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Eulogy

Journal Entry: Fri Aug 14, 2009, 9:07 PM
  • Mood: Miserable

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(Written 8/13)



Buster was the perfect dog.  He wasn't some exotic pedigree or AKC-worthy purebred.  He didn't know any tricks or excel at any doggie duties.  He wasn't even a particularly good watch-dog.  What he was, however, was gentle, dignified, loving, patient and so eager to please.  He endured the juvenile machismo of our other dog, Rufus, yet found his position in our little pack without problem. He never disobeyed when he could figure out what we wanted him to do.  He learned "sit" and had almost figured out "lie down."  When it was time for a walk, he waited for his leash and then patiently sat at the edge of the entryway with Rufus for us to say "Okay, let's go."  The night before he died, we were going to leave him to rest while we took Rufus for a walk, but little Buster clambered shakily off of the futon and wobbled over to us, as if to say "Hey, I'm still part of this family.  I'm supposed to go with you."  We took him down the block just a bit until he flopped down in a yard.  Then we walked him slowly home.  

He was a part of our family from the moment we let him into the backyard to meet Rufus.  Rufus is happy all the day long, so rather than treat this new dog like an intruder, he sprang about playfully, trying to determine the parameters of our new dynamic.  Buster was at first quite all right with letting Rufus be "top dog."  But Rufus, having so little doggie-sense, wouldn't let it go.  So Buster, over the course of the next few days, put the little brat in line and enjoyed a little more respect, (off and on.)

One thing Buster liked was to wade around in our little plastic kiddie pool.  Rufus uses it as a glorified water dish, but Buster would climb right in and slosh around.  After a particularly hard rain, I poured the water out into the yard so I could refill it with clean water.  Oh boy.  The mud puddle was epic and both dogs ran around in it like lunatics, and then chased each other through the house, leaving a trail of mud across the livingroom, onto the futon/couch, and all over both bathroom floors.  It was impossible to be upset about it: they were having so much fun.  

When we took Buster to get neutered, the vet noted he had an upper resperatory infection and gave us some medicines to give him.  Three different pills, twice a day.  Well, Buster was one of those dogs that could eat peanut butter from around a pill and spit it back out.  We tried just shoving the pills into the back of his mouth but his jaws were so strong.  And he had no appetite so it was hard getting him to eat.  The first couple of days, we just pulverized the pills and slipped the powder into Yokult (Google it) and squirted it into his mouth. Once his appetite kicked in—and did it ever—he gulped all three pills down inside meatballs made of canned dog food.  When the wet dog food ran out, peanut butter and then hot dogs did the trick. (And then we bought more wet food!)

He never finished off his prescription.  Never even finished off that last can of dog food.  Never even got his stitches taken out.  He blew into our lives and we were making plans for years and years of belonging to each other, but he was sicker than we realized.

Yesterday morning I noticed the muscles in his head and neck twitching continuously.  We had no idea what it was and so later that day we asked Doc.  She said it sounded like distemper.  We weren't sure if that was a death sentence or not, so I planned to go online and find out what I could about it.  As proof of an indifferent universe, the power supply to our connector box was fried and we could not find a replacement anywhere.  Our provider promised to send one within a couple of days.  So we were left to call a friend and ask him to tell us what he could find.  Still, there was nothing we could do but keep him as comfortable as possible until morning, when we could take him to see Doc.

It got worse last night, (yet he still wanted his walk) and by this morning, he was having seizures that left him frothing at the mouth.  We both knew this was probably the end, but kept trying to hold on to whatever sliver of hope there could be.  When we got to the shelter, Buster was so scared he tried to run away.  I don't know if he thought we were going to abandon him there or if it was the disease making him panic.  We wanted to be with him to the very end, but because of city ordinances, we had to leave him with the vet and vet tech.  We walked out and just stood there, holding each other and crying in the parking lot.  He was our perfect dog.  He was the missing piece that we didn't know was missing until he clicked into place and made our lives so much happier.  

Just a handful of days ago, as we were lounging around on the futon with our two sleepy dogs, Tim said "It's stupid, I know, but right now I'm so happy, it kind of hurts.  I'm not used to it."  

