Sunday, September 16, 2012

Saying goodbye

We are just about 2 weeks shy of the anniversary of Ivy's death.  This also happens to be the blog anniversary.  I had been thinking about starting one, but that even was just the push I needed. It was the best place I could thing of to memorialize my feelings towards her passing away.

And now I'm here to write about another death.  The death of Solomon.

He wasn't thrilled with his Christmas present.
And...the kids kept "regiving" this to him all day!

He was a good dog.  We got Solomon in the fall of 2001.  I had graduated college, got a job and was working.  I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and got puppy fever.  We looked at the animal shelter, but didn't find any dogs we were really interested in.  Then we paid a visit to the Humane Society.  I had a Dalmatian at the time and we took her along.  We wanted to make sure the dogs got along.

They brought a squirmy little puppy into the room.  He jumped up onto Mariah (the Dalmatian).  She immediately growled at him and back away respectfully.  We knew they would get along splendidly and brought him home.

Those two were the best of friends.  Mariah mommied him and they would curl up in the floor and sleep together.  It was absolutely adorable.

Solomon loved being outside and pretty much would sit on the back stoup surveying our tiny back yard.  When we brought him home, he could fit into a small laundry basket.  (I have some pics somewhere - just not digital. ;-) )  He grew.  He grew some more. And finally we had a gigantadog on our hands.

One summer Mariah passed away.  She had cancer.  We got Ivy and then we moved.  The new house was not kind to Solomon and his love of outdoors didn't stay.  He was terrified of it actually.  He burned his face on a burn bin - which we didn't realize the previous owners had lit the fire before they left.  He also got shocked by our  new in-ground fence.  All of it was in a short period of time - in new surroundings - and it was enough to convince him we had moved to an evil place.

Solomon was a good dog.  He was eager to please, well trained and just plain lazy.  I loved the fact he was lazy.  He looooooooved water.

When Rebekah was born - he really wasn't too sure about her.  Around Rebekah's first birthday he finally realized she wasn't going anywhere and pretty much tolerated her.  He was warmer to Peter because by then he figured out the magic food dispenser.

And when Ruth was born - they were pretty much buddies.

He was never very far away from Ruth -
especially when she was near the table.
It is sad to think that she probably won't remember him, but they brought the greatest joy to one another.  She would just walk up and hug him.  She wollered him frequently.

Last Thursday it was cool and rainy.  It seemed as if fall had finally arrived.  It was clear Solomon was in pain, and we thought his hip was bothering him.  We had already decided to take him to the vet to see if we could get something to ease his hip symptoms.  He was wobbly on his feet - so wobbly that the kids knocked him over once. He fell over another time just trying to turn around. 

That night I ended up waking up every hour.  First - Solomon kept trying to get up on the counters.  This was his favorite passed time.  And I hadn't cleared them off (like normal) because in his condition I didn't think it was a problem.  I could hear him in there flopping around.  I yelled at him to come back into the room and  he did.  He whined and whined.  I thought he needed out to let him out.  He fell down the one step in the backyard.

It was raining so I left the door open and puttered around the kitchen.  He came and stood at the door, staring blankly forward.  "It's open! Come on in Solomon!"  He just stood there.  "Solomon?"  I patted him on the head - and he just continued to stare forward.  I tried gently tugging on his color and he didn't budge.  I closed and opened the door and he finally snapped out of it and stumbled back inside.

We repeated this entire thing a second time - kitchen to being let outside - except that the second time I left the back porch light on and he seemed to be better.

And there was one point where he wandered into the living room bumping into things.  I flipped on the light and he seemed to be better.

The next morning I told William to go ahead and go to work.  He had an early meeting.  I told him to make a vet appt as soon as he could go.  As I was getting kids ready, he wandered over to his food/water bowl and collapsed.  He laid there and laid there and I was beginning to wonder how we would get out the door.  I wasn't about to make him move.

He finally lifted his front body up and dragged himself over the carpet.  It was obvious he wasn't using his back legs.  We had already talked to the kids about Solomon - telling them that he was very sick.  I was very careful (and have always been) to not associate death and sleep together.  I think that can cause some extra fear.  I explained that the vet may need to give Solomon some medicine that will send him to live with Jesus.  Since he was so sick, there may not be any other option.  As we left they each gave him a last hug and kiss.

He was still in this spot when William came home to pick him up for the vet.  Only he had vomited and was laying next to it.

William devised a plan to get William in the car (involving a sheet - remember he is about 120 lbs).  I arrived at the vet just in time to see him and someone from the office working to get him out of the back of the car onto a stretcher.  I held the door open for them.

The vet didn't have good news.  I had hoped there would be a magic pill.  Because it came on so sudden, because of the loopy behavior, because of the labored breathing - the vet felt he probably had a tumor burst.  We actually aren't surprised by the thought of tumors.  He had little knots all over him. She also felt with his age - he wouldn't survive any kind of treatment.

We were with Solomon as he passed.  William started to take his collar off when the vet went to retrieve the medicine, but I stopped him.  "You know it upsets him to have it off.  Just leave it on awhile longer." We petted and talked to Solomon.  He licked me and I squeezed him.

She came back and administered the anesthesia and he peacefully went to sleep.

He was a good dog.  He will be missed.  I already miss his as I've had to clean up the floor after the kids - that was his job and he was pretty good at it.

Children near the table meant food - he was always close by!
 I find myself walking in our room in the dark certain ways in certain spots - as I always did to avoid stepping on him in the night.

I find myself checking the kitchen to make sure food it put away - so I wouldn't have surprises later on.

I find myself looking for him as I enter the house - because he was always there to greet us.

Solomon had just turned 11 this summer.  And he will be missed.

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