Oh boy, this is hard… we had to say goodbye to our sweet Bell today. She was all out of life, but too much of a bulldog to admit it. We didn’t think she would make it to Christmas, back in 2014. She got TWO more Christmases under her belt, as it turned out.
Bell was a very sweet puppy. She was part of a litter of Valley Bulldogs that were so similar in appearance, that one time we brought home the wrong puppy from doggy daycare at the breeder’s. But we got that straightened out. Pretty sure.
Bell was the last of the fabulous furry foursome, Silver, Tiger, Bell, and Lucy. It’s going to be so strange to not use the plural: time to feed the dogs, shall we take the dogs for a walk, etc. I used to walk them in shifts: big-big, then little-little, or sometimes big-little, then the other big-little. I think matched-size pairs worked best.
Bell was happy to hang out with me, especially around meal times, but if we’re being honest she was Lynda’s dog. Bell became especially important to Lynda during the time her daughter was away at school, and Lucy and I were still at the condo during the week. They had a very strong, almost mother-daughter bond.
It was devastating to have to say goodbye. I’m so glad we all had some quality time near the end, even as she was starting to struggle, walking, breathing, in a way we knew we couldn’t allow to go on much longer.
Lynda reports this morning that our Reeves pheasants, George and Martha, were found dead in their cage. I haven’t been down to see them yet, but it sounds like they met the same fate as befell Corny and Cornelia, the Lady Amherst pheasants who were killed last August. We figured it was a weasel at that time, but we’re not really sure.
Reeves pheasants have been described as “pugnacious”, and George was no exception. He was always pacing back and forth at the perimeter of his cage, ready to offer a sharp peck to the nose of any canine who got too sniffy. Which they did on an almost daily basis.
Our two Lady Amherst Pheasants, Corny (Cornelius) and Cornelia, were found dead this morning in their cages, victims of some kind of predator. Judging by the size and position of the entry hole, and the condition of the birds (I won’t go into details) we’re thinking weasel. Corny and Cornelia are survived by George and Martha, our Reeves pheasants and now the last two of the seven pheasants that came with the house in 2006.
A few weeks ago, our boxer, Silver, suffered a cardiac incident. After a couple of days of moving kind of slow, he seemed almost fully recovered. We tried to minimize the full-throttle sprinting from the back 40, something that he loved to do, but otherwise it was business as usual.
Today I took Silver and Bell out back for the noon feeding of the pheasants, where Silver barked at George through the cage one last time, had one last poop way at the back where nobody will see it before spring, and then on the way back, he sort of leaned into me and slid down my leg, never to stand up again. A half hour later, he died in Lynda’s arms.
Silver was just coming up on his 10th birthday. He came to us as a puppy, but soon went away with Claire to California. He came back as a full grown doggy a year or two later. And I have to say, I did not care for him at first. Of course that soon changed. He had been through a lot of change early in life, but he soon settled into our more routine lifestyle in Mississauga and later here in Owen Sound, where he had an even bigger yard to run around.
We grew to love him exuberantly, as he deserved and as he loved us.
His only flaw was an excess of personality.
He had so much personality that he became the subject of his own meme: “Signed the Dog” status updates eventually became his own Twitter account. While drawing from our interactions with all four of our doggies, it was his memorable mug that was the visible face of “Signed The Dog” and his boyish charm and uncorkable personality that inspired the lion’s share of those posts.
To say we will miss him is laughably inadequate. There’s a giant Silver-sized hole in the world now. We’re both gutted.
But we still have dear sweet Bell, who is in line for some serious centre-of-attention spoiling…
Incredibly, there is more sad news today… After having lost our bulldog, presumably to old age, just this morning (see previous post) word comes that our German Shepherd Lucy had to be put down.
Lynda, who is in the city for a few days, had tried to see Lucy earlier in the week, but was told she had a sore leg and they wanted to keep her off it. So she thought she’d try later in the week. Well today, they had Lucy in to the vet, and it turned out she had cancer, and it had spread into her bones. There was no choice.
Lucy was my first dog. I’d been around them, Lynda had dogs, but never had my own dog. Lucy was intended to be a companion for my mother-in-law, but proved to be more than Doreen could safely manage. Having been abused as a puppy and reclaimed by the breeder, Lucy was quite skittish and difficult. But I won her over with cheese, and she was my best friend for ever after. She pretty much adopted ME at that point.
She was always so gentle and timid with us, that it was surprising that she became as aggressive as she did towards other people. Fiercely protective, I guess, of her hard-won family stability. Which made it that much more painful to have to send her away.
I just said to Doreen this morning that when Lucy finally does go, it will be like mourning her loss all over again. Who knew it would happen the same day as Tiger… funny how these things go…
A couple of months ago we lost Lucy, our German Shepherd. See Goodbye Lucy (May 14, 2010). But she’s still living on the farm and we can visit her from time to time.
But this morning we lost our dear sweet bulldog, Tiger. For real.
She’d not been well the last couple of days, but gamely rallied for pee breaks, tackling the stairs (slowly) to join the other dogs for a trip out back. Last night, with some encouragement, she managed to hop up into her favourite chair to go to sleep.
This morning I found her under the bed. She was gone.
Sadly, my wife Lynda is out of town, but Doreen (my mother-in-law) and I saw Tiger off to the vet, and arranged for her cremation. On the ride home, we recalled when Tiger was just a little puppy, and we were sitting on the deck at our old house, playing pass-the-bulldog, handing her around from person to person like some precious artifact… which of course she was…
There is a limit of three dogs per household in our municipality, so we had to license Tiger under Doreen’s name, since she lives in a different municipality (albeit just down the road). So I’m glad she got to see her off. They were the best of friends.