I am convinced that canines are a lot more intelligent than most of the general population gives them credit for being.
Willow (Bern's mom)
Over the years, I've observed a variety of emotions, actions, and almost hard-to-believe incidents with my dogs. The following is an example of memory and comprehension demonstrated by Bernie (a Border Collie puppy that I rescued from an abusive owner). It was at the tender age of only seven weeks old that he joined our doggie family, which consisted at that time, of Ruby (a very old St. Bernard/Collie, who incidentally, was a rescued doggie), and Nokie, a 5 yr. old Golden Retriever.
Bern learned good habits from both Nokie and Ruby, but Nokie was his best buddy and mentor. When Bern was five, Nokie died suddenly of what was most likely a brain aneurysm. Arriving home one day from a trip to the beach with Bern and Nokie, we (hubby and I), opened the car doors to let the dogs out for their normal racing and running through the field and rolling in the grass to loosen any traces of the beach sand from their coats. While unloading the car, I looked out to check on the dogs. Bern was standing near-by, and Nokie was lying motionless out in the middle of the field. There was no response when I called out his name. Hubby and I, along with Bern, ran to where Nokie was lying, only to find that our Nokie boy was gone.
I won't dwell on the shock of our appalling discovery; instead, I want to tell you about Bern. While Nokie was still lying there on the ground, we allowed Bern to sniff his body and discover for himself that Nokie's spirit was gone. Bern was also standing near us and watching as we dug a grave next to my hubby's shop and buried our Nokie. For days after, Bern acted with-drawn, which could have been due to the grief-stricken atmosphere surrounding his humans or.. it could have been his own feelings of loneliness/confusion at Nokie's absence.
Just over a year later. I was sitting out in the yard with Bern, talking to him. I told Bern that I really missed our Nokie, and asked him if he remembered Nokie and missed our buddy. With his brows a little furrowed, Bern gave me that penetrating Border Collie stare. I asked again if he remembered our Nokie and Bern shifted his body ever so slightly, never taking his eyes from mine.
I then pointedly asked Bern, "Where is Nokie?" Bern stood up, turned around and headed across the field in a direct line towards the shop. I quietly followed a short distance behind and watched while Bern walked around the corner of the shop to Nokie's grave site and stopped directly in front of it. Needless to say, I was in awe of his ability to not only recognize what I had asked, but to actually remember Nokie.
What is significant about Bern's action is that there are three pet graves in a row next to my hubby's shop, and out of the three, Bern chose Nokie's.
Comprehension and memory? Yes, animals will reveal those attributes if we, their human companions, will only take the time to "listen" and communicate with our little buddies.
September 10th 2004 9:13 pm
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I didn't like that man, he was a mean ol' phart. I was only a baby ferpetesake! So how'd I know that his old floor wasn't for making piddle-puddles on?? Anyway, I wanted my human mom. I knew she was someplace.. just didn't know where, so one day when I was tossed out into the yard, AGAIN, I took off looking for my mom.
It was easy enough, the mean ol' man didn't have a gate, so I just left. The sidewalk was kinda downhill so seeing as how I was only about 7 weeks old and didn't have much leg length, I took the easy way, down the hill.
It was kinda scary, 'cause it was a REALLY busy street with lots of trucks and cars and motorcycles and noise. Oh, my gosh, it was scary, but I just kept on running.. well, if you could call it a run, 'cause I was just a baby, remember?
Anyway, down the street a'ways, a car pulled over and a woman got out and knelt down on the sidewalk and patted her knee and called to me saying, "C'mon baby.. it's ok, c'mon sweetie, come to momma.."
It was HER! It was my MOM! I took off towards her as fast as my little legs could pump.. and she waited with her arms out, hands towards me and I ran right up to her and she scooped me up and held me oh, so close and talked sweet sounds and I KNEW it was my MOM!
But.. but.. she started walking back to the place that I ran away from!! When she walked into the yard the mean ol' man came out'a the house and he was SOOOO mad! He yanked me from my momma's arms and started hitting me AGAIN with his fist.. again and again he hit me in the head. Boy, I was getting dizzy! In the meantime, I could hear my mom yelling at the mean ol' man telling him to stop hitting the puppy! Whew..he finally stopped and my mom started talking to him and trying not to make him any madder. The ol' phart doubled up his fist at my Mom, threatening her, while he was holding me by my neck and then I heard him say, "Ok lady, if you want the son-of-a-b****, then TAKE him", and he threw me at my momma.. But she was a good catcher.
Mom grabbed me and held me so close I almost couldn't breathe!! The ol' phart grumbled and cussed at my mom some more and then went back into his house. Momma loosened her hold on me a little and buried her face in my fur as I snuggled into her neck. Her face was wet, and I could hear her saying, "It's ok.. it's ok...he won't hurt you anymore.. it's ok.. " and then Mom started walking to her car, still holding me real close..
I found my Mom and we were going home..