Preparing for the worst, we spent that last evening giving him every ounce of love we could.  He could hardly sleep through his tremors so I gave him a midnight buffet of hot dogs, yogurt, wet dog food and water.  He still had his appetite and still loved meatballs.  He seemed unable to walk so I carried him into the bedroom to sleep with Tim one last time.  

On the way to the vet, he sat up in the back seat, in spite of his seizures, and looked out the window at the world he was leaving.  Trees in bloom, blue skies with thick white clouds, cars, people, buildings, all in colors that seemed so bright, painted especially pretty just for him.  He seemed to savor his time here and was filling his eyes with a last look at his world.  He didn't know what was happening, I know.  I'm aware of anthropomorphising our pets, but I want to believe he was still full of doggy curiosity and wonder, up to the end.  I just wish he hadn't been afraid, those final minutes.  I wish we could have stayed with him.  But in the end, death is death and he's not scared or suffering anymore.  

We hardly had time to make memories, but my favorite one, the one that will stay with me the strongest, was one afternoon when I came home from a day out with Tim.  I flopped down on the futon and Buster came in the room, looking perky.  I opened my arms wide and said "Buster!" in a cheerful voice.  He suddenly sprang onto my chest, laying his forelegs around my neck and resting his head against mine.  A perfect cuddle, a wonderful surprise.  I honestly didn't expect that reaction.  It made me laugh and call Tim in from the other room to see.  He lay on me like that for a while, just "hugging" me.  I would give the world for that moment one more time.

I kept his collar and tags.  His id tag is on my keyring for now.  I think I'd like a more fitting tribute to him, but I'll have to figure that out later.  Maybe a photo with his tag attached to the frame.  Simple and classy, like my Buster.

There was a meteor shower last night.  I think I saw a meteor but it went by so quickly I'm not sure it wasn't just a trick of the light.  Buster was like that: a brief, bright, beautiful light that was gone before we could blink.  He was the perfect dog for us and there is a huge hole where his piece of the puzzle used to fit.  But we got a glimpse of the whole picture, and it was wonderful.





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:iconpiratevamp:
piratevamp Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I know this is years ago, but I am so sorry to hear about your dog. /all the hugs ever
Reply
:icontyrfan2001:
tyrfan2001 Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2012
I recently lost my Hannah, sounds very similar to Buster, she was finally diagnosed as Lymphoma.

[link]
Reply
:iconcutieloli:
cutieloli Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
awwww.... this is so sad. I'm sorry for your loss
Reply
:iconleeinlimbo:
leeinlimbo Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2009  Professional General Artist
A sadly touching story. I recently lost a beloved pet as well. It still hurts thinking about the loss. Therefore, I wish you happiness and peace of mind, and hope that the hole in your home becomes filled with another perfect companion someday.
Reply
:iconthemuseslibrary:
themuseslibrary Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2009
I'm so sorry to hear you've had to endure this, Sophie. He sounds like he was a wonderful dog, which is rarer to come by than I think many people realize. You gave him a home full of love and made his life rich.

Yesterday we had to put down my black lab after a failed attempt to remove a volleyball sized tumor in her abdomen. It's not been the same without her here. I've not even picked up all her toys yet. It's hard to change your routine and to adjust to a life where they're not there in the simplest of ways.

And yet, Blaze never complained, and always wanted her walk everyday, despite being skin and bones and carrying around a burden of cancer that was unimaginable for us. She even amazed the doctor with her happy resilience.

I take comfort in the fact that we gave her a life full of love and fun that she wouldn't have had, as we found her on the side of the road one rainy evening.

