Saturday, January 15, 2011
I guess it has been quite a while since I have blogged at ‘cha. Obviously, lots going on with Lyz arriving in the US in early August, getting married and getting settled into married life again and now we are past the holidays and time is slowing done some. Alas, this is my homage, my reflection on my dog, who as George Harrison once said on an album title I recall from my adolescence, “All things must pass”. Even all “wonderful things”.
Windsor (aka: Wheezy, Cheesedog and the Wonder Dog) was practically a record setter as she lived exactly 15 years, 3 months and a day. Though finding a record for the oldest Old English Sheepdog is quite elusive even in this Google age, the kindly Internal Medicine Vet who treated her on her last day stated “I have never seen a dog that big (80 lbs.) live to be that old”. On average Old English Sheepdog’s mortality is around 11 or 12, so she got in a significant amount of more lovin’ and lickin’ in. In hindsight, I guess I was dreaming when she had turned 15 at the end of May when I said to myself, “Heck, it’s looking like she will make it 17 the way she is going.”
Windsor left this mortal coil at September 1st, 2010 in the most compassionate and peaceful way possible at the local VCA animal hospital with Lyz and I as well as John, my retired neighbor who was always there to take care of her and love her with his wife Sally at their house when I went dashing on trips both local and global.
Just a handful of days earlier, she started having even more difficulty getting up and walking (she had been on a prescription joint medication for her hind legs specifically since the start of 08’) as for the past year she couldn’t get up off tile most the time and sometimes even on carpet so I had to help lift her up to get around and that seemed to be fine with her. However, while she was not in pain or distress during this time and had no other health problems to speak of, quickly, over the course of the weekend, it was clear something was gravely wrong, as she also basically stopped eating and wobbled greatly when she tried to walk.
On Monday afternoon after taking her to my regular local vet and basic tests were done, it was determined I should get her over to VCA early the next morning after spending a quiet and calm night with us. I authorized an ultrasound and early on the afternoon of the 1st our worst fears were confirmed but at least we had peace of mind in knowing what it was and there was nothing left we could do. She had malignant stomach tumors which killed off her white blood cell count and left her completely anemic and weak as could be. There was no option-we knew surgery couldn’t be performed on a dog with an equivalent human age of around 95 or so, so we gathered and spent some final farewell time in one of their family rooms before she was humanely let go.
Of course, the tears flowed before, during and after she slipped away but I took great comfortable in knowing she had a wonderful life and that she gave me even much more than I gave her. Of course, it took a while to get over the loss and I did break down about a week later after returning from Arizona where Lyz and I got married (a new birth, of sorts) and spent a short first honeymoon (the second one in Cartagena is still to come, hopefully in February) in Sedona and the Grand Canyon.
Knowing how both of us have much love to give to a dog, we adopted Natasha from the Albuquerque Animal Shelter about two months later. After some scary initial health issues that have subsided, she is proving to be a fine follower of Windsor’s in our happy home.
After all, I muse over the quote by Iggy Pop from the song “A Machine for Loving“ on his most recent album, “What is a dog but a machine for loving.”
And finally, to quote Laetitia Sadier, lead singer of Stereolab, on her new solo album about her sister's suicide, this hit home and put me at peace:
“She went on a million-year trip and left everything behind-- her skin, her hair. She has a long way to travel, so I will open my heart, and let the pain run along as there is no point in holding on.”