Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sad - Goodbye "Baby"

September 26, 1992 - May 7, 2009

Adopted November 7, 1992

In college... I went once a week with a good friend or two to do "pet therapy." We went to the local animal shelter, and took puppies to a local nursing home. It was really hard to give those puppies back. I always fell in love with the dogs and really wanted one. Growing up I had an outside dog, but I really wanted one inside that would be a real companion. Well, one day I talked my roommate into getting a puppy together. I think our neighbors told us about the puppy that was at a local flea market. Well, it had fleas all right. The puppy supposedly had "papers" and was a registered Cockapoo. He was black and cuddly, and had white down the front. He was so soft. Of course, getting two girls to agree on a name was challenging. My roommate liked Harley Davidson bikes, so he became Baby (my name) Harley Presley (he lived in a room with a felt picture of Elvis).

Did I mention having a dog was against our lease? We had to pay for that later. We hid the dog, but eventually someone told on us... he lived hidden under our staircase in a closet for his early weeks. Then, he was moved to a sorority sister's boyfriend's house (well, you can't find too many people willing to take in someone else's puppy)... So Harley moved in... he stayed much of in the time in an empty bedroom that was covered in newspapers... you can imagine it was not too clean. So, those early days of hiding him in closets, and living in someone's back room led to him never quite getting the idea of going to the bathroom where he should.

Harley never liked grass, and probably had an allergy to it. He would bite his feet after walking. He would just as well go to the bathroom on the sidewalk...

Harley got into my Hershey Kisses, and we panicked when he was a puppy. The foil came out alright.

I lived with the same roommate for 3 years until we graduated. She was getting married, and I took off to graduate school. I was more attached, or at least I was the one who took him after college. Harley was my "baby" in every sense of the word. I had to live in apartment complexes that allowed pets. I found really good vets and even bought pet health insurance for awhile. I really loved him. He was my child. I spoiled him. I walked him daily, and slept with him. I talked to him during my management years when I lived alone and was very lonely.

He was with me for 17 years. Being a fan of older people,I equated and still do putting "animals to sleep" with euthanasia. I really don't believe in it. I felt that I made a commitment to this animal, and it was my job to care for him even if he was old and not very fun.

As he aged, he got arthritis and had bumps (little growths) all over his body. He hurt his spine several times and went through steroid treatments. He became blind, and probably only saw shadows. One eye was almost white with cataracts. He could not hear. Last Friday, he got lost in the wooded lot next door, and he sat down and barked. I think he was disoriented and could not see to get back. For the last several years, he has lived in the garage due to a persistent cough he developed and incontinence (or lack of ever learning to tell us when he had to go outside). So, I found him two days ago barking in the garage (which he did not do very much). He could not get up, and appeared paralyzed. But this time, he could not see his water bowl or food bowl. I had to help him go to the bathroom, and his kidneys and body were shutting down. We called the vet. I knew it had been "time" to say goodbye for years. Honestly, I had prayed he would die naturally at home. But truthfully, for years, I had literally prayed he would live to be very old.

He was a good dog. I loved him very much. He was loyal and protective. My dog Harley loved me unconditionally. I said goodbye at home, and my Prince took him to the vet for me. Prince even stayed with him until the end. I could not do it. I feel cowardly about that, but I could not watch. I know that he could not see me today or even hear what I said to him... but if dogs get to go to heaven I hope God lets him in.

The children asked if he was in heaven. I told them that there would probably be animals in heaven which is what Revelations says, and some passages in Isaiah. I guess you can question whether an animal has a "soul" - dogs do know right and wrong. I basically told the kids that "I don't know". Sweet Pea wants to know if she can have a fish now. Pumpkin is really curious and wants to know why we were putting him in the ground. The Prince actually buried him at home after the kids were in bed. They were not attached to him. Harley was old when they were born, and was jealous. Harley was not fond of the kids and would snap at them. He probably reacted that way since he was in pain due to the arthritis.

Anyway, I am sad today... and I miss my dog. He lost "baby" status when I had my own children, but he really made my life better. He was my first "baby."

Taking a fun blog design class online... so I have been playing with the design... not done yet... a work in progress.


  1. I am SO Sorry! I feel your pain as I had to do this very thing with Rascal Dec 4, 2008. He, too, had been with me 17 years - through the good and always through the bad! I felt much like you about putting animals to sleep and I prayed he would die at home. Unfortunately he did not and I had to take him to the vet - it was the right thing to do!! I am still sad about losing my Rascal and I still miss him so very much!!! My heart cries for you tonight- I know how hard it is - losing a part of your family is never easy! Hugs to you and your family!

  2. Oh I am so sorry, it is always so hard to lose a special pet.

  3. Hey, sorry about your loss. I had to give a dog back to the shelter for snapping at Eric when I was pregnant w/ Evan, so I understand your pain. It's very emotional.
    I also read your post on prayers, so it was kind of long, and by the time I finished reading it, the kids were screaming and I didn't have time to post anything.....