You have my deepest sympathies. I know what you mean by the thought that a simple memorial notion not being enough. They deserve more for their loyalty and unconditional love. :petting:
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2009
Oh Sweetheart, I cannot fully express how sad I am for your loss. You tried so hard to save her and I am sure she tried so hard to stay with you. Our dogs don't want to disappoint us, no matter how much it hurts them. She knew you were proud of her and I think that means more to dogs than we can ever comprehend.
Leave the toys where they are for now. There's no need to hurry past the memories.
:tighthug:
Reply
:iconthemuseslibrary:
themuseslibrary Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2009
Thanks Sophie :hug: I couldn't have put it better myself, especially with how our dogs try to please us. Her funeral is today and we're going to spread her ashes on the road we liked to walk down. She'll be able to chase bunnies and squirrels for as long as she likes now:)
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2009
:sniff: That's a perfect tribute.
Reply
:iconlometari:
Lometari Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2009
I'm so sorry... It is really sad when you lose a companion like that. I lost two dogs, and although they were both old an ill it was hard for us to make that final decision and end their suffering. The important thing is that you made him feel loved and gave him a family to belong to.
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2009
Thank you. He got an extra two weeks from the day he was due to be put to sleep. I am sure Buster would agree it was worth it.
Reply
:iconcarol-moore:
Carol-Moore Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
So so sorry for your loss :hug: Your eulogy brought tears to my eyes. I feel your pain and wish there was something I could do or say to make it all better. :hug: :iconcheerupplz:
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2009
Your kind thoughts make it better, in fact. Thank you for sharing them.
Reply
:iconcarol-moore:
Carol-Moore Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
So glad to hear :hug:
Reply
:iconceb364:
ceb364 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2009
That's so sad. I never considered myself a dog person, unti I got Tifa [link] about five years ago. Since that time, we are nearly inseparable. I never knew as loyal a friend. Our hearts go out to you.
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2009
I know what you mean. I've been cat-crazy my whole life, and I still love my little furballs like crazy, but my dog is absolutely my best friend. Something about just looking into his eyes makes my heart ache.
Reply
:iconfiredance99:
firedance99 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2009
I'm sorry. Pets have a way of getting into your heart so quickly.
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2009
That they do.
Reply
:icongeekiest:
geekiest Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2009
I'm so so sorry =(
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2009
Thank you. We're already talking about how long to wait before we can rescue another dog. We have to make sure Rufus isn't a carrier, even though he was vaccinated.
Reply
:iconmarquisedecarabas:
MarquiseDeCarabas Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2009
This journal made me cry, I lost two adorable dogs, one to a quick, painful and lethal illness when I was 12, and it's always terrible to lose someone close to us even if it's "only" a dog.

I'm sincerely sorry for your loss, you had so little time to spend together as a family.
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2009
Thank you very much for your kind words. It's good to hear from other dog-people who understand how much it hurts.
Reply
:iconayas-shadow:
ayas-shadow Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2009
I know that nothing can really truly help with the pain of losing a 'fur-baby' as I lost mine just over a month ago (my kitty baby of nearly 7 years) but I wanted to say I'm sorry you lost one of yours. :hug: I hope that when the time is right you will find another fur-baby that fits in just as well as Buster. I know that no other will ever take his place, will never be able to fill it, but maybe another can fit just as well as he did, in their own way.
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2009
We will definitely get another dog, as soon as we are certain our home and our other dog aren't going to spread the same illness.
Reply
:iconayas-shadow:
ayas-shadow Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2009
*nods*
Reply
:iconchemoelectric:
chemoelectric Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009
:cry:
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2009
:sniff: Thanks, my friend.
Reply
:iconchemoelectric:
chemoelectric Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009
:cry:
Reply
:iconcaetis:
Caetis Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Losing a pet is a really tough thing, especially when they are more than just pets, but part of the family. As a fellow dog lover, I really am sorry for your loss, I really, really am. It always saddens me when something like this happens, and there are no words that can fix what's happened, nor anything I can say that might help, simply that I know what it's like, and I do feel your pain.

I hope things are going better, and I do mourn your loss.
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009
Thank you so much, love. Just having your understanding and sympathy helps the sadness.
Reply
:iconcaetis:
Caetis Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
I truly, truly hope so dear.
Reply
:iconsplendidstories:
splendidstories Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009  Professional Writer
Ok, now that I'm able to type without bawling my eyes out....

My dog passed away last summer. She wasn't a pet, she was a sister. A best friend, a furry shoulder, and a comfort. I won't say I know exactly how you feel, because no one can. But I do understand the loss, and the heartbreak at losing someone so special, so loving...

