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Pet Lovers

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9 Aug 2016
I visited this forum after losing three of my boys (dogs) first Ami and Mimi, at 15 and 17 and then Hiway who was 11, in just a year. I found a new puppy to love not long after Hiway crossed the bridge. this new little man, Finch, was able to come to work with me and be a therapy dog, I work with people with disabilities. We did everything together. One Tuesday evening in September two years ago, when he was four, Finch had a seizure that turned out to the be first of many, many more. His life was more difficult, but no less full. He paddle boarded and boated, hiked and swam and went everywhere with me. He took lots of meds, but was a happy and sweet friend through it all. Monday night, June 27th about 830pm I noticed he didn't seem himself, then he started having trouble catching his breath. By 11:45 he was gone. I got him to the emergency vet about 60 miles from us but they were unable to stabilize him. Even with IV's and a breathing tube they couldn't help him.
I am so very lost. He really was my best friend. I just don't know what to do with myself. I am only working part time, I lost my fulltime job because I was unable to pay attention to what I was doing and made mistakes. I am terrified of starting a new job because I can't seem to stop crying, it's an all day, every day thing. I am making an appointment with a counselor, but in the meantime, I am much in need of support.
I don't mean this to sound desperate, I just feel more lost than ever before.
21 Jul 2013
I wanted to take a moment and introduce Hiways' "little" brother. Finch came to me by accident very soon after Hiways death; but at just the time I needed him the most. He was only 7 weeks old when I brought him home. He has the sweetest nature of any dog I've ever met. My goal is for Finch and I to volunteer with a local group that does comfort post crisis or traumatic events. We've been through several classes already and there are more to come before he is a certified Pet Partner, but it's been worth every second.
I work as a behavior specialist and one of my requests before taking my new job was to be able to bring Finch to work with me once he is certified. He's come several times already, just for an hour or two at a time and he is wonderful with my people (I work with developmentally disabled adults). One of the things we've worked on in for him not to knock people over and he's learned to crawl, before I could even give him the cue he did it himself. I was so proud of him. He knows some hand signals and I taught them to my clients, poor puppy was so confused; there was a whole bunch of people all giving him different commands and talking at the same time, but he was awesome. We have a big halfway mark in his training next month and then another 6 months to finish.
He's been wonderful for me to come home to and good company for Kitten; they don't sleep together like Kitten and Hiway did, but they are good friends. As you can see from the attached photo, she's taught him where the best spot on the sofa is.

Thank you so much for being here this past year. I didn't post much, but often came to read and think.
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21 Jul 2012
I didn't realize how quiet my house would be without Hiway. He was such a mamas boy that just me moving from room to room woke him from his naps and required a quiet "not leaving without you buddy". A trip to the bathroom required him checking on me, just in case aliens were trying to take me away or I might happen to slip down the drain.
It's a beautiful day, but I can't make myself work in the yard, because he was always there watching. I would like to go to the river, but he was always there, the river was his favorite place in the whole world. I don't even want to drive to the grocery store, because my back seat will be empty. I'll forget he's gone and look in the rearview mirror to check which window to open. The weather is lovely and there is no wind; a perfect day for the paddle board. But there is no one to sit at my feet, and who would I blame for losing their balance should I tip over?
His leash and squeaky ball are in my car. His collar is clipped on my purse. His bed is under the window, beside my bed. His rug is under the table. Kitten sleeps on his rug, she misses her friend too. When I got home from the river yesterday after letting Hiway go I picked her up and she sniffed me for almost a minute then curled up under the table on their rug. There must have been a story in the scent. I hope it wasn't scary. The same thing happened with Hiway after Mimi died. Hiway came right to me like he always did, but after he smelled me he went to a corner and curled up. They can smell when their friends die. I don't know if it's in my scent, or if it's a scent the animal who died left, but they know.
I don't think I should have done things differently. Hiway was ready. Both the quality of life scale and he himself told me that. But I don't want it to be true. I will have to go to work tomorrow. It will be the first time I've gone to work without him (other than teaching classes) since January. I left a squeaky ball in the office by accident last week. I know it's there, and I know I will cry when I find it. The stairs I had to carry him down. The spot under the desk where he slept (right by the fan, of course so there was a lovely eau de dog in the room). My car is the worst. He loved going for rides. He couldn't walk by the car without waiting, just in case I might open the door and we might go somewhere magical.
I miss him so much. He was such a shy, quiet boy. Everyone says their dog was the "best". There were a lot of things that scared Hiway. Me crying terrified him. He would cram himself into the smallest corner he could (pretty amazing sometimes for an 80lb lab). I think maybe his first people had cried when they beat him and threw him out to die. Being with him made me stronger than I really am. New situations and lots of people frightened him, I needed to me calm and reassuring no matter what, or he wasn't going. Being with him made me braver than I really am. He never demanded attention. He would quietly wait and watch and hope for someone to play with him or talk to him. Being with him made me more caring that I was before. He loved (oh how he loved) to run and play. Being with him made me more athletic and stronger than I really am. He was uncomfortable with praise, with people watching him and commenting on him. Being with him reminded me to be quiet and unassuming. (being as I went to college on a speech/drama scholarship, that was tough for me). When strangers wanted to play with him (assuring him that "all dogs love me") I had to be firm and tell them no, he really didn't love them, they were scaring the crap out of him and they needed to back off. Being with him made me more assertive than I really was.
I've had dogs who I thought were the "best", and of course I think Hiway was the best dog for me. But he was the only dog who made me better. He was my friend and now he's gone and I am so sad and lonely. I don't want to see people, go somewhere or do something. I just miss him, and I want him back.
20 Jul 2012
I wanted to share the following with you all. It was written by my ex husband and son, both of whom loved Hiway very much and were always a big part of his life.

