Been a strange few weeks with the pets in the family. We've held a death-watch for my daughter's Beagle/Rottweile mix, Jake. Jake grew up with my niece's family. They moved to Texas and asked that we watch the 10-year old until they settled. My daughter took Jake.
Jake scared me. Short, blackish, stocky, and eyes like steel. Booming bark. First day - my daughter trucks off to work and leaves me with my granddaughter (about 3 at the time) and Jake. First thing the dog does - sits right next to me on the couch. Scrunches next to me. His heart beats with a rapidity born of the strange people and house and dog beds and toys that he finds all around him. Nothing familiar. And I am there, sitting next to this 80ish pound monster.
The door bell rings and berserker explodes from the couch, howling and barking with such enthusiasm and volume that my ears hurt. I try to answer the door - salesperson - but can't even hear the pitch over Jake's fervent attempt to eat the salesperson and protect me and the house. The salesperson, eyes wide with fear, (probably mirroring mine), takes the front steps two-at-a-time in his hasty retreat.
I look at Jake. He looks at me. I am no longer afraid. This wondrous dog knows his duty. He's here to protect me and the little one. Jake and I have been friends ever since.
A few years back, Jake starts loosing weight. He also begins a never cured :) process of marking the house. Turns out, Jake has contracted diabetes. Within a weak of the diagnosis, Jake's eyes have white scales over them. He is blind - blind as a bat. No thought, of course, of putting him down. His ears and his bark are as good as ever. He learns the lay of the land faster than I could ever. Once in awhile, we shout 'door' or 'steps' and Jake navigates the odd places until familiar with them.
The entire family, along with the extended family, learned how to give Jake his morning and night shots. My daughter discovered a great home-made recipe to feed Jake that caused his need for insulin to drop from very high to near normal. Life settled and we loved Jake - even more.
Last week, Jake started having issues with eating. He wouldn't. My daughter pureed his food and used a syringe to feed him. The vet didn't know what was wrong and so she sent him home with some meds. Jake refused to eat. He could walk to the door and do his business outside, but, once done, he'd go to his bed and close his eyes. We knew what was coming. On Tuesday, my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter took Jake to our vet and let Jake go to Doggy Heaven. It wasn't simple, though Jake passed with speed and looking very peaceful, but it hurt.
I've put down a few dogs in my time, but Jake, the beloved scary dog, broke my heart. Good dog. Blessed protector. Love of the family.
PS - A neighbor of mine passed on the same day as Jake. My granddaughter says Mark is walking Jake in heaven. I'm sure they are having a good time.
PSS - Not sure if the dates and ages are quite correct - but you get the drift.