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Until We Meet Again, Dear Friend... - Jessie T. Wolf
November 26th, 2006
08:03 pm

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Until We Meet Again, Dear Friend...
In Loving Memory

Yesterday afternoon I said goodbye to my German Shepherd Dog, Barkley. It was tough… and it’s been something I’ve been tormenting myself thinking about for months now.

Barks was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy, about six months ago, which often times got mistaken for hip dysplasia. Though because Myelopathy is nerve damage to the spinal chord, thankfully Barks wasn’t in any pain – he couldn’t feel his legs, which in a lot of ways made it that much harder for me to make the decision of weather or not I should put him to sleep.

For those friends of mine who knew Barks – also lovingly referred to as “Big Head” – they could tell you that even though he may not have been the brightest dog in the world, he was definitely the happiest. His personality was the type where I’m convinced that even if he couldn’t walk at all and could only bob his head around, so long as someone was there to roll him a ball or let him play with his squeaky heart, that was sheer bliss for him.

It hurt a lot to have to come to that decision… because I knew that his mind was still working, and he was just as happy and carefree as he’d always been, even at nearly ten years old. His front end worked fine, but as willful and stubborn as he was to get up and move around, his back end would constantly fail on him… His legs would buckle and twist, and he’d drag his knuckles to the point where his claws were worn right down to the quicks, which made them bleed. As happy as he was… when it got to the point where he’d start dragging his legs behind him, or he had trouble getting up and down the stairs, the nerve damage was beginning to affect his digestive, urinary and bowel functions, and he also started losing weight… I knew that it wouldn’t be fair to let him continue to get worse.

Degenerative Myelopathy is a cruel, incurable disease… and I didn’t want it to get to the point where he couldn’t get up anymore. I wanted to remember Barks as the happy dog that he was. Though it broke my heart… because the day I brought him into work… he knew. He just knew. And he was calm, up until the point where we had to sedate him to put his catheter in. Then he got scared, and started to whine and the look he gave me was almost as if he was saying he wasn’t ready to go yet…

I feel guilty in some ways, wondering if I took his life away too soon… Maybe I could have let him hang on for another month or two… but by that time, I don’t think that he would have been the same happy dog. I know that in the end it was for the best, because letting him drag out like that, and worrying every day that he was going to slip and fall and hurt himself severely… that felt so very wrong. His body was telling me that time was running out, even if his mind wasn’t.

But it was still hard… and even after he was gone… I couldn’t comprehend what I was looking at. Seeing him lay there… I expected him to suddenly jump up and be okay again… But he didn’t. I’m very glad that Tim was here for me, and he still is. I don’t think that I could have done that alone. I miss Barks… it’s strange not having him by my feet anymore… He was a very good dog.

I would really like to get his ashes back, as I promised him that when I moved he would come with me, one way or another. I have my heart set on the Petra granite urn, offered by Gateway Pet Memorial Service, though the larger design that can come with up to three tea lights. I would also like to get his name and dates etched into his stone. This will cost me $300.

So I’m just putting it out there to anyone who wanted to get me a Christmas gift this year… I’ve never been one to really want Christmas gifts, especially since I am moving in a few months and have enough junk that I am trying to get rid of. The expense of the move and other bills makes funds for me rather tight at the moment… so if any of my friends wanted to get me an early Christmas gift, I would be extremely grateful if they could instead put money into helping me buy Barkley a nice urn that he deserves. If anyone would like to give a donation, I have resurrected my old PayPal account, and so you can send money to wlfdog@hotmail.com

Thanks to all of those who have loved Barkley as much as I did. He will forever be in my heart and memory! *howls!*

Current Mood: Mournful

(39 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
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From:vlen
Date:November 27th, 2006 12:18 am (UTC)
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oh noes *whines nuzzles ya*

I'm so very sorry to hear Jessie :*(

He was definitely an extremely sweet thing. He'll definitely be missed.

I sent a little your way.

*fluffyhugs ya*

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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 02:33 am (UTC)
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*huggles!* Thank you Vlennie!! I really, really do appreciate the donation. Also, I've been meaning to let you know that I would like to do a gift badge for you sometime in the New Year. Can you e-mail me some refs of your wolfy self? :)
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From:fairbank_otts
Date:November 27th, 2006 01:00 am (UTC)
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Sounds like what Sinnead got. Alert and bright but one day just *clonk* couldn't use her back legs, but she was more confused and fretted a whole lot. Heart breaking for sure.

At least you were with him when he died. I couldn't bring myself to watch Sinnead die, it would have destroyed me.
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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 02:34 am (UTC)
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I had to be there for him... as much as it hurt... he was my dog for 10 years, and he was scared... I couldn't have left him alone. :/
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From:iron_raptor
Date:November 27th, 2006 01:09 am (UTC)
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At least I got to see him one last time before I left for BC.... it's funny, Barkley wasn't my dog, but I got kinda attached to him. He was a big dumb lug and he was just the sweetest dog ever..

