Sunday, March 11, 2012

My heart is broken

Barney
 October 25, 2000-March 8, 2012

It was unexpected.  Wednesday he was his usual self.

Thursday morning he was moving slow at first and didn't finish his breakfast. He followed me downstairs to lie by me while I worked on the computer but didn't want to get up afterwards.

His back legs had been going lame so this wasn't that unusual. I helped him to stand, massaged his hips and gave him a pep talk. He followed me upstairs very slowly. We sat outside in the sun and I combed the loose hair out of his coat and let the yellow tufts fly to the corners of the yard. We enjoyed the warm sunshine while I called Husband and told him I was worried.
When I left him to go to work at noon he was sleeping.

When I returned from work, he didn't want to move, eat or go to the bathroom. Husband carried him to the car and we took him to the emergency vet.

Unfortunately, the vet nor anyone in the facility spoke English.  In what could have been a nightmare scenario for a foreigner, I was saved by the kindness of the Italian vet and an Italian teacher from a class I had in the Fall. I happened to have the teacher's number in case we got separated on a field trip. She doesn't  really know me but patiently took the time to translate us through this terrible experience. I am endlessly grateful to her.

The vet and the teacher were able to communicate to us the bad news. Barney was bleeding internally probably from the medicine we were using to help the pain in his back legs.

The outlook was grim and surgery would have caused Barney more suffering without much hope of recovery. We had to put him down.
It was surreal because Barney had been his enthusiastic "this is the best day of my life!!" self just 24 hours earlier.

Husband and I and the kids are crushed by his loss.

I hadn't really paused to realize what a fixture he was in our lives. Now that he is gone I keep thinking I see him in my peripheral vision. I have to stifle the need to yell out my ritual greeting when I enter the house "Hello there, sir! How are you doing?" followed by a pet, a hand sniff and a trip outside for a potty break.

I will miss his chatting with me by hard breathing, heavy sighs and eyebrow wiggles.

We understood each other. He understood me probably more than I understood him.

I will miss his lying the perfect respectable distance from the kitchen where he would  watch me cook something chicken-y or beefy. He knew if he was a good, patient boy he would get to lick the pan in an hour when us humans were done.

He was devoted to me and endlessly appreciative for any small offering of food, love or time.


I will miss spelling the word "walk" and "outside" because he knew those words and would make our lives miserable with his excitement and flying hair until we followed through with the promise that those words held.


I will miss the way he always wanted to lie on my feet no matter where I was or how hard or inconvenient it was to get to my feet.


I will miss his yellow hair on all my clothes and his dog hair dust bunnies in all the corners.


I will miss the way he trusted only me to comb through his armpits, behind his ears and his rear to cut the hair mattes out of his coat every month.


I just wish great dogs could live forever.


9 comments:

maggie g. said...

Oh Edith, I am so sorry. This is a beautiful post a wonderful tribute to a dear friend. I know your loss right now- the thing with great dogs is that they're are always right there at our feet or right under- always. Barney was a awesome dog, world traveler and a great friend. We are all so sorry for your loss.

@LLMilitaryWife said...

Oh crap Edith. I know how this must hurt. You know my own story with my baby when we arrived in Belgium, and it sucks being a foreigner in situations like this. You'll remember Barney forever....lots and lots of good memories and please take the time to grieve. These dogs are a part of our family. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. So sorry.

Anonymous said...

Dogs have a special place in my heart because every ounce of love you give seems to come back exponentially. I'm so sorry for the loss.
Gunnar

edith said...
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edith said...

Maggie, thank you for your kind words. Barney didn't want to miss a thing hence the foot napping. Oh i will miss him!

R- I thought of you often on Thursday and this weekend as we were suffering through our grief. I understand now what it must have been like for you to suffer that heartbreaking loss at a new duty station where you didn't speak the language. I think of you and how you made it through that hard time - it consoles me and makes me hopeful I can put this behind me (all be it with a lump in my throat).

G-you are right. Remember Sunny and Blix? I am also brought back to thinking about Dad and how torn apart he was at the loss of Ben. Dogs are just plain great, aren't they?

property dealer in delhi said...
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April said...

So sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful tribute to a loved pet!

Tara Crooks said...

E,
I didn't read the blog but I posted on FB when I saw Thom talk about losing the Barn- man. Reading this today just broke my heart again. I am so sorry - but even that won't begin to help the pain you are, and will continue, to feel due to his loss. GOOD DOGS SHOULD LIVE FOREVER!
Miss you!
T

edith said...

Thanks Tara. Still suffering his loss here but it's getting a little better every day.