This morning we lost our precious 14 year old pup, Rowdy. I always called him Rowdy Dog when I talked to him....just like I call my girl pup Zoe Girl. Back when my son was around 6 years old, I started referring to Rowdy as his dog. I know this loss is especially hard for him. I let him make all of the important decisions this morning (whether to take Rowdy to the vet, whether we stayed in the room when they had to finally help him let go, whether we took him home afterwards, where we buried him) and I'm proud of the way he handled it all--with a quiet, mature strength. My heart was especially proud when he was out in the pasture, in the pouring rain, digging the grave to bury Rowdy. He wanted to do it alone and I understood that. I let him.
Rowdy was a wonderful dog. When he was a puppy, everyone commented on his "glasses" (black rings around both eyes). As he got older, one of the things I noticed even into his old age was that everyone always commented on how soft he was. He was great to snuggle up to and I loved petting the fluffy hair around his neck. I am really going to miss petting him. I also loved how when he was really enjoying himself, he looked like he was smiling. He would be out in the sunny pasture or lying in a pile of leaves and would get that expression of pure joy on his face.
Our little dachshund mix Zoe is going to miss him. I often think that Rowdy was gruff with her as he got old, but secretly really loved her dearly. He put up with her jumping around him like an annoying little gnat, occasionally giving her a little bark or nip to put her back in her place. Zoe was actually the one who alerted me this morning that something was wrong--I was woken out of my sleep by the sound of her whining & howling. I got up and went out into the dining room to find her sitting next to Rowdy, who was lying down and obviously not doing well. It really proves that dogs are so sensitive to illness and know when something is wrong. Even when we brought Rowdy home today in his little cardboard "casket", Zoe kept going into the sun room where he was and trying to get up to him. She would get up on her hind legs and whine. Then she would sit down & stare up at the box, woofing out quiet little barks.
I feel blessed that we got to have Rowdy in our lives for 14 years. It would take much more than this blog entry to talk about all of the wonderful moments we had with him. He will be greatly missed.