Goodbye Blue

It is with the heaviest heart that I write that Blue died last night. We didn’t see it coming.

He was in the midst of a full recovery from his last bout of giardia and clostridium. He was eating and pooping normally and his spirits were fine. He even did a stellar job of making sure that no one got anywhere near me, which was his self-appointed job.

If you’ve ever been in my home, you know that Blue felt it was his life’s purpose to put his magnificent self between me and anyone else. He was fiercely protective and today was no exception.

We went on plenty of small walks, I talked to him the whole time while resting my hand on his neck as was my wont. I loved how easy it was to connect with him that way when we walked, I never had to bend down to touch him.

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Just yesterday

Around 4:00 he needed to go out and threw up in the backyard, he didn’t want to come back inside. I forced him to come in when it started raining and he couldn’t seem to get comfortable. He didn’t want to lie down for long, was shivering (which I thought was from being outside), panted and drooled profusely.

Because of his recent illness, Lonny and I thought that perhaps he was relapsing but would be okay with more meds. Around 7:00 I felt that his distress was beyond what we should try to manage at home and despite being loathe to take him to a strange vet, we loaded him up in the car and took him to the 24 hour emergency clinic.

He couldn’t get in the car so Lonny picked him up. Thinking of Lonny with that 120 pound dog in his arms breaks my heart. Lonny loved him so much.

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Blue’s last ride

He hasn’t been in the car for a few years. I chose our vet in part because we could walk to her. Blue didn’t want to get in the car anymore despite getting in it every day for the two years that Tabby and I took the dogs to Coot Lake.

Loony carried Blue into the clinic and an x-ray revealed that he had bloat and gastric torsion. For no particular reason his gut filled with gas and his stomach twisted. It is unfortunately common in large dogs and 100% fatal if not treated immediately with surgery.

Given his age and the nerve pain he has in his back and hips (he drags his back feet which is why we no longer go on long walks, just a block or two) the vet felt that his recovery would be excruciating if he recovered at all.

The surgery was likely to make his pain worse and he would have to undergo extensive rehabilitation to walk again. There was also that troubling growth on his rib that we suspected could be cancer.

There is one thing that Lonny and I have always agreed on. No heroics. But it didn’t make our decision any easier.

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I don’t have any regrets about Blue’s life, not one. He was so loved, we made every accommodation for him, we absolutely loved him for the dog he was without wishing he was something he wasn’t. Sure, I complained about the 5am wake-up calls to go out and his funny habits, but humor and sarcasm is my language of love. He bore that burden with the stoicism of a Norse warrior.

Blue Pooped Chicky

My actual dogs, not something from the internet.

My only regret was how he died. I didn’t want him to be in a strange vet’s office full of the wails of other dogs, chaos, slippery floors, and strangers. I didn’t want him to be stressed or scared.

I wanted him to be home, in his bed with his family around him, a belly full of melon and steak and bread, fed to him from my hand. I wanted him to gently drift off without all the distress and pain that was his last few hours.

He died with his head in my lap, with us talking to him and stroking him. The last part was mercifully quick and peaceful.

Returning home without him was horrible. Casey was distraught. He saw us without Blue and started wailing at the top of his lungs and didn’t stop until he fell asleep a couple hours later. Micah’s pain came in waves.

Lonny is sleeping with Casey downstairs, he lulled him to sleep with stories. Micah is beside me and I held him as memories washed over him. He was incredulous, “I saw you take him to the vet, but I thought he would come home like he always does. I wish I had known.”

We considered getting the boys but that would have prolonged Blue’s suffering and I don’t know if it would have given the boys closure or just haunted them. I wish they had been able to say goodbye as well.

I feel like this last few months have been a long goodbye.

We took this poor, malnourished, neglected dog and gave him a family.

Blue Before and After

He went on road trips, camping, family reunions, he got to have a family that loved him without bounds, he was adored by so many people who visited our home.

Perhaps one day I’ll write a more fitting tribute to his life, but his story is here in my blog, starting with this post.

Now I have to get up and decide what to do. Do I try to erase him from our home? Do I pick up all the dog beds, blanket, food dishes, carpet runners, and toys and load them into the car to donate to Big Paws? Or do I leave them for a while? And how long?

Do I take this screensaver off my phone?

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Best dog ever

Just today I told Patty how we wouldn’t have so many rugs if it weren’t for him. Would it be horrible to remove them now that he is gone? Was it really that bad having rugs if it was what he needed to feel comfortable?

And the kids, what do we do? It’s their last week of school. Is it better to keep them at home or send them to class where they can be distracted? I don’t know what to do.

I love you Blue. Why did you have to die? Why couldn’t you have been my big dog forever? Why couldn’t you have proven everyone wrong and lived another five years?

Who will protect me now? Who will get us out of bed a 5am for a walk? Who will put his head in our laps when we sit on the couch? Who will be our endless source of love and humor?

Double Doggie

Our lives won’t be the same without you. You are so loved.

As a note to my friends who I know will want to reach out in love … please, no wine, no flowers, no sweets. If you want to give me something, take me for a walk, I miss my walking buddy already.

 

76 thoughts on “Goodbye Blue

  1. I’m sending you huge hugs, not the huge hugs Blue would give with his giagantic gentleness, his dainty paws leaning ever so slightly, nor his jowls slightly caressing your skin. Those are saved only for that incredible being. It seems only a flash he was the teeny weeny pup and regal giant joyously protecting his family with his sheer soulful presence. I’m sad I was not fortunate to have touched this friend. We will sing special howleilujahs for him this morning.