My own heart breaks for you and your family, at this loss. I can tell by this post, though, that you made Buster's life as special as he made yours. :)
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009
I believe you do know how I feel and it's comforting to know that. Thank you so much for your sweet words and I'm so very sorry about your own loss. I am sure you miss her just as much now as you did then.
Reply
:iconelandria:
Elandria Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009  Professional General Artist
My condolences Sophie, the work you and Tim do at the shelter and all the animals you care about is nothing short of selfless love for small souls!!
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009
Thank you, Lan. Once our home is deemed "safe" again, we'll start looking for another little fella or gal who could use a home.
Reply
:iconelandria:
Elandria Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009  Professional General Artist
:nod: there needs to be more people with big hearts!!!
Reply
:icontherealshelob:
therealShelob Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009
wow, .....i am just so sad to hear that:tears:. I have grown up w/different "pets" & have always has "babies" (as i call them because that is what they are; my children) as an adult, until now. I never thought i would be without an animal in my life at any given point. I am 38.
On July 4th at 12:04 am my Handsome died. Here is my journal posting: Handsome. He was my last baby left & the only love left in my life. He passed from pancreatic cancer. In case you don't already know it is one of the most aggressive & difficult to treat cancers there is. When he was diagnosed (on May 26th) i was told that he would most likely not survive surgery; he would bleed to death because that is the nature of those tumors, to profusely bleed when cut. I choose to home hospice care for him w/the knowledge always in my head that if i believed his pain to be too great i would bring him & have him euthanized. Trying (in vein i fear) to keep this short, i had a few different things i was using w/him to keep him as comfortable as possible while maintaining constant communication w/his vet (&other vets). On July 3rd i knew it was his time, i decided to take him in. This is a decision that i was hoping he would not have to experience, taking him in a cab & everything else that goes along w/that trip for him ..... i didn't want it for him
:no: ....but i knew it was time. I needed one last night w/him & had talked w/the doc & told her i would bring him in tomorrow (the 4th). Well as i said, he passed at 12:04am on the 4th. What i didn't know was that one of the ways he could die from the cancer was suffocation. It is still too incredibly painful (as i'm sure you can imagine) & private for me to describe, but what i will say is that i watched him fight, & he kicked me when i touched him.....so i was not even able to love him, try to comfort him, ...anything:tears: .....at the precise moment i was filling his syringe w/his pain med he took his last breath. There on my bed. The full syringe still sits on the table next to my bed, as does his i.v. which hangs off my lamp.
I know in my heart that i made the decisions i thought best for him at the time, but afterwords it it always tempting to think "i should have done this ....i could have done this...what if i had done this". I have always has a love & respect for animals that i have never been able to match in people. The innocence they have, they just show you how they feel, they never lie. they do not think to manipulate, you just know what they think & how they feel when you look at them. Because my respect & love is (was doesn't fit) so great for Handsome i would have given my own life for him, i know i did what i believed to be best for him, but what i do know is he didn't deserve to die like that. After 14 yrs of being the most gentle natured, innocent, loving, sweet creature i ever knew.....after becoming my last love who followed me everywhere i went.....the love who would just stare into my eyes until he became dreamy.........he deserved better. I can not change the past.
August 21st was the two yr anniversary of having to put my Amaryllis to sleep after she was my love for 16 yrs. I have never recovered from that.....three months later i had to have my Dove of 16 yrs also, put to sleep after she suffered several strokes. Talk about an innocent creature.....:no:....they don't come more gentle or innocent then her. It took the doc several tries to get her heart to stop ....:tears:. She also deserved better.

There is no "good way to die", i just know from what you wrote that i was very happy to read that he had a home w/you three, he was part of a family, & he felt he belonged. For a long time or a short time, he knew he was loved until the very end......that is what matters.

I have never had the strength to volunteer at a shelter or w/animals in anyway, i feel like it would just rip me apart, so to have seen the videos you posted ..:tears::heart: & this beautiful eulogy, & other things you have wrote about the dogs,...it just gives a tremendous amount of dignity & respect to them as an individual, something i wish i saw more. I admire that greatly, i'm sure you & Tim are amazing people.:tighthug:
While i cried a lot:cries: while reading your eulogy, i am going to choose to have the "mud puddle" story be the most memorable part of this for me since it made me smile, very sweet.

I hope somehow what i have shared here will help you in some way:tighthug:.
You are amazing.
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009
Thank you so much for sharing such a difficult and intimate part of your life and soul with me. I am so very sorry for all of those losses, all so close together, and for the heartbreak of losing your last baby. :hug:
I understand about keeping the syringe. I still have his meds on top of the refrigerator, as if he'll be able to finish them off and get well.
Reply
:iconhughsonsharpe:
HughsonSharpe Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009
As an avid dog lover, and one who has had the misfortune of being with many dogs at their ends, I offer you my most heartfelt condolences.

In my heart of hearts, dogs have always had a more cherished spot than humans, because only dogs can give such unconditional love. No matter how you feel, you're always greeted with a wagging tail and loving eyes.

The only sentiment I can offer is one that has already been said, that you can rest assured that you gave Buster the life that every dog dreams of, and he passed knowing he was truly loved.
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009
Thank you.
Reply
:iconimagesbyterig:
ImagesByTeriG Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009  Professional Photographer
I've watched you here for year or two, and enjoy your art and journals. Your animal adventures and social commentary.
And reading this, I just realised how special you and your family are...
Tears well up, and my heart aches for you, and your loss... I'm sure, you made his short life, happy and full of love.
:heart:
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009
That means a lot to me, actually. Thank you very much.
Reply
:iconimagesbyterig:
ImagesByTeriG Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009  Professional Photographer
Thank you... I am more than sure you will never forget him, and will live to love many animals that need that, more than anything, sweetheart.. :kiss:
Reply
:iconvaia:
vaia Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
I'm so sorry, Sophie :cling:

I've lost three of my fur babies in the past three years, and they always take a little piece of you along with them. All we can do is remember how much we loved them, and they loved us, and keep those happy thoughts. :heart:
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009
Yep, it's all we can do. Still get a bit misty-eyed at the old PetSmart. heh. Glad there are so many other animal-lovers here who understand that we're mourning a family member, not "just an animal."
Reply
:iconelithastock:
ElithaStock Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2009
Words cannot describe how sad I am for you. I actually have tears welling in my eyes right now. I truly feel your pain, because yesterday morning one of my parakeets died. She had been sick too, and I've been giving her medicine, but like you said, death is death. Now every time I look at the birdcage and see 2 birds instead of 3, I just want to start crying all over again.
And I have a dog too. She's like my baby, and I don't know what I'd do if something had happened to her... It's like you're loosing a part of yourself.
I really am deeply sorry. It's unfair that you got to have so little time with him.
I guess all I can say is try to stay strong :hug:
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2009
:hug: I'm so sorry to hear about your lil' bird! They are such sweet little things-- so delicate. It's awful to fight so hard to save the ones you love, only to face an enemy you have no power against. It's a rotten feeling.

You have my condolences as well, and my appreciation for your kind words.
Reply
:iconelithastock:
ElithaStock Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009
:hug:
Reply
:iconvillenueve:
Villenueve Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I am so sorry for your dog's passing,it is something so sad,Just a few days ago I also lost my dog,he lived a good life,18 years was with us and now it is sad to see he has gone...we miss him deeply,and I can say I am familiarized with many of the things you describe about your dog,my dog was not pure breed,but he was for us beautiful,great and always brave...so believe me I understand your sadness...

I believe there is a heaven for animals,I am sure your dog,and mine are in that heaven now,running free and happy.
Reply
:iconlockstock:
lockstock Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2009
That's a beautiful sentiment. I am so sorry you've lost such a longtime companion and packmate/family member. (Basically the same thing, right?) So many memories must get triggered by the most innocuous of things. I hope those memories bring more smiles than tears. :hug:
Reply
:iconkiriyama-nox:
Kiriyama-Nox Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2009
The very best wishes to you. May he rest in peace.
Yours is a lovely and warm story about men and dogs, living together peacefully as friends.
Reply
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