Thursday, September 01, 2005


It's taken me a while to get around to this entry. It's about my dog, Dauber.I inherited Dauber from my cousin Steve. Steve graduated from college. Got a dog. Got engaged to a girl who was allergic to dogs. Got rid of his dog and kept the girl. They've been happily married for 16 years now.Dauber was an English Cocker Spaniel. Black and White, or parti the papers said. He was six months old when I got him. Already trained. That was the best part, or so I thought at the time. He was only the second dog I had owned in my life time. He was the first one that was entirely my responsibility.Our boys were young then, just starting elementary school. Boys need dogs. But Dauber, by the way he was named by Steve after the character on the tv show Coach, became my dog. Mostly because I was home full time then, raising my sons. We lived out in the country so Dauber could roam and we had a pet door installed so he could go in and out at will. He pretty much stayed by my side.We also had cats and it didn't take them long to let him know who was really in charge. He didn't mind though. He figured out his place in the family pretty quick. It was by my side.And that's where he stayed. For fourteen years. He slept on a cushion by my bed. When I started working outside the home, he slept next to the back door, waiting for me to come home. When I quit working several years later and began writing, he stayed right next to my chair.Dauber started getting gray around the face. A few years back the vet said he had Cushings disease and we'd have to make some life decisions for him in a year or so. But he kept going. He romped and he played. Then he got stiff. His legs started getting weak. Arthritis had set in. I had to help him up and down the stairs sometimes. But he was determined to stay with me. Sometimes when I just had to run up or down to get something I'd close the door on him to save wear and tear on his joints. He hated that. He wanted to be where I was.Last spring we decided it was time to get a puppy. We knew Dauber wouldn't be around much longer and my husband and I had both had doxies growing up so we got a miniature long haired dauschund named Cody. We spoiled him rotten. But we made sure Dauber wasn't left out. And he wasn't. He romped and played with the puppy. He lost weight. He regained strength in his legs. We were thrilled. Dauber was doing great.Then fall came. I had always kept Dauber shaved because of the heat and his coat was just unmanageable without it. I picked him up from the groomer in Oct and she met me crying at the door. She said she couldn't do him anymore because she was afraid she'd hurt him. I took a long look at Dauber that day. Without his curly hair he was nothing but a bag of bones. I took him home and weighed him. He was down from 36 lbs to 18lbs. Dauber was dying.My husband and I had some trips planned. We canceled them. It was time for Dauber to have all our love and attention. I started watching him closely. When would it be time? I knew he'd let me know. One morning I was giving him a good rub and he climbed into my lap, trying to get closer. It was if he wasy trying to climb inside of me. I told him it was okay. He was already there and would be there forever.During the years my dad had developed a relationship with Dauber. He adored him and spoiled him with table food. When we were out of town and had a friend pet sitting, Dad would come down and spend the night with Dauber and take him to McDonalds for a hamburger. They'd go through the dirve through and get a burger and eat in in the car in the parking lot. My dad was actually mad at me when we got Cody because he was afraid Dauber wouldn't get any attention.When I told Dad that Dauber wouldn't be around much longer he avoided our house. He couldn't stand it. October faded into November. It was warm here. Everyday I'd take Dauber out and he'd enjoy a good roll in the grass. Our cat Abby always sat with hiim while he rolled. They were great friends, those two. One day while I was watching him roll I broke down crying. It was so bad that a neighbor came out to check on me.I'm just saying goodbye I told her.We spent Thanksgiving at my parents house. My mom put sheets and newspapers down all over her floors because Dauber was having some problems. Dad fed him turkey and sausage. They had a last meal together.Monday night after Thanksgiving my husband commented that Dauber wasn't having fun anymore.Tuesday morning I let him out and when he came back in he acted as if he didn't know where he was when he came back in. I picked him up and put him on his bed while I showered. When I got out he hadn't moved. It was if he had forgotten what he was supposed to do. I took a long look at Dauber. I looked into his eyes. He was gone. He was letting me know it was time.I called my husband. He couldn't get home until later that afternoon. Dauber couldn't wait. I had already made all the arrangements with the vet. I called them and put Dauber in the car.They were so kind there. Understanding. They took Dauber out and put an IV in his leg. Then, with me holding him, they gave him a shot. And just like that he was gone.They had to give me some time alone with him. I tried not to cry but I couldn't help it. The vet said there's nothing more you can do for him. He died in the arms of someone who loved him. What more could any one ask for?That was November 30th. It's been two months. I thought I could write a tribute to him without crying but gues what, I was wrong.To own a pet is a great privelege. They love us unconditionally. In their eyes we are perfect. And as I write this a dog named Cody is lying at my feet, chewing on something, just waiting for me to get up so he can follow along beside me.I also have a cat walking across my keyboard....

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