Goodbye, my sweet boys...
Sometimes timing is an odd thing.
We had to say goodbye to both of our sweet boys yesterday rather unexpectedly. Wally, on the right, has been failing for some time; we did what we could for him these last few months but when he started having trouble breathing we knew it was time to let him go. We had already decided we would take him to the vet this week when our other sweet old boy suddenly took a bad turn.
Nicholaus, on the left, was in fairly good health despite his advanced years until he somehow hurt himself this weekend. Like many dogs, he developed hip problems as he got older and his back legs gave him a lot of trouble. Over the last couple of years, he has struggled to get up, and the problem has steadily gotten worse. Somehow over the weekend he threw his shoulders out and his entire body came out of alignment; our (and the vet’s) best guess is he did it struggling to get up. He injured himself pretty badly (his back was basically in the shape of an s) and the vet said there wasn’t much they could do for him. They could sedate him and try to fix his shoulders, etc., but they said because he basically had no muscle tone in the back anymore, it was very likely it would just recur again. Since the poor guy couldn’t get around and was suffering and there wasn’t a lot we could do, we decided to let him go, too.
If there is one consolation in our grief it is that they went together; Nicholaus would have been completely and totally lost without Wally. It was bad enough when we lost Russ last year; the three of them grew up together and have always been known as “the boys.” Nick would get so beside himself if we had to take the other two to the vet or groomer that we often had to bring him along, too. He would not have handled being the last one left very well; I think it was part of the reason we held on to Wally so long even though we could have (and maybe should have) let him go a few weeks ago. I suppose, in a way, the timing of Nick’s injury is a sort of blessing. But I still didn’t want to let them go.
Wally, who would have been 15 on Halloween, was always a big dog trapped in a little dog’s body. He was willing to take on anyone ~ or at least bark at them. In the group, Nick was the muscle, Russ was the brains and Wally was the alarm. He was the first to alert the boys to any dog events ~ you know, the postman’s arrival, another dog walking down the sidewalk in front of the house, even a bird flying overhead. He was a cute little thing with a grumpy disposition ~ sort of like the old guy who is actually sweet at heart but a bit gruff. That was Wally.
Nick, who turned 14 last month, was just love, an overgrown lap dog at heart. He was a bit neurotic and headstrong and sometimes not the brightest dog around, but he was incredibly loyal and sweet and funny and would never let anyone harm his family.
We will miss them both terribly, but I know Russ is beyond happy to see them again.
Goodbye, my sweet boys. May heaven appreciate you as much as we did.
~ Nick, Russ and Wally ~
Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully