Saying goodbye to a good friend...

Real Estate Agent with Ozarks' Independent Realty

When I was pregnant with my youngest daughter and on the way to a prenatal check-up, we saw a little golden fluff-ball by the side of the highway and drove right on past. Less than a quarter mile up the road, both my husband and I said, we needed to go get that puppy away from the road, so we turned around and did just that. the pup was a Golden retriever/chow mix with gold fur and a purple tongue. She was also mangy, starving, and terrified of people. but she adored our 2 year old, who prmptly called her a "hits hiku" (hitch hiker), and that quickly got shortened to Haiku.

We spent more money getting that little pup back to health than we have ever spent on a dog, and she became as much a part of the family as the kids (well, close to that). She was protective over our girls, loving, and eager to please. I think she always felt a sense of gratitude for our having taken her in and giving her a home. When she was 4, she started having seizures. the vet said that was no big deal. When she was 6 she was diagnosed with right-sided heart failure. When she was 8, she had a stroke and we thought we were going to lose her right before Christmas. Not wanting the girls to grieve at Christmas, we got another puppy and brought him home. But the moment Haiku saw him eating from her bowl, her will to live returned. She got up for the first time in days and staggered, falling several times, to her bowl and growled the puppy away, then she laid down and started eating. jealousy can be a great motivator, I guess!

Her seizures continued, especially if she got upset (if we scolded her, it would trigger one) or if she exerted herself too much. yet she always accompanied us on our evening walks. She was our early warning system for tornadoes, too. If there was a storm and she started whining and wanting inside, we knew a tornado was on the ground somewhere. It might be 20 miles away, but she always knew and let us know. A few of her pups were bought by a trainer who taught them to detect seizures and help people with epilepsy. It seems that the dogs who can best sense an oncoming seizure is the offspring of a dog with seizures...

This past Sunday evening, she wasn't doing well. She wouldn't get up and walk, so we carried her out of the yard to a shady place and brought her food and water. she drank, but wouldn't eat. Monday, was more of the same, but somehow she had wandered across the street to lay in the field. But that night, she wouldn't even drink. She didn't act as though she was in pain, but just like she wanted to be left alone. I told the kids that I thought she was ready to leave us. But they made me promise to take her to the vet in the morning, if she was still the same....

I didn;t have to honor my promise. Morning found her laying under her favorite tree, dead... It's been hard. She was part of our family for 11 years, and my girls don't remember a time without her. I can't seem to break the habit of putting food in her bowl, and the other dogs won't eat from her bowl. I think it will be a long time before the habit of taking care of her goes away, and longer still before the missing her does...

Comments (4)

Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals
Oh, Amber - it will take time and it will happen. We have a storm detector dog too.  She has already been through a tornado and survived. She is now old and going blind and loves us like always. We will just love her back until the end.
May 09, 2008 04:12 PM
Chris Fisher
Your Virtual Assistant - Concord, CA

Amber - It's always so hard to say goodbye.  They are never with us as long as we want them to be.  You gave her a wonderful life, which she most likely wouldn't have had otherwise.  You did a very good thing.

May 10, 2008 08:39 AM
Patrice Estess
PB APPRAISALS - Kerhonkson, NY

Amber, I am so sorry for your loss.  She knew it was time and she retreated.  Like Chris said, she had a great life with you, she was grateful for that.  Time eases the pain, hang in there

May 13, 2008 04:35 AM
Kelly Turbeville
Keller Williams - Lake Forest, CA
Turning Real Estate Dreams into Reality

I am so sorry for your loss it is amazing how our become such a part of our family.  Know you brought her as much joy as she brought you and your family.   

May 13, 2008 05:33 AM