Every Dog is a Legend

It’s been a tough year for the good guys. Twelve months ago, my brother lost Dutch to hemangiosarcoma.

Recently, our friend Rachel lost her Riley to a fatal seizure. 

Riley was just a year older than Eko and she was one of his first friends. Riley quickly became one of Penny’s favorite romping pals too

A sweet pup, gone too soon

The bad news continued this week when we learned another good dog-buddy, Cash, had to be put down because of an inoperable hemangiosarcoma.

Both Cash and Riley were familiar faces in our Bed and Breakfast

Cash, an affectionate rescue, was just seven years old

In past posts on loss I’ve written about grief, recovery, love and perspective. But today I’m drawn to think not about who dogs are when they’re with us, but what they become when they leave us.

And what they become is legendary. Each dog a heroic champion of their time. In the complicated mythology of our lives, every dog is an iconic character we use an anchor for our own identity.

We remember our dogs to remember ourselves. Their names tell our stories.

I remember Indy, a spotted and wild Dalmatian for my freckled and wild youth. Two speckled creatures flying through the snow together.

I remember Blitzen, a mercurial terrier for stubborn teenager. Two troublemakers bound at the hip.

I remember Dutch and Riley and Cash. Three more legends whose stories help me remember my own.

When we can no longer hold our dogs in our arms, we hold them in our hearts.

Legends live on.

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dogs

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33 Comments

Great article, and great blog Will, congratulations.
I’ve lost my friend last saturday, on January 02. “Toquinho”, a small and cute pinscher, was 11 years old, and was with me since I was 11.
He had cushing syndrome diagnosed in early December, which worsened so fast that we did not expect. We took him to the vet on saturday, because he wasn’t eating, shaking badly, not walking and not holding bak the urine. At the same day, we found out he had 3 tumors, and blood infection. He was suffering. We just couldn’t keep him with us, it would be painful for me, my family, and him. So I took the worst decision I had in my entire life: to put him to sleep, with no pain and peacefully.
I’m deeply sad. Really sad. Crying every our. It looks like the pain will NEVER get away.
I always had the fear of loosing him, even knowing that one day this would happen. We are not eternal, no one.
This pain will will end? Please tell me ”(
Your article about Dutch was really beautiful, and I’m sorry for you brother’s loss. Every day is a struggle. To wake up and don’t see him barking for food. To leave home and look at the place he used to say. To remember these horrible days, where we couldn’t eat and moving so slowly. But I know he’s not suffering anymore. He slept. And he had a happy life, full of happiness not for him but for me too. He was loved. He game me so many moments, that will live forever with me. I still love him, and miss him so much. And I will love him forever.
Thank you for you support, and for allowing me to express my feelings. Your job is amazing, thank you and keep going!

I lost my beloved heart dog, my Leonberger partner in crime (and training) Titan to that awful disease, hermangiosarcoma. By the time we found it, it was already inoperable. The vet gave him 3 months, at most. He fought valiantly and never cried or wavered for a full year, even while we changed his bloody bandages 3 or 4 times a day. One day he quit eating and barely drank; just laid down and did not want to get up and we knew it was over. It is still the hardest thing I have ever had to do and I will regret it till the die I die, although I do believe it was the right thing. Titan had dignity. He deserved to choose his own time and I do believe he chose. I have since adopted 2 more rescue dogs. I love them both dearly but I miss Titan every day. You are not supposed to love any of your children more than the other but I always felt he brought out the best in me and completed me. I am so sorry for all the people out there whose animals are the lov s of their lives. We live too ong or they live to short. Separation is inevitable, as is great sorrow. The only balm is in saving another life. I hope your friend Rachel is able to find her way to salvation as your brother did.

So sorry to hear of your friend’s loss..and yours too – I know we tend to get attached to all dogs don’t we. My sister’s dog has hemangiosarcoma too – it’s nasty. She’s been doing okay after surgery removed a huge tumor. Keeping our fingers crossed for her.

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