Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Hey Hounders,
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.
Homer resting with Alex and Boru

Homer's AHGRRS Adoption Photo
October 2007

Hey Doc,

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

Homer moves in - November 2007

The Last Battle
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this – the last battle – can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand,
But don’t let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me ‘til the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its’ last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We’ve been so close – we two – these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
- Anonymous


Keisha said...

I has a sad. :( Rest in peace.

Barbara said...

This is number five this week for me. I am so, so sorry. Homer sure looked like a good boy. Godspeed, Homer.

Anonymous said...

So very sorry. Homer was certainly a well loved dog.

Tank's Asst.

Sheila and Bob said...

Our friend The Bleu and now Homer J., this has been a very sad couple of weeks. We are so sorry.

Sheila & Bob

Sierra Rose said...

So sorry to hear this news. Homer's spirit is right there and will always be.
We will have you all in our thoughts.

With love,
Sierra Rose and family.

chicamom85 said...

I am so sorry.

Anne and Sasha

Mitch and angel Maggie said...

What a hard post to read. We understand so well. Homer was a much-loved boy. We hope that he and Maggie have found each other at the Rainbow Bridge and they're running and playing together.

Love ya lots,
Mitch and Sue

Gus said...

We read your note to the Doc again today, and wept a bit more for your loss.

On the other hand, I can vote for Almost Heaven from my Nook, so that puts me up to four a day!

Prayers and hugs
the muzzer and the terrierists.

Sugar the Golden Retriever said...

Woof! Woof! So sad to read this post. Lots of precious memories ... Homer will be remembered forever. Sending Lots of Golden LOVE. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I'm just catching up on your blog and am so, so sorry about your loss of Homer...I know the ache your heart is feeling as we lost Bubba a few weeks ago. Carol was so thoughtful and added him to the bridge page for Almost Heaven, since so many of you all knew him, and of course Toby too.

We are also so saddened by the loss of Carol's beloved Skip...Too many losses, but we know they are together and happy, and are waiting for the day when we can all join them again...What a wonderful day that will be.

Please know that we are keeping you all in our prayers that you can find comfort in your memories and peace at a time that I know is so difficult...

Jan's Funny Farm said...

I am so sorry! RIP, Homer.

River said...

Very sorry to hear about Homer. We've lost 2 in the past two weeks. It's been a rough start to the new year for many of us.

love & wags,

Homer said...

It is always so sad to hear about the passing of one of our dear four legged friends. For us, it is especially poignant to lose another 'Homer'. Our love and our deepest sympathies go out to you all. Thinking of you at this difficult time.

Homer and family.

The Thuglets said...

We came over from Gus's blog to say we are so sorry to hear the news about your beautiful Homer. Our thoughts are with you.

Homer run free with the wind in your face forever.

Big Nose Pokes
The Thugletsx

Scout and Freyja said...

♥I just heard about Homer. There are no words I can give to you that are adequate to express my deep and sincere sympathy for your wounded heart.♥

Anonymous said...

Sweet, sweet Homer. This wonderful boy was always one of my favorite Hounds! He reminded me so much of my The Luke, in all the ways you described him.

The Luke has been gone but a year, and now my The Bleu joined him at the bridge. I HATE cancer... but enough of that.

My heart joins yours. I'm so sorry for your loss. Homer was such a wonderful, wonderful boy. And the kind of handsome that steals my heart.

If there's any consolation, I suppose it's that there is quite a great time at the bridge these days.

I send my love to you all. I'm sorry we've been a bit out of touch, but we think of you all the time.

The Mom of The Bleu, The Luke and now... Little Reufus

Asta said...

I'm just getting back to bloggie aftew ouw big move to boo da Pest, and I saw that sweet Homew cwossed the bwidge..I thank you fow making know youw love till the vewy end..go wif ouw love and wun fwee sweet boy.
We hope youw heawts heal
smoochie kisses

KT and Easton said...

Dear friends, I just found out that Homer has left us for the bridge. My heart is heavy; having in the past, inserted Homer in a place of honor in my imagination as Lady's perfect companion. She loved the gentle, big Golden boys and shared Homer's endearing shovel-nose wake-up call for all worthy humans to pet and worship at the Golden alter. I imagine Lady is waiting to show Homer around, because that's just the way she is. Your letter to the vet says it all. It's so rare to adopt a perfect Golden with so little baggage who blasts a path into our hearts.
Fly free Homer.
You will be missed by us all.


National Canine Cancer Foundation


If you can, please consider opening your home to a homeless animal, preferably a dog or cat or other domesticated animal; livestock does better on farms and wild animals do better in zoos and parks. Your local Humane Society or SPCA or Animal Shelter has a wide selection of could be, should be, pets looking for new homes. If you can't adopt, perhaps you can at least become a sponsor. We'll show you how to help out Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary (AHGRRS) on our blog page, but you can help out any organization of your choice, but please help; contribute or volunteer.
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