Sunday, May 28, 2017

Goodbye Old Friend

" Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too hard to read."
~Groucho Marx

This week we said goodbye to Cassie. She was otherwise known as Larry and/or the cockashit.

I found Cassie about a year after my childhood dog finally had to pass at age 17 (about two years longer than I should have made her suffer). My then husband had said no more dogs. But I found Cassie in the newspaper under puppies for sale. A farm in Lititz (yes, maybe a puppy mill disguise) had three female cockapoos. There was a black, a tan and a black and white.

I came with my newly one year old and five-year-old. The tan puppy was terrified of the kids but the black and white one followed them around like crazy. Sold.

That afternoon when Drew got off of the bus we were in the yard and let the puppy run to him. He remembers that as a pretty great day. Ethan named her Cassie after a dragon in a PBS cartoon. This was the third choice after I said no to Sinky and Hermione. He was five.

She was a strange dog. She was a runner if you let her get out. She had a small bladder so four to five hours were max before an accident. She was completely devoted to me. When my ex-husband and I were headed for divorce I either slept on the couch (mostly) or occasionally in one of my kid's rooms if they were at a friend's house. She would insist on being on the couch with me, in the crook of my legs, instead of the king size bed upstairs. In my house on my own, she would scratch the hell out of any door if she thought I was on the other side. She was special.

When Dan came along she was another challenge. He had never had a dog so it took some time but she immediately took to him. I had always referred to her as the cockashit since she had very little bladder control. Dan began to call her Larry on occasion because she would sometimes pee with one leg up and had a tendency to hump small children when the mood hit her.

For twelve years I heard that she was the healthiest dog for her age. And then it all went south. She became deaf and her eyesight diminished. She had small growths all over her body. She had trouble walking up and down the steps, could no longer jump and only on rare occasions would even go for a walk. And the bladder surprisingly became so bad she had to wear dog diapers with a human Depends inserted. She would pee every hour or two.

Tests showed that she did have some internal breakdown but we decided not to do extensive exploration with her age and decline. So we came to the family decision that it was time to let her go. Having waited way too long to make that decision with my last dog we felt it was better to do such a thing before she was clearly suffering.

A Lap of Love vet came to the house and we all gathered around Cassie's bed. It was peaceful, sweet and sad.

At night I wake up missing the lump by my feet. During the day a fleeting thought of "I have to take the dog out" is quickly realized as unnecessary.  I would often joke that her parents had to be related as the explanation of her lack of intelligence. But what she lacked in brains she made up with sweetness, devotion, and endless energy in her younger days.

You weren't always a good dog but you were our dog and we loved you.

R.I.P. Cassie

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
~Will Rogers