Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The price we pay for love...

This morning we took our final dog walk. I figure we've done around eight thousand in almost fourteen years. It was painfully stiff and slow, and the skies opened up and poured on us.

I've been nursing my dear Sweetpea through end stage Cushing's for months. She had wasted away to nothing and lost control of her hind end in the last weeks. When I had to persuade her to eat and drink over the weekend it was obviously time.

Sweetest Pea was the runt of thirteen pups. I took her in at three and a half weeks, while she could fit in my hand, otherwise she would have starved. She caught up quickly, at one point reaching eighty five pounds, and until her ninth year, was healthy, strong and beautiful.

Her dad was a local lab romeo, her mom a pit bull. As a puppy she would hang out in the back of my pickup truck down at the marina waiting for me to get off of work. When folks would ask her breed I'd say - Gulf Stream Retriever,  and usually get a nod and a knowing look. It was hard to keep a straight face. It was better than having the "pit bull discussion".

Despite her breeding, a strong prey drive, and an arch enemy dog in the neighborhood who had to be put in his place now and again, Sweetpea was very gentle, even maternal with the various strays that showed up at our house.

Favorite activities were beach walks and swims. I would help her out past the breakers, and then we'd swim and swim parallel to the beach. She would let me prop her up for a bit when she got tired, and eventually ride a wave back in to shore. She could dig to China to hunt up a ghost crab in the sand, and quickly learned to snap off the pinchy claws asap so she could torture the crabs safely.

Sweetpea was smart and persistent with a smattering of sly. Add agility, and this was a dangerous combination. I once caught her dropping the last piece of a just out of the oven, cooling on the kitchen counter bundt cake on the living room rug as I came in the front door. Guilty as hell look standing over the pile of crumbs with an already bulging belly... nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

She went very peacefully this afternoon. I think she was relieved. I know I was. It was a blessing to see how calmly she breathed after receiving the preparatory sedation. I realized it was the first time I'd seen her relaxed in literally years.

Sweetpea was a loyal, loving companion. She is buried in a lovely spot on the farm. I will miss her terribly.


Photobucket
RIP Sweetpea 
1/21/99 - 7/31/12


33 comments:

Hannah said...

I'm so sorry your friend is gone. Sounds like she was a wonderful girl, and like you guys took the very best care of each other.

Shannon said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this beautifully written tribute to your faithful friend.

Fetlock said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of such a loyal and trusted (and bundt-cake-eating) friend. We humans do indeed wind up paying dearly for our attachment to creatures with such a shorter lifespan than ourselves--but I continue to believe that we are the better for it. Love stopping by your blog even if I don't comment as much as I should. Think about you and Val as if I really do get to stop in and visit you once in a while, and wish I was there to give you a hug.

Karen said...

So sorry to hear this. She was beautiful!

Carol said...

So sorry for your loss. Even though you were mentally prepared and she was ready to go, I know you will miss her a lot. What an absolutely gorgeous dog she was.
I had to have my 19 year old cat euthanized a couple of months ago (kidney failure), who had been with me since he was a kitten. It's never easy.
I hope you get lots of rest and pamper yourself for the next few days. Sending warm thoughts your way...

jenj said...

Oh my, what a sad day for you. I am so, so sorry for your loss, but I am sure she is in a happy, pain-free place with endless crabs to torment and bundt cakes to eat.

Many hugs to you.

in2paints said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your sweet girl. It's never easy to let them go, but she clearly had a wonderful life with you. May the memories you have of her bring you comfort.

allhorsestuff said...

Oh dear heart, your Sweet Pea was so lovely. That shot of her atop the couch was so catlike.

I'm sorry she had to go but happy for all the years she loved you. She was beautiful.
XO
Kac

Annette said...

What wonderful years you had together. She lived a long full life -- unusual for a runt! Must have been all the tender loving care.

Kate said...

I am so sorry for your loss - but you and she had many good times together and I hope the memories will be a comfort.

juliette said...

Prayers and hugs and happy thoughts coming your way from here. Sweet Pea was beautiful - in her photos and in the stories you shared about her. She will always be the sweetest, sweetest Pea in the whole wide world.

Grey Horse Matters said...

So sorry to hear about Sweet Pea. She sounds like a real character and a loving friend. It's never easy but you'll have fond memories of her and the things she did to make you smile. She'll always be with you in your heart. Rest in peace sweet girl.

Val said...

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. It is difficult to love beings whose lives are so much shorter than our own. You gave each other 14 wonderful years, which will not soon be forgotten.

Kelly said...

I am so sorry for your loss - what a sweet, sweet dog. Special dogs live on forever.

Jeni said...

Often the hardest things to do are not the easiest - but they are almost always the best. You gave your friend the best life she could ever have.

I'm sorry for your loss.

~Jeni

Niamh said...

I read this literally while staring at my dog Hugo. It's hard to imagine the brief time they have with us. What a lovely testament to your friend. I hope you're doing okay.

Laura Crum said...

Having been through this myself--too many times--I feel for you. It is the price we pay for love, as you say. What a good life you gave her.

smazourek said...

I'm so sorry. Hugs.

Sharon T said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. We never seem to have our beloved pets in our lives long enough.

Sweetpea was so lucky to have been a part of your family.

baystatebrumby said...

NEVER EVER EASY.

Dom said...

She was beautiful. I'm so sorry for your loss. RIP, old girl.

Gingham said...

What a great tribute to what sounds like a wonderful companion. Sounds like you gave her a wonderful, rich life!

Funder said...

What a wonderful girl! Great picture of her - I had a black Lab and I know how impossible they are to photograph. Big hugs for your loss, my friend.

Wolfie said...

Great tribute to a wonderful companion. Sweetpea was lucky to have you help her on to the next part of her journey. She knew you loved her. Hugs from Canada....

Sand. said...

So sorry. They are our dearest friends, and it leaves a hole you can never fill. Many hugs.

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

:(( Loosing our babes is so hard. I'm sorry about loosing your dear Sweetpea, but it seems it was exactly what she needed in the end. Peace and ease to rest fully. Hugs and hugs.

Kathleen said...

I am so sorry about Sweet Pea. What a lucky dog she was to have you, and you her.

achieve1dream said...

What a beautiful tribute. I'm in tears after reading it. I'm so sorry for your loss and I'm glad she went peacefully. You gave her such a wonderful life and it sounds like you guys were the best of friends. Hold on to those happy memories.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

What a beautiful tribue to Sweetpea. It is so hard to lose such a loved family member. :(

The Fullers said...

So sorry for your loss!!! :( She is beautiful!

billie said...

I'm so sorry to read this but know it was the right time and know you have worked hard to be prepared to make the decision when you knew the right time had arrived. Go well, Sweetest Sweet Pea.

We lost our beloved cat Keats on Sunday - very unexpectedly and crazily as she was only 6 years old. It continues to be a season of huge challenge and now loss - really hoping we all get a break soon! Breathing deeply and sending hugs your way.

Victoria Cummings said...

I'm so sorry that your Sweetpea is gone. As hard as it is, you made the best decision for her sake. Beautiful remembrance of her and a photo that captures all that you loved. Sending you lots of hugs!

K.K. said...

I'm still playing catch up! I'm so sorry to hear about Sweet Pea.
I know exacly how yucky it must feel right now.

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