Saturday, September 11, 2010

Life

It's hard on a day like today, September 11th, not to think about life. My blog notes life in it's title, and in the web address. I knew when we started a farm that life, and death, would be part of this adventure.

This past week my in-laws dog passed away. It's sad on so many levels. She was only a year old. The vet couldn't figure out what was wrong. When she wasn't getting better, my in-laws took her to another vet to get second opinion. He diagnosed appropriately and treated her, but the damage was done. She had giardia, and swallowed an acorn that caused a bowl obstruction. Had these things been treated right from the start, she would have had a chance. Things like this are so unfair. Death is not new, not even to my kids. But it's never easy.

Tonight I gave our dog Dottie a bath and was astonished at how frail Dottie has gotten. Dottie has always been our rough tomboy. I used to end up giving her a bath regularly because she'd roll in something nasty that she found outside. It hit me tonight that I haven't had to do that in over a year (I've given her a few baths this year, but always because I decided I should). She's not the same Dottie we knew. Dottie used to run wild, roll in nasty stuff, and come flying home ready to bounce on us. She was a lot like Tigger, in the Winnie the Pooh series. Now Dottie mopes around the house, struggles to walk down the steps to the back yard, and snarls at anyone and anything but the immediate family. She can't see much more than shadows. She barks incessantly at times. While giving her a bath, she felt so frail to me. Dottie has always been a thin dog. She ran so much she never kept any weight on. But she's a different sort of thin now, a frail, old thin. Giving her a bath was like bathing a newborn baby. She didn't fight, she didn't play, she never shook and got me covered in wet dog water. She's not the same happy fun loving Dottie she used to be. She couldn't even get out of the tub on her own. This dog who used to jump out if I turned my back, now couldn't do it at all. I had to lift her out. She cried. I cried. I realized before me stood an old frail unhappy dog, who is in a lot of pain.

Dottie was hit by a car in the spring of 2000. Emma was a baby, we hadn't been married long, but J was determined to save Dottie. Major $$ in vet bills later, Dottie came home. And she gave us 10 more wonderful years. It was worth every penny to have her with us.

I would have gotten a picture of Dottie for this post, but she's mad at me over giving her a bath. She crawled under the bed, her den, and won't look at me. Here are some pictures I found that were taken within the last year:




Dottie has been the best family dog. We often say that no matter how great any future dog is, they will never measure up to Dottie. Quinn, our two year old American Eskimo is a good dog, but he's no Dottie. Here is Quinn:



In addition to our two house dogs, we have a Great Pyrenees as a guardian dog to our alpacas. Here is Spot:




Don't let size fool you. We've all agreed, the dog of ours that we'd least like to fight would be Dottie. She really is that tough. Even in her old frail state, I still wouldn't take her on.

I know it's a bit silly to have a dog named Dottie and Spot in the same family. I admit freely that I didn't name either of them :)

2 comments:

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

Very nice post Cara. It is so difficult watching our beloved pets grow old or even the young ones get ill. They really truly are a part of the family. Enjoy all the time you have left with your old girl Dottie! She is a great dog!

Glenton Farm said...

Our animals are our family too and it doesn't hurt any less when one of them passes (especially too young). We too have just lost 1 of our beloved Miniature Pinschers (Minnie was 5)and we know no other dog will take her place - she was one in a million. I really enjoy your posts. Thanks

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