and we were all looking forward to it. When they got here the dogs went nuts, as always. Especially Wally, the oldest (10+) though he didn’t act out as much as Doc or Bogart. He’s been rickety lately, and he hasn’t been seeing well, but his tail thrashed a mile a minute, and his spirit was jumping up and down like mad. After all the greetings and such were done with, they all settled down.
Then it came time for bed, and Wally tried to get up the front stairs. As I said, he’d been rickety lately but that sort of understates the case. We were pretty sure he was ready to wrap it up and check out, but he seemed game so we hauled him to the vet a few times in the last month or so, most recently to have a couple of liters of “fluid” pumped out of his abdomen. If you’ve had an old dog, you know that’s not a good sign. So when his legs gave way and he started in doing the alligator roll at the foot of the stairs, it was a good bet his time was up.
We hesitated and did the “yahbut he might…” for a couple of hours, then gave in and trucked the poor old guy to the Rockingham Vet E.R. in Windham. So at some point between “just before and just after midnight” (meaning either the tag end of Christmas Eve or the very beginning of Christmas Day), Wally shuffled off the mortal coil. The vet on duty was very compassionate and assured us we were “not premature.”
Jake and I dug a bit of a hole today in the back yard, out by the treeline, near a collection of some large rocks. We tucked Wally (officially “Where’s Waldoboro?” – long story) into it and put a Zip-Lock baggie with a few goodies alongside him as grave goods, and bid him sayonara. His packmates Dr. Mambo and Mr. Bogart knew something was up, but they’re acclimating to being a two-dog-pack rather quickly.
One of the downsides of being a longer-lived critter (in Earth terms) is making friends among other species — and having to suffer seeing them depart. The best measure of a friend and companion — of any species — is the hole their absence leaves us to contend with. So very sorry, Sir.