Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dylan 12/30/1993 - 07/31/2007

With a mixture of relief and anguish we took Dylan in to have him put to sleep. We watched him struggle through the last few months with arthritis and back pain and a general weakness of his back legs with no hope of getting back to full health. He was pushing 100 in human years. My husband, my daughter, and I all realized that it was time to bring an end to his misery.

Although he never wanted to relieve himself in the house, it was such an effort for him to go outside and occasionally he didn’t make it. When he refused to eat dog food last week, I cooked up a huge batch of chicken and rice. After about 3 days when that no longer had his interest, I switched to scrambled eggs and bananas. He never declined the last sips of milk in my cereal bowl, a ritual as old as he was.

I started looking through old photo albums last night and found pictures of young Dylan, the most docile puppy ever. When we first got him, he would ride in my lap when I went to drive the children’s swimming carpool.

Here is a picture with him and our daughter, the real motivator for getting another dog. Our previous dog Schnizzie had died three years before and there had been a series of every rodent imaginable after that. It was such a relief to have a dog again after those rats and guinea pigs and hamsters.

One Halloween my daughter and her friend dressed themselves and the dogs up as clowns and went trick-or-treating in Old Town.

My daughter and I actually succeeded in bathing both dogs last weekend. So he went out today with a shiny soft black coat which had been carefully brushed.

Dylan’s primary motivation was always food. He never cared about chasing things, including balls and squirrels. But food made his ears perk up. So today for his last meal, I cut up a piece of beef tenderloin and sauteed it with scrambled eggs. He ate it as though he knew he would never have it again.

May he rest in peace. There will never be a better dog on the face of this earth. Dylan, I will forever miss your quiet presence.


Blogger NYCD/aka Sue said...


I'm so sorry to hear of Dylan's passing...it's so hard to let go of our favored pets...but it sounds like he went out happy and loved and clean and well fed. We should all be so lucky.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

I am sorry. It sounds like he knew his time was coming to an end too.

10:51 AM  
Blogger riseoutofme said...

Barbara, So heartbreaking to have to say goodbye to a cherished pet ...

Sounds like he had a wonderful life and left you some great memories.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Velvet said...

Oh, you know this one pains me so much. This is the hardest decision pet owners have to make - when is it time? I'm sorry. Hopefully Jake is doing well? I know Sammy and Thora are pretty aware when the other one isn't around for some reason - they become each other's best friends as much as they do ours.

I like that you were cooking for him - that's great! You're a good mommy.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Laura Stamps said...

This is always hard, and it never gets easier. I have been in feral cat rescue for 30+ years, so I see more passing of animals than most. I have come to believe animals come into our lives to bless us with love for a certain period of time, and then it is time for them to go...like beautiful faeries back to Faeryland. Taking good care of them and loving them with all our hearts is the best we can do in light of this awesome gift they bring to us. My heart is with you.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Thinking of you. I'm sure this wasn't easy, letting go of a part of your family.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

I'm so sorry Barbara.

May we all be so well loved right up to the bitter end.

Take good care. Thinking of you with love.

1:39 PM  
Blogger media concepts said...

I'm sorry to hear about Dylan. I'm glad, though, that he had a "second life" after you thought he had run away to die a few months ago. And he was nearly 98 years old in human years, so he had a full (and I'm sure very happy) life. It's not fair that our pets' lives are short compared to ours, but that still beats by a mile the alternative of not having them around in the first place.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Oh man. the tears a5e streaming down my face as I'm typing this...it must have been so hard to do. I've never been faced with that decision so I can only imagine. But you would not want to have him struggle in any more pain or lose his dignity in not being able to do the things he always did.
He looks and sounds like a lovable sweetheart of a dog and you were the best of owners.
The Hallowe'en picture is so neat!

5:05 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Oh Barbara,
How awful, even when we know we're doing the right thing- it is still extremely difficult.
What a good dog.
You were all very lucky to have had him for so long.
Thanks for sharing those precious pictures. The one with the kids and dogs dressed as clowns is PRECIOUS!
Thinking of you at this sad time.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Everyone -- Your comments have helped me get through this day. As it turns out, the procedure itself was done by a compassionate woman vet with the three of us stroking Dylan as his labored and pained panting quietly ceased. I reminded him that he was "the prince of all dogs", as I have told him hundreds of times as I said goodnight to him. There was no pain or twitching as his heart simply stopped. This is exactly how I would like to go when the time comes. Dylan is gone but certainly not forgotten.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Ulysses said...

I'll remember Dylan coming by to check on me at the folk concert when I was catching a breath away from the people. He was a good dog.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Crying right along with you, and celebrating the memories of all the "princes" I've had the pleasure of having in my home all these years. The Dylan hole will fill up in time with happy memories but meanwhile, know I'm thinking of you and holding you in my prayersleeve.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Ulysses -- Dylan was the quiet type who always wanted to please. I'm not surprised that he checked on you. But then he might have actually been checking to see if you had dropped any food.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- What a place of comfort is a prayersleeve! He's only been gone for a few hours and I have already forgotten every bad thing he ever did. But he always did seem more like a prince than a saint.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

how lovely to love something so well, that even in death there was still love. I wish as human beings we did this for each other. so often we forget how important caring is.

I am sorry for your loss, but after reading everything you have done for your beloved pet. I can not imagine that he didn't know how loved he was.

You were lucky to have him and he you.

Thank you for sharing this.

12:30 AM  
Blogger E :) said...

I'm very sorry for your loss. Dylan was as lucky to have you, as you were to have him.

1:49 AM  
Blogger bozoette said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. Dylan sounds like a wonderful dog and friend.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I'm overwhelmed at the sympathy out there from people I have never even met. It's very gratifying. And thanks to DC Blogs for the notice.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous reuben said...

to quote an old blues song, "this is a mean old world." people who aren't "pet people" don't understand the no strings attached love the aforementioned bring to our lives.. in a town like this one, i cherish the fact that there is a living, breathing, loving being who doesn't care what my title is... and who loves me whether its an A+ day or a plain old F... MY condolences (and a big virtual hug) to you.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reuben -- So well said. I agree completely.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Ghetufool said...

dear barbara,

i am late here and hope you have recovered from the pain of a loss.

i fully understand what goes on when a pet, as dear as one's own brother, passes away.

i am sure dylan must be happy to see such a moving, yet simple obituary.

may God rest his soul in peace. amen.

10:42 AM  

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