Thursday, May 31, 2012

A sad time... goodbye Spike.

                                            It's important to be kind... even when it's so hard.              

Spike. October 1998- May 30, 2012

 Last night- May 29/12
  Here I sit, alone and heavy-hearted at my computer, listening to Spike crunching his dinner, then his claws clacking on the floor, as he pants his way along the rug path, to flop behind my chair.  He's done well for 13 1/2 yrs, but his days aren't so happy anymore… it's the time I've been dreading. When he was really ill a year ago, I made a video tribute for him. I guess I should finish it soon... will add it another day.


 A little about our dog- Spike.
He was born around Oct 31, 1998. We got him on my birthday in December. Dave had him in his arms, and our 2 boys bounced around them with joy, in the atrium of the bank where I worked. 
 He is part Akita, part border collie and the poor little guy could barely manage the stairs, so we had to pick him up, to join us on the couch. His belly dragged through the snow, when we took him outside. The boys would run up and down the hallway, Spike bounding behind them. The happy sounds of kids with a puppy, squeals, laughter, barking and growls. Then came the house training, little and big mistakes, chewed up shoes, and holy socks… when you could find them. What is it about socks and puppies anyway?
  Our little home in the woods was quite remote, and somewhat isolated, so we wanted a protector for our family and home. That he has been…and much, much more. His keen senses were always at work, listening, watching, smelling… everything. I remember a time that he treed a bear when I was out picking mushrooms in the nearby forest. He ran back to me to make sure I was heading for home, then ran back and kept the bear up that tree, until I was at the house, then he quickly came home. 
Always posing for me & my camera.
   If you've ever had a dog, you understand how big a part of the family they become. He has been an awesome companion to all 4 of us over the past 13 1/2 years. He learned to smile and talk to greet us when we get home.  Like any dog, he's always been ready to walk, eat, play, relax and snuggle, or do whatever we're doing.  He loved going to the beach, chasing sticks and swimming. His favourite thing was barking at and splashing the water.
  Strong, proud, happy, friendly and protective, he has developed into a very dignified dog. Even the vet commented on his good manners. He usually lays with his front paws crossed, with a gentle-manly air about him. 

     Spike has since retired, along with Dave. The kids have left our nest, and are starting lives of their own.  He sleeps a lot now, and can't hear anymore. His eyes are clouding up, and he doesn't get up or even talk, to greet me when I get home. He's reluctant to go outside at times. I think he's worried that we won't let him back in. He often lays on the bare floor, but it's so hard for him to get up.  (We've got runners all over the house, and a blanket for him to lay on… but he prefers the slippery floor.)  Our outside steps are carpeted, to make them easier for him to use as well. 
   Short walks to the mailbox have become his main outing, and yesterday even that seemed to be too much, however today was better. A dark cloud of dread has blown into my heart, and it's time to prepare, for the final part of his life. 
 I didn't think he'd make it through this past winter, but he is a trooper, and has fared well, however  I can see the downward spiral, spinning faster. The inevitable is staring me in the face, and I'm thinking it's time for him to be put to sleep.
 I have hopes that he will just go to sleep and not wake up, but I must seriously consider that it may not work out that way. My youngest son said it would be a shame if he was all scared and upset for the last part of his life- ie: a trip to the veterinarian's office.  We all agree on that.
Waiting for the vet... he doesn't know that, but I do.

  So I called the vet's office today to see what options are available, and he is able to come out to the house and put him to sleep, but then what to do with the remains? cremation? private or communal? burial? do I want the ashes back? etc. more morbid things to think about. Then there's the cost (I'm waiting for them to call back with a quote… our home is 30 km away from town, so it's not a short drive.) 
 A friend of a friend has been offered to humanely shoot him… got mixed feelings on that. I know he's an animal, just a dog, but I would like Spike to die peacefully here at home, as humanely and dignified as possible. 
  Now the sun has set, and he's starting to itch, scratch, pant and whine and the rain is pouring down. Gloomy weather, to match my mood.

May 30… With our vet's assistance, Spike has moved on, peacefully, lovingly and dignified, like we all would want to…

Last look at the lake...


Wonder said...

Beautiful tribute Angie. I hope when my end time comes it will be as loving as Spike's was. Dave will be so thankful you handled it so well. Tell 'Pete' I will be thinking of him. Love from Steve.

Angie S said...

Thanks Steve,
Yes, it was the kindest thing we could do for our old friend. I'll tell him :)
Love to you too

Char Baumgardner said...

What a sweetie, our four legged babies are the loves of our live. The memories we create with them last forever to make us smile.


Lornajane said...

What a beautiful way to say goodbye to a part of your family, I wish animals could stick with us as long as we lived. Spike was very lucky to have a loving family! The choices we have to make when that time comes are so hard to do. Like a punch to the gut, and you can't breathe for a few moments. It's one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life. Is putting down my furry loved ones. What a beautifully written tribute to a handsome furry baby. Thanks for sharing with me Angie.

Carrie said...

Beautiful tribute. Spike was blessed to have such a wonderful family. Pets are such a huge part of our lives they are our babies. RIP