Tuesday, December 18, 2007


This morning at 3:45 a.m., my “Little Old Man” left me.

I took Babe on as a hospice case. He was fifteen, an advanced age for a male cocker spaniel, and had a stage 5 heart murmur. I just wanted to give him a soft place to die. He didn’t have a very good prognosis and had been brought into the shelter to be euthanized. Not because of his heart murmur, but because he had a bad case of fleas.

Babe had spent the first fifteen years of his life locked up in a back yard. He was taken out once a year to have his coat clipped down to the skin. That’s pretty much all I know about Babe’s early life.

The very first time I kissed him on the head, he grabbed me by the throat. Not hard, he just held me for a moment to let me know he was no pushover. He may be little but, by golly, he could put a hurting on me if he wanted to. I remember feeling very sad, that in fifteen years, this adorable little guy had never been kissed on his head.

All of that was three years ago. He was only supposed to live for maybe three months. But, I guess, after getting used to being indoors and many head kisses later, he decided to stick around for a while.

I’m really glad that he did.

He started losing weight and muscle tone about two months ago. He’d done that before. It was sort of his “Fred Sanford” act. A canine version of grabbing his heart and saying, “You hear that Elizabeth? I'm coming to join you, honey!” I’d give him more food and he’d usually snap out of it. Well, he didn’t this time.

He had a few collapses over the past few months. I mentioned the first one to my vet. She was surprised that he hadn’t died. I’d pick him up and prop him up so he could breathe better…and he would recover. But a few days ago, he began developing ascites, a build-up of fluid in his abdomen. So, I knew he was serious this time. I was planning to call the vet today and take him in to evaluate whether or not “it was time”. Evidently it was.

He never lost his appetite and he had plenty of cookies and a bowl of mac and cheese yesterday as well as his dinner. He was bright right up to the end.

I fixed him a bed in the closet where I could elevate his front so he could rest better. He had a collapse at around 3:30 when we turned in. I sat there with him petting him as he left.

I told him, “Go on to the Bridge, Baby. Go on and wait for me there. I’ll be coming along before you know it.”

I’m burying him close to the house instead of where the other more active kids are. Babe was nearly deaf and blind and slept very deeply. Sometimes, he’d wake up and I would have left the room. He would track me in the house until he bumped into my feet. Then he’d look up and seemed to be saying, “Oh! There you are. I lost you for a minute there.”

I don’t want him to have to track too far to find me.

I guess, once more, it’s time to dig a hole.

Memoriam submitted to the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

23 Comments:

  1. jennifer in canada said...
    Poor babe. So sorry. How lucky he was to find you and enjoy some time with you and the other pups.
    That rainbow bridge story really comforted me too when my cat was killed last year.
    Sorry too this happened so close to the holidays. Take care.
    Erica said...
    My deepest condolences, Rosie. It's obvious how blessed the two of you were to have been able to find each other. You gave him such a good life up there on the mountain.

    So sorry, boobie.
    Karen said...
    Oh, Rosie. I'm so sorry for your loss, but so glad Babe found you...
    Jbeeky said...
    I am so sorry, you write such a beautiful tribute to these souls.
    ginviren said...
    I'm so sorry. :(
    Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...
    A love remembrance of a pet you obviously were delighted with . It is so sad about his early life, devoid of a lot of human contact and stimulation. So many dogs are treated like that. Makes you wonder why people have them?
    Hayden said...
    oh, rosie! I'm so sorry, I'm in tears! how wonderful that he had his last three years with you! It's always so hard...
    Leeuna said...
    Oh Rosie, I'm so sorry. I know that doesn't help but I really mean it. My dogs are my babies and it hurts so bad to lose one of them.

    You gave her a wonderful life and lots of love and attention and she died happy, if that's any consolation. I know you will miss her.

    Hugs and prayers
    Leeuna
    threecollie said...
    Oh, I am so terribly sorry. Poor old man. But he was lucky to have you show him what caring is and to have someone to wait for where he is going.
    Peggy said...
    What a blessing to have had each other for a time. You are such a caring soul. I bet you will be surrounded by a little four legged spirit!
    Karla said...
    His years with you must've been his gift from karma. I hope you can find solace in your happy (and funny) memories of him.
    Anonymous said...
    Oh, Rosie, you were just a blessing to Babe, and he to you - as are all our babies. Now he's up there at the Bridge with so many buddies and friends, and he is no longer sick, or old, just a young healthy pup again!
    Joanie said...
    I rescued another little dog a few months ago. It's getting up to the anniversary of my little Babe's passing last January and I still have her pictures on the wall. She went the same way as your Babe.
    The new 7 pounder, Maxy is either a yorkie or a silky? He's five years old and a couple with a new toddler gave him up to a rescue group because they couldn't trust him. He wasn't like many of the horror stories of other rescues but he's afraid of men so there is some kind of history there somewhere?
    Your Babe finally found there was something worth living for...why else would he have stuck around so long?
    Daisy said...
    I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend! (((hugs)))
    Nancy said...
    Some dogs sneak their way into our hearts quickly and live there forever.

    There is no harder hole to dig.
    TammyVitale said...
    Came over from artinthegarage and the True Blue Blogger Award (which I share there with you and some others). I rescue pugs. Not many, only 3 so far (2 right now who came in after the first died also at 15). I feel grateful that my pugs came to me fairly young (1, 2, 2)and that they can live their lives out not traumatized (and one still pooping on the floor but hey, she doesn't run from me anymore - even gets in my lap for a snuggle). There is a special place across the bridge for folks like you who take in the old ones who have been so little loved - and a special place for the people who so little loved them. Blessings to you!
    pamibe said...
    I'm so sorry for your loss. You were his angel and now he's yours.
    Keri said...
    What an amazing woman you are. & how lucky that you found each other.
    Thank you for sharing him with us.
    God Bless you both.
    Dis said...
    I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank goodness the poor boy at least got a few great years at the end of his life.
    Manerva said...
    Oh Rosie I'm so sorry to hear about Babe. What a lucky dog was he to have such a wonderful soul as you to be his caretaker. My thoughts are with you and Babe...
    Annie said...
    Hi. Stopping by via the Friday Ark. I'm very sorry you lost your beautiful Babe. It was a wonderful thing you did for him, taking him in and giving him a loving home.
    Jeff said...
    You are a fantastically wonderful and courageous person, and Babe was lucky to have found you in his life.

    I have no doubt that after having spent all that time tethered and neglected, Babe just refused to leave this earth until he absolutely had to so that he might enjoy a dog's life with someone who knows how to share love with him. And it sounds as if you made up for all those bad years.
    Whichy said...
    I am terribly behind on my blogs, and I just read this.

    I am terribly sorry. I know how much love and care you give your animal family and I know he was very lucky to have been placed with you.

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