North was never an every dog’s dog. We moved passed trying to figure out ‘where we went wrong’. The big guy had some embarrassing and not delightful habits.
Many dogs butt sniff but North found crotch sniffing women far more appealing. Age was not a criteria…40, 70 no matter. 😳 Probably most face palming was his extreme humping habit… humping a dog’s head. 🤦♀️ Way to make friends, huh? With even that, this big guy was memorable and extremely lovable. Humans who met him over the past 5 years thought he was a fluffy toy, a gentle giant. Those who knew him the first years knew he had crazy in his eyes. He seemed to exude some pheromone or aura most dogs steered away from. There were a handful of dog friends over the years. Dogs that played hard, that didn’t tolerate his bluster. As my sister in law, who raises poodles once said, “North doesn’t do anything other dogs don’t do. He’s just so big his impact is harsher. He was our big baby. Our misunderstood baby.
I wanted to write a haiku with the middle 7-syllable line being- NO headhumping in heaven. The first and last kind of suck. Open to suggestions.
Gentle giant gone….no headhumping in heaven…follow Coco’s lead.
We went through all the motions and emotions others have. We had to make the decision when everything from the last post amplified and his back legs only carried him 10 ft on a good day. Our vet assured us it was time, saying, “A good day does not a life make.” As we spent our final moments with him, once gone, we saw a peaceful look we realized we hadn’t seen in awhile making us wonder if he was more uncomfortable than we had known. North was an adventurer…camping, hiking, long car rides, and definitely hotel beds, queen sized please. ☺️.
We have markers, a tiny shrine, a paw print, and memories, so many memories and photos. We are starting to adjust to saving leftovers vs sharing. We once again eat close to the counter vs pushed back because he liked to be at our feet. We are adjusting to no flap of the dog door when the cheese wrapper crackles. There’s no more fleeting panic if the deck gate is left open. We are adjusting to not needing a treat in hand when we head out the door.
We are acknowledging a release of worry and care-taking. We are acknowledging we can return to the kind of adventure he so loved. Releasing the-day-to-day adaptations to which we had grown accustom and yeah…were growing weary of. We also acknowledge the moments of tears and sadness of his absence, his muppet ear hair, his Grinch-like hairy paws, his head leaned up on my thigh in. We watch ourselves in moments of staring into the empty dog pen or just sitting in there and watching the paths he’d worn returning to the wild.
We have both of these, sadness and release, sometimes simultaneously. It’s good to remember, it’s good to cry, it’s also good to move into re-enjoyment in life.