Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Breathing - The Passing of an Old Friend

Okay, so this happened the other night.

As I was getting into bed and was about to turn the bedside light off, I heard breathing. Understand, recently my 80 pound German Shepherd of 15 years died, in my bedroom. A few weeks ago. And I live alone. Now.

July 17, 2017
His mother was a medium sized white German Shepherd. His after was a massive 120 pound German Shepherd. Everyone complimented him on his looks and his confirmation. He didn't have issues with his hindquarters until this past year when it was hard for him even to walk, to go outside. He was always good natured. A good protector. Smart and so funny at times.

He'd been having a hard day and night and over time had been getting worse. That night I let him know as usual when it was time to get up and head to the bedroom. He tried but just couldn't do it. He'd been getting worse over the year since we moved in here last year so it wasn't surprising, but it was.

So I laid down next to him, petted him and talked to him. My daughter and her boyfriend were staying here at the time and they gave him some love and attention before they went to bed too.

We knew he was near the end, but it could have gone on for weeks, too. Finally, as I was very tired myself that day, I dragged him on his living room pillow bed down the hallway into my bedroom and put his bedroom bed in the living room.

He seemed relieved to be where he knew he should be. Lately a few times he had just slept in the living room and the next day seemed fine.

He woke me a couple of times through the night pawing at the wood floor until finally I moved him over to where his nails would touch the throw rug which seemed to calm him. I was sleepy and didn't realize he was trying to get up.

Finally I woke at 4:30AM, his breathing was labored and he seemed a little panicky. I finally realized why. He had relieved himself on his bed. Normally he would tell me, wake me, leave the bedroom anyway but he couldn't. It was then I realized he was in trouble.

Yes he was always clowning around
Again I laid down and petted him and talked to him for an hour. Tried to talk to him, it was hard to talk. Finally at 5:30AM, he passed on. I was pretty emotional and had been for that night and for that final last hour. It had tasked me pretty thoroughly. I had to leave the bedroom. I got up and wrote a friend an email about it, while sipping on a double Taliskers whiskey. That behavior continued throughout the rest day.

That next week my mother died. It's been a long summer all things told, those two things just being a part of what was going on all summer.

Then last night. The breathing.

As a pup
I had checked the clock radio, actually thinking it was on and I was hearing rhythmic white noise that sounded like breathing. It wasn't on. The breathing was as loud as it was the night he died in my bedroom. I'd considered an animal breathing at the window situated next to and behind my bed. But the window being so high off the ground outside, that would have had to have been a very large animal and the breathing would have been louder and I would have had other issues to worry about.

Then just as I was starting to be unable not to get emotional and anxious over it, the breathing stopped. Silence took over. I was finally, hesitantly, able to lay my head down and eventually I fell asleep.

Some might say it was my dog, communicating. But what the hell would that be communicating? I'm sure he'd have communicated something different, happier. Not that I buy into that sort of thing. So no, I don't buy it. Others might say it's an echo from my memories out of my own mind, but then, I've never been that type. Some might even say it's an echo of something that had happened in that room and... I could almost buy into that.

But in reality I think it was just my mind playing back a tape in my head, telling me how much he meant to me. As if I didn't already know that.

Whatever it was, I could use having it never happen again. Regardless, I'll miss him.

I acquired him as a puppy to help my kids with the divorce I (we) were going through. And it worked so well for us all. It was easy to love him, such a little bundle of energy and humor at first.

He was the pet I had the longest. The pet who was our family member and who held such a high place in my kid's lives. He was my home security system. My alert system while I slept. We lived on some acreage in the woods and for some years after my kids moved out, I lived there alone with him.

If there was a noise in the middle of the night, he got up to ferret it out in case someone or some thing was at the far end of the house. And he was the first (and will be the last) pet I had for his entire life, save those first eight weeks before I acquired him as a puppy.

Thanks my old friend. For being there every day, always, for always being there.


The late Great Buddha Thai in his prime

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