It's the Dad here with sad news about our beloved boy Homer. Yesterday, Jan 31st, Homer crossed over The Rainbow Bridge. Our veterinarian, Dr. Alan Witter of Confederate Ridge Animal Hospital, recently had back surgery and wasn't available to help out Homer. Fortunately, Doc has a tremendously competent and caring support staff that excel at what they do. So yesterday afternoon I wrote the "Doc" an email to bring him up to speed on the situation and to allow me to express my feelings.
I took today off from work to take care of my boy Homer. Homer was a rescue dog that we got a few months after we lost Chance. He was about 8 years old when we got him. He had been in a shelter in southwest VA. He'd been the "out front" greeting dog for sometime but the county had decided that he wasn't going to be adopted and should be put down. The shelter crew was able to have him transferred to Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary. From there he came to us. He was what AM refers to as the "perfect" dog. He had obviously been trained and well taken care of in his earlier life. Perhaps his owner had passed on. Homer didn't bark, he never showed any aggression (he was a lover, not a fighter). He wouldn't come into the house without being invited to do so. He wouldn't get on the furniture or beds or place himself under foot. He waited inconspicuously and patiently to be fed or be given a treat. We, with the help of Jubal, JEB, Jack, Shelby, etc., had to break him of all those good habits. Although he eventually became comfortable with going out and coming in and even would get up on the big bed in the MBR that was about the extent of his adjustment. He remained as close to the "perfect dog" that we've ever had. Rescues often bring along baggage from their previous lives, sometimes significant baggage. Not Homer; his only "fault" was his ability to use his head as a shovel to get pats and he was an expert at that.
We took Homer in to see Dr. Elizabeth Collins when he developed that hacking cough. We wanted a geriatric workup while we were at it. Dr. Collins only took one x-ray when she saw the numerous tumors throughout Homer's chest. She seemed so despondent when she told AM about Homer's condition. We were told what to expect and were provided with the medication necessary to suppress his cough and to keep him comfortable. We would have to decide when it was time to let go of our perfect boy. So it was that we appreciatively and attentively took care of him during his last days with us. Now it's over; it's done.
Krystal (Doc's office manager) pulled into the parking area while I was waiting outback; AM had gone inside around front to announce our arrival. I had backed the Suburban in under the carport by the back door. Homer and AM had been in the back seat with AM cradling Homer head for the trip up but I moved Homer back into the cargo compartment after I parked. Krystal was so concerned for us. AM came back out and her and Krystal talked about your current situation. Dr. Collins and (VT) Jessica soon came out the back door and Krystal left saying she didn't do well in these situations. Homer was very placid and didn't even raise his head. Jessica crawled in the back of the Suburban to hold Homer while Dr. Collins shaved Homer's leg to prep for the injection. AM and I held onto our boy along with Jessica while he just laid there without any concerns. I held his head in my hands so as to close his eyes while Dr. Collins administered the injection. It was very quickly over. Homer made no movement and made only one low guttural moan as he peacefully slipped away from us. He easily let go as he knew it was his time. He hadn't eaten since Saturday morning and he, not much unlike you, has been spending his days on the bed in the MBR. He enjoyed the last two weeks of McDonald's double cheeseburgers and Arby's roast beef sandwiches. I took him out for a walk Sunday afternoon sans leash since I thought him too debilitated to present a problem, but he promptly took off up the road to the neighbor's house. When I reached him he was panting and it was a slow walk back to the house. Unlike Chance, Homer had periods where he appeared fine and periods where he didn't. The daily highs diminished in intensity and the lows increased. Chance only had one bad day during his 2 month fight and then he just dropped off the edge of the cliff.
It was a quiet ride home. I wrapped Homer and carried him out behind the garage to the spot that I had already prepared for him. He's now resting in peace next to Chance and Gordon.
Dr. Collins' manner was exceptional. She assured us that Homer was ready and that we hadn't waited too long. She was kind and gentle towards him and us. She spoke to him As "Homey", the name that we used when talking to him. AM said that from the time she went inside to check-in that everyone treated her with every consideration. When AM asked Christie about payment she was told not to worry about it today and it could be taken care of later (I'll stop in there Friday). Jessica (front desk) was very comforting to AM and Jessica (LVT) assured AM that everything would be OK. The entire staff made it a comforting, albeit still painful, experience. We give them all an A+ in bedside manner and client satisfaction.
I apologize for venting to you while you're laid up yourself but it seems to ease my heartache somewhat. Our thoughts and prayers have turned from Homer's situation to your welfare. We wish you a speedy and complete recovery. You're held in high esteem by your clients and we actually do care about you quite a bit.
Keep in touch.
We miss Homer. Last night I spent 10 minutes looking for the mssing dog at bedtime roll call before remembering that the pack's end strength was down by one. This morning when my alarm went off Homer wasn't standing at the side of the bed awaiting his good morning pats. Abby didn't have Homer's back to nit-pick on and had to use Jubal instead; Jubal needs to adjust. I had an extra bowl set out to fill at breakfast before I remembered that Homer wasn't here. It will take a few days for me to adjust too. I'm sure that we'll be posting a bit more about our loss. Please bear with us.
Our condolences go out to our New England blog buddies, Sue and George; their angel Maggie, of Mitch and Maggie fame, went to the Bridge last Saturady and was waiting to greet Homer. Please stop by their blog.
- TBH + K Dad
|Homer with New Years Spiral Ham|