Friday, April 03, 2009

The greatest dog ever. On this there can be no debate.


Fifteen years ago...(you can probably see where this is going.)

Fifteen years ago, my wife and I went to an animal shelter here in the Pioneer Valley and rescued a nine-month old Labrador/Dalmatian mix. She was all black except for a spotted belly and the tops of her paws. We named her "Abbe."

Through the years, she was a great, loyal, playful, hilarious, protective, great companion. (Did I say "great" twice? Yes I did.) She was as active as a Dalmatian but not (too) aggressive and then she would be as gentle as a Labrador around my kids. She was banished to the floor at bedtime but would sneak up during the night and we surrendered to the inevitable. She loved to walk and smell and smell and smell.

I remember my late father teasing Abbe by slowing starting a question: "Do you...?" which was enough to telegraph that a walk was coming. I remember running after her when she slipped the leash at Lake George. Her last-in-class finish at obedience school. When you got her wound up, she would run up and down the stairs in crazy laps of boundless energy. Gosh, she was fun.

Six months ago, she couldn't run anymore and soon afterwards couldn't go on long walks. Two months ago, she couldn't walk at all and then she couldn't stand. We had to prop her up for eating and the results of eating. Then, most recently, Abbe was inconsolable when off her pain medication and we knew what had to be done.

The staff at Valley Vet in Hadley were wonderfully sympathetic and Abbe was put to sleep so peacefully. Now, I'm left here with a half-box of the Natural Choice Senior biscuits she adored and memories of a destroyer of rugs, devourer of table scraps, and all-around marvelous companion.

Goodbye Abbe.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Abbe is now over the rainbow bridge where all good pups go. I had to put my 15-year old Beagle Nacho to sleep two years ago and I still cry every single night missing her. As I told her every day of her life, "she was the best girl in the world". My heart breaks for you and your family but in time, you will feel better. And most of all, you did what you had to do and what all of us dog owners must do when the time comes - you ended your dear Abbe's suffering. So sorry...

Robert said...

I dread the day when the same happens to our "greatest dog ever."

He's at my feet right now, stretched out in the sun (yes, there is sun here occasionally), waiting for his afternoon "walkie"; and having read what you wrote, I find myself welling up as I type this.

You have our sympathies.

DCE said...

Eric,

I have been where you are now. I know how hard it is, but in the end we have to do what's best for our faithful companions. It's never easy and it always hurts.

My sympathies.

I raise a glass to Abbe tonight....

kcpuden said...

2 years ago, last week, I too had to let my beagle Skeezer go. I still miss him dearly. I'm tearing up, just writing this. I will keep you and Abbe in my prayers.

Kim Priestap said...

You're breaking my heart! About a year and a half ago we had to put down our sweet Kelsey, an Irish Setter we had for about 10 1/2 years. She was sweet, loyal, and at times infuriating. We loved her because of her annoying little quirks, though. I still miss her.

wrench said...

Our condolences on your loss.

Mom and I have been dog owners all of our lives and been through the pain several times each.

Southpaw said...

Unlike us, animals are born without sin. When we ask "will my dog go to heaven?" we are (in my opinion) asking entirely the wrong question. Live a righteous life, and you will surely rejoin her, where she will be waiting for you with wagging tail.

skeneogden said...

We lost our little beagle "Opus" two days before 9/11. She was a wonderful family dog for over 17 years and it's still painful to think about her being gone.

The great thing about dogs is that they always give more than they receive. My condolences on your loss.