Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mom's Good Boy...

When Michael brought him home he was only six weeks old and already bigger than a football. His chest was so big that my hands could not wrap around it.

I didn't want another dog. Our last one had just died a few months before and, with five cats in the house, we really didn't need another animal.

Michael had started a new job on the night shift. He didn't want me to be alone while he was at work. And, I had a second job teaching for the local Safety Council, which meant that I came home after 10 p.m. two or three nights a week. So, when he saw a sign in the neighborhood that said "Free Puppies", he stopped to look at them and came home with Corky.

I picked up the puppy and he immediately snuggled his face in my neck. I put him on my lap and he let out a long, loud sigh and fell asleep. That's all it took. We had a new dog.

And, even better... he was housebroken in less than twenty-four hours!
I kid you not.

For the next sixteen years Corky was my protector. He made me feel safe.
Especially after Michael committed suicide and I decided to continue living in the house.
For the nine years since then, I always knew he would be waiting at the gate for me whenever I got home. And, he followed me down the driveway to the gate every morning as I left for work.
I can still hear his nails clicking on the concrete. He was Mom's Good Boy.

He didn't really start to show signs of aging until a couple of years ago. I noticed his eyes getting cloudy from cataracts... cold weather seemed to make his hips stiff... and he wasn't quite as quick to react to little noises.
But, he still patrolled and guarded... and made me feel safe.

This weekend, old age finally took its toll. Corky died.
It wasn't easy for either of us.


I helped him die.

I got home from work Saturday afternoon and headed to the garage to give him his dinner.
He hadn't been waiting for me in the driveway. He wasn't in the garage or his dog house.
I walked out of the garage and saw him lying in the back yard. He was breathing hard.

I called to him, but he didn't get up. I walked to him.
He was limp and panting. I got a bottle of water and let him drink from my cupped hand.
Don't know how long he had been there. Completely limp. Got his quilt from the garage. Tugged it under him until I could use it to drag him back into the garage. I sat with him. Petted him.
And cried.

He drank more water. Ate a bit of canned food. Seemed to be sleeping. I went in the house.
Left a message at the vet's office. But, he was too heavy for me to pick up to go anywhere.

Walked out the back door. Corky was standing at the water bowl! I went to him. He wagged his tail. He walked back to the garage to his food bowl. Ate a little. Curled up on his quilt.

It was late. I went to bed. Slept fitfully. Bad dreams.

Sunday, late morning. I hear a dog barking. Moaning.
Outside, I find Corky behind the garage. Give him more water from my hand. He is limp again.
Panting. Stomach seems to be convulsing. Moaning dammit I don't know what to do his bowels have left a puddle beneath him he's in pain goddammit he won't take any more water I'm sorry Corky tell me what to do I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry why can't I help him my poor old puppy I keep petting him crying crying wait pills left over from my back in the bedroom where is that damn bottle there it won't open why won't the lid let go nail file cutting the bottle shit not working finally lid off wait sleeping pills maybe two of those will help him back outside take the pills Corky take the pills open your mouth please Mom wants to help the pain go away here take some more water swallow the pills don't spit them out brush off the sand open your mouth for me please more water good boy good boy swallow good boy crying crying on my knees petting his head kissing his nose it will get better soon breathing slower are you sleeping breathing easier oh damn let him rest easy no more pain.

I stand up. Walk to my car. Drive to a park on the river.
Call a friend. Talk a while. Say good-bye I have to check on my dog.

Corky? Behind the garage. He is still. Not moving. I kneel beside him.
He is cold. Rigor mortis already.

Find a shovel. Sugar sand. Hole keeps caving in. Digging digging digging.
Quilt in the hole. His grave. Drag him to the hole. Fold the quilt around him. Pet him one last time. No more pain. No more pain. I'm sorry. Sorry. Sorry my old puppy.
Sand is heavy in the shovel. Cover him. Cover him with the sand. More sand. Done.

I can't breathe...

It hurts too much.


Desert Cat said...

I'm sorry Jean.

alan said...

oh that's sad :(

Anonymous said...

... I am sorry for you loss... take comfort in that he was a good companion for a long time....

Freddie said...

Your strength amazes me. So sorry about Corky. It's better now.

Anonymous said...

Wow, just wow.

Sparrow said...

You have my deepest sympathies, Jean. The dog-human bond is a wonderful, strong one. He loved and trusted you, and you helped him in his most difficult hour. I grieve with you.

Jean said...

Thank you all for your kind words.

kdzu said...

God Bless you dear Lady.
I know your heart greives for your trusty loving body guard.
As you loved him while a puppy, your love at the end, was the greatest gift you could have given him. I've had to do it many times. You did it well, even if not intentional.
And your words were a great tribute to the fact that he loved you. That's what dogs do for us.

Jim - PRS said...

I am so sorry, and I know how you feel. In 1999 I petted my hopelessly sick dog while the vet administered the final injection. We got him when he was six weeks old, and had him for fourteen years. It was about the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. I still can't write about it.

GalacticallyStupid said...

Hang in there hun.

LL said...

Awww hell, I'm SO sorry.

Bane said...

