I’m beginning to feel like the angel of death this month. But in this case we can make it also a “celebration of life”.
On Thursday 10/07/2010, the same day his most recent great-great-grandpuppies were born, Jenny and Bill let Old Grandpa Klark go.
It is with great (selfish) grief that I write to tell you that we let Klark go on Thursday, October 7th, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. It was his time and he told us so.
The day before, we loaded up the dogs for our first vacation in a year (a whole five days!) and took them to Klark’s favorite place (and ours) – our friend’s cabin in the woods on the ZigZag river, about 1 1/2 hours from Portland. When we arrived there, as soon as we put him on the ground, he acted like a puppy! He was so happy – he even tried to get Buzz to chase him around the trees. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He FRAPped, even, and barked at trees where he’d seen squirrels in years past. He hadn’t done that in weeks though he was getting around pretty well most of the time.
That evening, we gave him a full 75mg Rimadyl blast, and his appetite/everything was fine. He walked around to his usual spots in the cabin (“his” couch, a certain lamp, the kitchen, a certain spot under the table, etc).
Around 4:30 a.m. we awoke knowing something was wrong. Klark couldn’t move his hind legs. We lifted him off the bed like we always do (supporting hind end, and his front of course) and it was very apparent that paralysis was coming on. We sat with him on “his” couch petting him and discussing what to do – both of us came to the same conclusion – this was it. The look in his eyes, the quality of his life – all of that told us what we had to do.
At 7, we took the kennel apart so we could put him in it, and drove to Sandy OR, the closest town with a vet clinic. We went to the first one we saw. Oddly, it turned out that our (somewhat new to us) vet had worked there part-time in the past, and they LOVED her. I think this made them willing to perform the euth., despite the fact that we were not clients. Klark went very peacefully and quickly, surrounded by me, a very caring vet tech, and a very kind vet – no regrets about any of it.
We are grief-stricken – Klark was my once-in-a-lifetime dog, my heart, and while I know and understand that life goes on, it is so hard to go through life without him – his loss left a huge hole. Words cannot do it or him justice. He was a regal handsome soul-filled dog who took his role seriously, and he loved us as we loved him, I am certain.
Two nights later, through intermittent tears, after spending a couple of hours reminiscing about Klark, Bill called me into the living room – there was a wren or sparrow-like bird in the cabin. It was not panicking. It perched above us and looked at us. Then it flew, I *swear*, deliberately to each of the spots that Klark usually claimed – even the one on the ground by my chair. It would land for about 10-20 seconds, and then move on to the next one. It even came into the kitchen (Klark’s favorite place). We opened the windows and door so it could leave, and it finally flew out the door – however, it perched on the column, looked *in* right at Bill – and then it flew off. It was 9:00 at night.
I am not normally a very woo-woo person, but I am convinced that it was some kind of message from Klark – that he was saying a final goodbye. Whatever it was, I derive some comfort from it.
Buzz is at a complete loss. He won’t go anywhere – even on a walk – unless both Bill and I are there. I don’t really know what to do about this yet as he is not that food-motivated. Perhaps you have suggestions. I think we will try to take him to dog parks, etc. but he really hasn’t cared about any other dogs besides Klark. The one possible saving grace is that we took in a stray queen with two kittens – and the kittens intrigue Buzz although he is frightened of them.
At any rate, I attach a couple photos I took of Klark on Wednesday. I feel guilty that he doesn’t look well-groomed, and that his nails needed to be trimmed though they weren’t bearclaws – but in all other areas I think we did pretty good by him – at least I hope to God we did.
Hope things are well with you –
Jenny (and Bill)
Oh Jenny, you did wonderfully by him. We owe you so much. And we owe Klark himself so much. Though he only ever sired a single litter, his legacy lives on.