If Ike wants a friend in Washington, he should get a dog.
- Harry Truman, on Eisenhauer's 1953 Inauguration
It was 2012. I was done with the Atlanta-Austin shuttle. What I found was that my family liked me being away from home all the time, as long as the paycheck cleared. My soon-to-be-ex was increasingly angry and dismissive; my two surly teenage sons were, well, increasingly surly.
And so I channeled my inner Ike and got a dog. I wanted something that I knew would love me, without asking for anything in return (except for love and kindness, that is). This was Wolfgang's introduction to this blog.
I didn't know just what an extraordinary friend I had brought into the house. I did a better job socializing and training him than I had on my old German Shepherd, Jack. 30 years of me growing up helped a lot there. But Wolfgang was something special. He loved going to the dog park (morning and evening) which I never did with Jack, and so he became comfortable and social around all the other dogs. I took Wolfgang on walks in the woods, like I had with Jack. But as Wolfgang grew, so did his personality. He had a gusto for life when it was him and me spending time together. I was his Dad, but he was my friend and companion.
My marriage augured into the ground, and I met The Queen Of The World. Wolfgang discovered what I was learning, that she was extraordinarily caring. She made sure his food and water dishes were clean and full. She gave him a bed (a folded up blanket, but it was his place) which he had never had before. She gave him his first stuffed toy, which we called his "baby". He'd never had one before. I was his Dad, and did things with him. She quickly became his Mom, and did things for him. Wolfgang loved her immediately.
He loved her even when she took his baby and put it in the washing machine. He lost his mind - it was HIS baby! He relaxed when she took it out of the washer, and then lost his mind all over again when she put it in the dryer. But The Queen Of The World made sure he had his own bed to sleep on, and his baby to sleep with him.
Pretty soon she replaced the blanket with an actual bed for him.
She was a great Mom for him. She got him his first Frisbee. I threw tennis balls for him to chase, and she noticed that he would catch them when I lobbed them to him. So she got soft Frisbees and he took to that like a duck takes to water. He would get huge hang time jumping for them - it was like a shark hitting a tuna. The Frisbee in the photo below is at least seven feet off the ground. We met most of the folks in the neighborhood because everyone noticed the big, good looking dog carrying the Frisbee. The neighborhood kids in particular all wanted to throw it for him. Wolfgang quickly learned that kids just wanted to play with him. He loved kids, and they loved him. The neighborhood Moms all relaxed when they watched everyone having fun with the big Frisbee dog.
Unlike Jack, he also loved being around other dogs. He would play at the dog park, and was always good about sharing his Frisbee. I've never seen a dog get along with other dogs as well as he did.
The Queen got him a raincoat, because I would take him out, rain or shine. She called him the "Morton Salt dog".
You see, we'd go look for deer lurking around Castle Borepatch and sometimes it rained. Sometimes it didn't. Whichever, we had our time together every day.
The Queen Of The World and he had time together every day, too. Christmas was always special, because she filled his stocking to overflowing. He always got excited when she hung his stocking with ours. He knew she was taking care of him, in a way he hadn't ever had before.
The move to Florida was good for him, as it was to us. His back and hips were going bad, and he didn't have cold and snow to deal with, or stairs to navigate. And while there weren't many deer, there were a lot of cows. He loved saying hello to the cows.
But time and tide wait for no man, or dog. His back became nothing but arthritis, and the sockets of his hips were jagged bone. It got harder and harder for him to walk. If you look closely in the next picture, you can see that he couldn't quite get his back end all the way up, and his back legs are tangled up. He'd fall and have trouble getting up. That was two months ago, and it continued getting worse.
One night he fell and had to pull himself with his front legs to where he could stand up. You could see the pain in his eyes, and while he never used to whine that became more common. And so we spoiled him, and made the call to the vet. The first picture of him is at the top of the post; this is the last photo I took of him.
The Queen Of The World made him chicken and rice, and he ate a huge lunch yesterday, and loved every bit of it. We gave him Frosty Paws which we'd stopped because it upset his digestive system. But all rules were suspended yesterday. And then we went to the vet.
Yesterday was a bad day
. He gave us what I had hoped for when I got him - unconditional, devoted love. The Queen Of The World and I returned that to him - we used to say that he was our child. We would give him morning family hugs and tell him "I love you". Soon he was saying it back to us: Ooo OOOOO ooo
. He would match the word length and tone perfectly.
But of course, he wasn't our child, he was our dog. Rather than three score and ten, we had him for a decade and one. We are now constantly reminded of him by his absence, where he should be waiting for us but is not. Yesterday morning was the hardest; rather than him eager to see me get out of bed, it was silence. I'm sort of wrecked, losing someone like that. I am sure glad that I have The Queen Of The World with me.
