IN LIFE AS IN THE DANCE : GRACE GLIDES

ON BLISTERED FEET.
---Alice Abrams

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Battle of the "Grand-dogs"

This is my all-time favorite "Grand-dog," Otis, a Siberian Huskey. I have a better photo I'll post at a later date - he has his summer coat here and isn't in his full glory!

Otis talked a lot. He verbalized at you when you'd speak to him, you know - the wow-row, roar, roar, row, row - kind of dog-speak. (Okay, I flunked dog-speak, but you get the point.) He loved to run, especially when the kids would leave the front door open. After all, he was a sled dog! I was there a couple of times when he bolted so I got in my car, located him and tried to lure him into the car. Hah! He'd let me get within a couple of inches and bam! Off he'd go! Nothing is more frustrating than to track a dog who doesn't want to be caught! He'd finally give in (it was a game, after all) and one of us would lead him back home.

He was basically our son-in-law, Doug's dog. Those of you who have been with me for awhile, know that Doug passed away a couple of years ago. If you're new here, check out some of my very first posts...Suffice it to say, it was an unexpected and very painful death for all of us. Otis knew something was wrong. Dogs intuit things like that. They feel pain and sorrow just as we do, and they mourn the loss of a faithful master.

Two months after Doug's death, I received a phone call at work from my daughter. She was bereft and could hardly speak through sobs. I caught the words, "I'm at the vets," and something about "Otis has to be put down." I told her to hang on - I'd be right there. I quickly filled in my boss and took off.

Sure enough, Otis was in congestive heart failure. I couldn't believe it! The doctor informed her that he was in terrific pain and had to be euthanized. My heart sunk as I took one look at her face, at eyes that had been through so much pain and knew this was going to be tough. We took a moment to caress that sweet dog and tell him how very much we loved him and then the needle did it's job. We spent a few minutes with him - both of us were sobbing into his fur. I had missed so much work already I had to get back to the office but we stood by my car, clinging to one another, wondering why, of all times, did this have to happen! The boys had just lost their dad and now we had to tell them their dog was gone. You know, there are times in this life when I just want to quit. Enough with the pain...make it stop, especially when it's happening to your child! But you have to keep going and so you do what needs to be done.

I didn't intend for this post to become so morbid and sad. I guess I hadn't quite worked this out of my system. I may never...but I do know that I will always love dogs. I will always have a dog in my life and treasure each sloppy kiss and lick, regardless of the pain when the time comes to love them off into endless sleep.

15 comments:

Heart of Rachel said...

Otis must have been a wonderful and very loyal friend and companion. Thanks for sharing his story and photo. He was a beautiful dog.

My mom told me that when my grandfather died, their dog lost its appetite completely. He missed my grandfather so much that he lost his will to live. According to my mom, their dog died a few months after my Lolo Pater's death.

Loving Annie said...

Otis looks like he was a wonderful dog and companion, and part of your family, Gracie.... Losses are always hard. Double losses make the burden even more difficult to bear... Doug and Otis were precious to you...
I don't understand why life has so much pain it it sometimes... My heart goes out to you.
Even though I know this happennned some time ago, my guess is the move brought up a lot of old memories for you -- transplanting to a new place is closing a door, and that's another loss of a sort...
I wish I could make it better for you, Gracie....
All I can really do though is admire you for continuing to have loyal dogs -- and love -- in your life, even though the losses whap you upside of the head and heart...
The pets -- and people in your life -- are lucky to have you care for them like you do, Gracie --
Long hugs, honey --

martie said...

Gracie, I too went through a similar situation when my first husband passed away 32 years ago while my own children were very young. And then our beloved pet. Life is hard and yet we seem to go on and survive....Otis sounds like he was a joy and a wonderful companion. I too will always have a dog in my life. This was a bittersweet post for me, yet I enjoyed it! Thank you!

Mags said...

Otis is beautiful, and perhaps he knew that Doug needed a best friend in heaven and that those of us who are still here on earth would be ok.

Still, I know how hard it must have been.

Desert Songbird said...

Gracie, you never have to apologize for something like this. Loss is something to which we can all relate. I'm glad you felt you could share this with us. Sharing helps us all and makes us all stronger, don't you think?

Jessica Morris said...

Mel is a very sweet person! My heart really does hurt for her and her loss.
Thanks for the comments! I am going to check out your blog now!

Comedy + said...

Well, now I'm crying my eyes out. What a sad story. Thanks for sharing something so personal. Big hug to you Gracie. ♥ ♥ ♥

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

It's always sad when a pet dies. I was so upset when my mother and I took my black lab to get put to sleep last year.

Crazy Working Mom said...

Beautiful post. Gracie! I cried and then smiled to know that Doug and Otis were together now. :)

It seems like bad things happen in pairs, sometimes too it just seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, but we can always find one eventually.

Great job on this post. Very moving. By they way, the picture is georgeous!

Travis said...

That's so tough.

I came across a picture of my folks' dog Buddy just a few days ago. I sat down with the picture and an hour went by. I was remembering what a great dog he was.

We lost him late last year. It's still tough to think of him not greeting me when I visit with the folks.

But he had a full life and it was time for him to go. I can't imagine the pain of the loss you had to deal with, losing your son-in-law and then a treasured dog so soon after.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

that was a lovely tribute to a good family member. i know the loss of a pet and it is so hard to bear...

smiles, bee

Ron Simpson said...

My parents had to put down a dog that they had had since I was in highschool during my honeymoon. My wife and I cut our honeymmon short so I could come home and say goodbye. It was tough. We drove back from Houston to Oklahoma City all night long. I am lucky my wife understood.

Cats ~ Goats ~ Quotes said...

I so much understand about Otis.
They take a big chunk of your heart when they leave.
((Hugs))

A.J.Reams said...

Could someone please pass a tissue! That post brought tears to my eyes!

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