I, Hiway, because of the burden of my illness and realizing the end of my life is near, to hereby bury my Last Will and Testament in the mind of my Mom; she will not know it is there until after I am dead. Then, remembering me in her loneliness, she will suddenly know of this; I ask her to inscribe it as a memorial to me.

I have little in the way of material things to leave. Dogs are wiser than men. They do not set great store upon things. They do not waste their days hoarding property. They do not ruin their sleep with thoughts of how to keep objects they own. There is nothing of value I have except my love and my faith. These I leave to those who have loved me, to my Mom, who I know will mourn me the most, to my companions, Adam and John. But if I should list all those I leave my love to, it would force my Mom to write a book. Perhaps it is vain of me to boast when I am so near weather, which returns all beings and vanities to dust, but I have always been an extremely exceptional dog.

I ask my Mom to remember me always, not not to grieve too long. In my life I have tried to be a comfort to her in times of sorrow and a reason for added joy and happiness in her life. I will never be able to express my gratitude to my family for adopting the puppy who was tossed along side the road and left for dead to be forgotten. Because of Mom, I don't remember what it was like not having a family. It is painful for me to think that in my death I should cause them pain. Let her remember that, while no dog had a happier life; I have grown ill and pained. I should not want my pride to sink to a bewildered humiliation. It is time for me to say good bye. It will grieve me to leave my Mom, but death holds no sorrow. We dogs accept it as part of life, not as humans do as something alien and terrible that destroys life.

What will come after my death? I will be in a place where one is always young and hale. I will greet my brother, Mimi and Ami; I will romp in fields and swim in clear rivers with those who have gone before. Every hour is meal time; in every evening their is a fireplace with logs forever burning. I will curl in front of the fire and dream of my family left behind, along side the family I have been reunited with. This seems much to expect. But I know it will be.

One last request I earnestly make. I ask my Mom, for love of me, to love another. It would be a poor tribute to my memory to never have another dog. What I would like to feel, is that after me, she cannot imagine living without a dog. I have never had a narrow spirit. I hold that most dogs are good. Some dogs are better than others (like me of course) therefor I suggest a Lab mix as my successor. She or he can hardly be as well mannered, as distinguished and beautiful as I, but my Mom shouldn't wish for the impossible. They will do their best, as I did, and their inevitable follies will help to keep my memory green. To him or here I would like to bequeath my only possessions; my collar, my leash, my soft bed. I leave for them my place in the car, by the open window that I so loved.

One last word for farewell my dear Mother. Whenever you think of me, say to yourself with regret, but also with happiness "he is the one who loved us all and the one we all loved". No matter how deep my sleep, or how far I have traveled, I shall hear you and no power, especially mere death, could stop me from wagging my grateful tail.

Thus ends my last will and testament.

With all my love and gratitude.

5 Jun 2012
Thank you so much for having this forum available. I've felt so lost and alone for the past few weeks.

My best friend has osteosarcoma. I had three dogs a year ago and now I have one who is slowly leaving me. The other two I lost earlier were 15 and 16, so it was expected although heartbreaking. Hiway is only 11 and was so very healthy. He missed his "brothers" desperately, quit eating for a while and was terrified of everything. I started bringing him to work, to the store, everywhere I went he was with me. We walked at the river several times a day and played so much fetch I thought my arm would fall off. He finally perked up and started eating and enjoying life again but seemed to have a bum shoulder. The vet said it was age or a muscle strain, so meds and rest. It didn't get better and I got scared, on our third visit back they found the tumor on his shoulder. There is no treatment option, only paliative therapy. We still go to the river every day, sometimes twice, he's a lab and water is his favorite thing except for fetch. Put the two together and he is in heaven. He isn't able to fetch on land due to the risk of pathological fractures, but he can fetch in the water which suits him just fine.

I was told we had about 3-4 months. we're about a month into it already. He still seems healthy, other than a little limp. He only eats when I sit with him, but he's been like that since his brothers passed away. I have wonderful bosses who allow me to bring him to work every day. He waits under my dest patiently for the river walk he knows will come at the end of our day.

I don't know what I'm going to do without him. Losing his brothers was so painful, losing him as well..... I don't know what I'm going to do without him. I will be so lost. I would give anything to be able to make him better, anything.
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