Wolfgang was hands down the best dog we've ever had. He was so friendly with both people and dogs, so smart and easy to train, so well behaved, and so damned handsome
that everyone in the neighborhood is sad, too. He truly earned the words from Epitaph to a Dog
Near this spot rests one who had
Beauty without Vanity;
Strength without Insolence:
Courage without Ferocity;
and all Man's Virtues with none of his vices.
This has been a long post, but it's his due. I sure would rather not have the occasion to write it. The Queen and I will never see his like again.
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
- Will Rogers
Ave atque vale, Wolfgang. I sure miss you.
My opinion is that heaven is full of dogs and unoccupied by many folks we encountered daily.
Sorry to hear about Wolfy.
We had to put down my wife's dog last week as well
I am so very sorry - I remember so well when you brought him home - so many good memories since then.
I mourn with you. I had to put my German Shepherd down a couple of months back. Even with three other dogs still running around, there's STILL a void...
...I've had lots of dogs, but I MISS this one...
A wonderful eulogy for a very special friend. Some dogs are angels in fur suits, and it's hard to see how we can deserve them.
My comment on Monday's post seems to have vanished to the bitbucket in the cloud, probably because I tried to cut-n-paste Kipling's poem The Power of the Dog. But someone else did it for me. I challenge any dog lover to read it aloud without choking. I can't. It is some of the most powerful use of the language that I've ever seen. May you both find comfort in your grief.
A great memorial. My screen seems to be broken. It's gotten blurry.
I read these stories and realize that, in general, I care more about dogs than people. I don't know if that says more about me or dogs or people.
What a wonderful life you shared with him and he shared with you and yours.
We don't, if we're truly lucky, get the dog we want. We get the dog we need. And Wolfgang was that for you and yours. And you and yours were what Wolfgang needed, too.
Lots of love, lots of sad thoughts and remembrances. It's hard, been there, done that.
And don't think getting another dog will be cheating on him. If you need to get one, that is.
Prayers and thoughts headed your way.
He'll be waiting for you ...
That's two days in a row that you've made me cry at work, in an office filled with engineers!
Still, I wouldn't have it any other way. The animals we care for make us better humans.
Dawg heaven is in God's back 40. It's filled with weeds, woods, fast rabbits, slow mail men, gophers, and ignorant cats. He's alright, BP. You guys did everything well.
My deepest sympathies. He will always live on in your heart.
Don't wait too long, look around another dog needs love you and be loved like Wolfgang.
I sure Wolfgang would approve.
Condolences, and know he will be waiting on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.
My thoughts are with you and may you always remember him with a smile on your face.
I struggle for words at such a loss, other than I'm so sorry. But you both were blessed. Puts meaning in the line "we don't deserve them"
My two have softened me up. The big guy especially.
And sadly, he isn't getting any younger.
I"m so sorry again Borepatch
My heart cries for your sad loss.
I am so very sorry for your loss. They can never be replaced.
But there's another dog out there that needs a loving home.
condolences bore, thank you for sharing some of that special bond. After I started reading I realized what was coming but continued despite the burning eyes. Wolfgang deserved that he be remembered. I am glad he had you and the Mrs giving him the love he deserved...
Strange the way lives move in parallel and roughly the same timeline. Good dog.
I shed a tear tonight... May the silence around your home eventually become less deafening... May you and the Queen share those memories as long as you both are able.
I'm sorry for your loss. I know how it hurts to lose a four footed friend.
When tomorrow starts without me, Dont think we're far apart, For every time you think of me, I;m right here in your Heart!
God bless ya'll!
Dusty in here. Sorry man, it always hurts to say goodbye.
I've had 4 GSD's. Four left this realm. Hardest for me was when I laid down at night and didn't feel their spirit in the room. Heart wrecking emptiness. When you ready, get a new pup. You'll be glad you did. They go a long ways knocking the edge off. I tell my wife "doing the right thing is not necessarily the easy thing". I wish your family the best of times to come. Texson
Condolences on the passing of your family member. Being able to do the best thing for your pets is hard and holding them while they pass is harder.
If there are no dogs in heaven, I want to go where they are, and no I'm not crying...much.
the kids want to get a doggo. I am resisting. It occurred to me that one reason my subconscious is doing the delaying action, is that the kids will go off to college well before the regular life expectancy of a good dog might expire. So that means it would be up to moi to take said dog (or more than one doggo) on the last journey to the vet. Been there, done that. Don't want to do it again. Her name was Turbo aka Turbo The Wonderdog. Extremely smart German Shepherd. She caught a turtle once in the back yard, and forever more played with 5 lbs rocks I think because she was hoping they would crawl around like the turtle did (the turtle was terrified at being in her jaws and tossed up into the air a few times, but survived).
I expect at some point I will cave in.
You have my deepest condolences.
I got my first dog when I was five years old, and I've been on that last trip to the vet too many times. This is the only bad part about owning a dog; you're bound to outlive them.
I'm glad you gave him a good life.
Sorry to hear blog brother. My sincerest condolences on you losing your friend.
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