He'll not be forgotten. I kinda felt like he was my dog too, and he will be deeply missed. *warm hugs*
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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 02:36 am (UTC)
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Thanks for phoning me that night, Rap. Also, I thank you very much for your generous donation. You've always been a good friend to me, and always been there when I've needed you. Thanks a bunch, hon. *hugshugs* And Barks knows that you loved him, too. :)
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From:garrwolfdog
Date:November 27th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
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I'm so sorry hun :(
money's kinda tight for me at the moment, but i'll see if I can spare a bit. *hugs*
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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)
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*snugs* I just thank you very much for your condolences, hon. Really. *soft wrooos*

On two separate notes:

I really like your new LJ icon.

You're invited to my wedding. :)
From:kitchkinet
Date:November 27th, 2006 01:11 am (UTC)
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I'm so sorry you lost your friend.
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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 02:55 am (UTC)
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Thank you, hon. *hugs*
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From:jaxxblackfox
Date:November 27th, 2006 02:14 am (UTC)
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I'm so sorry Jess'...

You're the second person I know to have to come to that decision this year...

I'm glad Tim was there for you though. Very glad.
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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 02:56 am (UTC)
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*huggles* Thanks very much. I've already put the order out for Barkley's urn, and they said it should take a week or two. Least I can still bring him to BC with me.

You said you have this Sunday off work? It would be nice to go to the Bully Walk with you this weekend.
From:slinky_treecat
Date:November 27th, 2006 03:02 am (UTC)
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*hugs*
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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 02:57 am (UTC)
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*snurgs*
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From:dark_prime
Date:November 27th, 2006 05:10 am (UTC)

Sorry Love

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"Huggles tight" Sorry to hear about your lose love im sure he was a wounderful friend. Im here for you if you need anything or need a shoulder to cry on ill always be there for you dear "hugs and kisses"!
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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 02:59 am (UTC)

Re: Sorry Love

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Awww... thank you very much, hon. I appreciate it. Been a rough couple of days, but things should hopefully look up soon. :)
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From:entropicana
Date:November 27th, 2006 05:26 am (UTC)
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He was a good dog and I'll miss him, even though I only met him a few times. I don't know what else to say.

I sent a little along... let me know if it got through.
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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 03:01 am (UTC)
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Thank you Hiker!! *big hugs!* Yar, he was a big old lug... happiest dog I ever had. And yep, I got your donation. Thanks very much, it means a lot to me. *wrooo*
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From:geekbear74
Date:November 27th, 2006 05:32 am (UTC)
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Email me at rustytiger@gmail.com of your smail mail info. I want to send you something for your loss. I'm terribly sorry this happened :hugs:.
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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 04:13 am (UTC)
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*snugs tightly!* I will send you an e-mail tomorrow. Been busy for the past 4 days, and still packing. *sigh* Thank you very much for your condolences, and please give my brother a big hug for me as well!
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From:starwind_2x
Date:November 27th, 2006 05:32 am (UTC)
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I feel your pain Jessie. I once had a guinea pig that I love so much and she was dear to not just me but the whole family. She had a lot of personality for a rodent and I remember all the good times I had with her. I still blame myself because I took her cage outside one day and let her get some fresh air with ice cold water and shade for the first time in a long while. I came back a short while and she was dead. I had her since grade school to my senior year in high school. I cried so much that following evening.

Why I blame myself is because I found out guinea pigs get heat stroke easily so it must've been my taking her out that did her in despite my attempts to keep her cool. But we did have her for years so it must have been old age. I dunno...

Well, just know that as someone who also lost a pet I send my best wishes to you and Barkley. May both our pets RIP.
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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 04:14 am (UTC)
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It's never good to blame yourself. Sometimes these things just happen, but at least our animal friends know that we love them, and they are family (even if they are small pets - I had rats for years as well, but I still loved them like I love my dogs).
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From:sidepocket_pro
Date:November 27th, 2006 07:35 am (UTC)
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Crap.

*lights candle and prays* :,:
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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
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Thank you for your thoughts!
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From:tanidareal
Date:November 27th, 2006 10:57 am (UTC)
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I'm so sad to hear that... :(
*hugs you and sends a prayer for him*
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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 04:16 am (UTC)
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*huggles* Thank you very much for your payers*
(Deleted comment)
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From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 04:19 am (UTC)
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Thank you very much. It just killed me because his mind still worked, and he was so happy. But I was so very afraid that he would fall and hurt himself worse than what he was already going through. His body was giving me other signs, such as the loss of bowel functions and him losing weight. I love the GSD breed, but I don't think I could ever have another one, and go through this again, as Shepherds are very well known to have hip problems and Myelopathy. :/
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From:djagokemono
Date:November 27th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)

OMG ><

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O.o ;; i was just thinking about you and wondering how you where doing , i finally get a day off after this hellish week and i see this ><. :BEAR HUG: i'm sorry to hear he passed away. >< we know how much you love your dogs and more so Barkley i hope your going to be ok. I'll try to be alive more so on aim i hope to catch you on it some time to talk maybe even call you . >< Hang in there love you .

Djago
[User Picture]
From:wlfdog
Date:December 1st, 2006 04:20 am (UTC)

Re: OMG ><

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*hugshugs!* Yar, we should chat on the phone sometime soon. What's your schedule like? Maybe we can catch up sometime this weekend? *snugs* Thanks for your support, bro. Love you too. I miss you and Rusty. :/
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