So, you gonna buy a new dog? Dogs wear out, for sure. Kinda like Ladyfish. We always prepare a spare. My parents have had the same Boston Terrier for twenty years, three different versions. You're tough, girl, good luck.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear this I know how difficult it is. When I lost my girl my middle child was 6 weeks old and thank God my husband was around because I was useless for days. I hate that dogs don't live as long as we do, nothing compares to that unconditional love.

As the saying goes "I wish I was the kind of person my dog thinks I am".


boneman said...

I am so very sorry for yer loss.

I guess that means Bubba gets the table scraps from now till yer next friend comes along, eh?

barista grazioso said...

I am so very sorry :( My heart is breaking for you, and I wish there was something I could say that would make it all better.

It's little comfort to know that he's in a beautiful place chasing rabbits and having a good time. Consider yourself ((((cyber-hugged))))

k said...

You did the most loving thing you could ever have done for him: to ease his way from this world to whatever lies beyond.

When I lost my Babycat in July, you left a comment and told me about your two elderly cats you'd recently lost, and how this boy here was 16 years old and getting weak.

Jean, I am so very sorry for your loss. I grieve for you.


Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When a beloved pet dies that has been
especially close to someone here, the pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all our special friends
so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine,
and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill or old
are restored to health and vigor,
those who were hurt or maimed
are made whole and strong again,
Just as we remember them in our dreams of days gone by.
The animals are happy and content,
except for one small thing,
they each miss someone very special to them
who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together,
but the day comes when one suddenly stops
and looks into the distance.
His bright eyes are intent; his eager body quivers.
Suddenly he begins to run from the group,
flying over the green grass,
his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you
and your special friend finally meet,
you cling to each other in joyous reunion,
never to be parted again.
The happy kisses rain upon your face,
your hand again caresses that beloved head,
and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet,
so long gone from your life,
but never absent from your heart.
Then, you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.


Snog Dot said...

Aw shit, Jean. Damn. Damn. Damn.

Maeve said...

I am so very sorry.

pickleyes said...

I am sorry for your loss. I had to have my dog put to sleep 9 months ago and it still hurts a little. At least you gave him a good life. My prayers are with you.

Desert Cat said...

I lost my feline companion of 16 years, several years ago. Yes, I have many other cats, but each one is unique and none of them replace the ones that have gone before.

I still think about Moonbeam, and you'll miss Corky for years to come.

Still, new pets bring new joy. But it is much too soon to think about that yet.

Assrot said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you. I know how you feel. I've lost three dogs to old age in the past 2 years. They were all like my children to me. I raised them all from 8 week old pups. I am looking forward to seeing them again when I pass away. I'll bet they'll be standing at the gateway to the other side wagging their tails waiting for me to play with time again. God bless you and your dog's soul. People think I am nuts but I believe dogs have souls just like people do.

Jean said...

Your kindness is so overwhelming... I appreciate all of you taking time to express your sympathy. It is too soon for me to think of getting another dog, but perhaps sometime in the future.
Thank you all so much.

Gary said...

This was a beautiful post, but it made me really sad. My dog died a couple of years ago.I had her for twelve years. I hope you do get another one.

Grumpyunk said...

Damn girl, that's rough. We do get attached to our Dogs and it's hard when the natural cycle catches up.

You did the right thing by giving him a bit of relief when he needed it most. That's a true friend.

Rantin' Ron said...

I'm sorry you and your pup had to go through that Jean. You handled the situation admirably.

One of the hardest things I've ever done was to shoot my 'dog friend' of over ten years when he was in agony after being disembowled by a wild boar and we were in the middle of nowhere.

I cried like a baby. It still bothers me. Isn't that strange?

Bless your wonderful heart girl.

Jean said...

Gentlemen - Thank you so much.
Unk, he was a friend to me for so long.
And, Ron... no, dear man, not strange at all.

Hannelie said...

Jean, I am so sorry!
Take care, sleep heaps and eat well.

Valerie - Riding Solo said...

My heart aches for you, Jean.

I just did this with my almost 11 yr old dog and did a dear 9 year old dog myself, too, a few years back.

I'm sorry you lost your friend.


Kim said...

Tears for you and yours. It's so hard.

Jean said...

Gals - thank you much... Hannelie, I'm better, thanks to all of you.
Val, I remember that post...hugs.
Kim, welcome and thank you.

rsm said...


you brought back a flood of memories to me as well. I am sorry to find this as the first thing of yours I have read. It's not easy. It never will be. But he was and will always be a part of who you are.


Anonymous said...

Jean, What wonderful memories you must have of your Corky. Only pets give us unconditional love. I wish you comfort in your memories.
Your Classmate from Woodville

Jean said...

RSM - kind words from you.. thank you.
Hope you read more here... you have a great blog, btw.

Woodville - Thank you, Mike... definitely lots of good memories.

curmudgeon said...

Okay, this if fucking weird. Due my hard drive crashing last week, I have been busy getting it back up and running and haven't had time to peruse blogs much. Hence, I haven't been here in like, a week or so.

So I decide to cruise on by after I had written this post and I find this?

Sorry Jean. A good companion can be hard to come by.

mr_g said...

Wow...that was very touching. I"m so sorry for your loss...I can so relate to the bond you describe and the heartache of losing a special pet. Take care & all the best.

Jean said...

Dave - timing can be freaky, eh?
Thank you for thinking of me.

Mr G - Thank you. Hope you are enjoying having your puppies for a while.