  2. I am so sorry, Viv. Your home won’t be the same without that amazing creature. He was so lucky to have you and your family as his own. Sending you so much love today and always.

  3. Oh, Viv. Blue was such a wonderful dog. I’m so lucky to have experienced how much you loved him, and how much he loved you. Blue couldn’t have had a more wonderful family.

    • You were there his first weekend with us and his last weekend with us. He was happy from beginning to the end and the most perfect dog for us: strange, awkward, flawed, sincere, loving, genuine, unforgettable.

  4. I am so deeply sorry, Vivienne. I know how much a part of your life and heart Blue was. I am so accustomed to seeing that beautiful companion of yours in all of your photos. Obviously he was so loved and such an instrumental part of your family. I send you light and healing and hugs. BIG HUGS <3

  5. Oh Viv, I am heartbroken for you all. I remember the day I first met gorgeous big Blue. He was skinny and nervous but already attached to you- he knew he had just hit the jackpot. You all loved him so completely and through so much. You did the right thing, over and over for that big goofy guy. Everyone who met him will remember him with fondness and a smile. It hurts so much, but don’t erase him. Smile and cry at your screensaver. Walk your rugs and remember him until doing so doesn’t hurt so much, then you can decide. Sending lots of love.

  6. I’m so so sorry, nothing I can say relieves your pain. I know what you guys are feeling. Love you all. Cristina, Franco, Gabriel and Matilde

  7. I’ll never forget turning a corner in your home and seeing Blue meander into the kitchen all cool like, with such a sweet face and so big he was almost eye level with me. He had such a strong presence I felt in my short time there, I’m so sad to hear he’s passed. Sending all the love and walks to your family ❤️

  8. Tears and a heavy heart for you and your family, Viv. I’m so sorry for your loss. Our animals are our touch points, our soul mates, our safety.

    Keep the items that give you the most comfort, donate the items that might give another animal the comfort they gave Blue.

    Love and light to you.

    • Thanks Barb. Huge Paws is sending a volunteer to pick up all the beds and extra leashes. They can use them to make new rescued dogs comfortable as they wait for.new forever homes. Thank you for your kind words.

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss and know how horrible it is to lose a beloved pet that is a member of the family. Your blog post is a wonderful tribute.

  10. My heart goes out to you and your family. Losing a precious member of your family is so difficult but knowing that you saved his life and provided an amazing life to Blue shows what kickass people you are.

    Britt

  11. Viv,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I know how excruciating it is to have a beloved pup have such bad medical issues that there is only one appropriate decision, to end their pain. My heart goes out to you, your family, and Blue’s extended family.

    From what I can see, even though we never met, he had the lion’s share of love the very moment you crossed paths. Maybe you go there for a little while. Go to love. Maybe you could hold a wake of sorts so the boys and greater community can get some closure for this tremendous loss and spend time together telling stories. It seems to work for the Irish.

    All my love,
    Janna

  12. I’m so sad to hear this. Blue was such a sweet and amazing dog. I always loved seeing his big droopy face when walking in. He will definitely not be forgotten.

  13. I’m am not a dog person (allergies) and not even your friend, just a long time blog reader. I feel your pain through your words and want to reach out let you know I’ll say a prayer for you. I think you will find comfort in writing about him. Hugs

  14. And I’m crying at my desk. So many thoughts and feelings it’s hard to put any of it into words. I am so sorry for you guys. Blue was an amazing dog that I feel lucky to have known. Hugs to the whole family.

  15. Viv, I read this early this a.m. before I went running. We went through a very similar unexpected situation with our dog Jelly in December. Although he was older we were not expecting him to die! It brought back so many emotions and feelings. What I will say is that you will think you see Blue waiting at the door to go out in the corner of your eye, you will think you hear his nails on the wood floor– use those as all signs that he is still with you. It is so hard but you will get through it. Sending you lots of love and hugs. It will be very hard few days but I know you are surrounded by love. Blue was lucky to have you. Hugs to you and your boys!

    • Thank you Alison. I already felt that when I walked down the sidewalk this morning. I am so used to having him at my side. Seeing his leash hanging by the door brought me to tears.

      I knew that he could just as likely live another 3 years as drop dead in a day. I wish the former were true. I am focused on putting the guest room back together so Casey can have his room back (it’s where all the furniture and stuff was stored) he needs the comfort of his own space.

      • That was the hardest part…feeling the absence of him near us. I just took his collar down from the mantel because it was too painful to see every day. You WILL feel better though and your heart will heal. It’s so hard…wrapping you in hugs! We have a gorgeous painting my friend did a few years ago. It makes me so happy to see now. Take it easy today…rest, walk, be sad, it’s ok

  16. I’m so sorry Vivienne & Lonny. I know how much you all love him so much! He is a part of of your Family! Please keep the pictures, screensavers and rugs. You never know how much they will comfort you and keep his presence with you.

    • I am keeping his collar and leash, I loved his favorite rug to Micah’s room, the rest is going to the charity that we got him from. His beds will help another poor dog more comfortable as he waits for a forever home.

  17. All this love for Sweet Old Blue. Your chronicles of his last few months have been extremely touching and real. Your love for him is BIG..big as Sweet Old Blue. He was a majestic soul who loved his family beautifully. His force has reached many. Thank you for sharing him with us. Love you dearly, Viv xoxo

  18. Bye Blue. Will miss you, but you were happy and had a fabulous home so I know it is okay. I will take your mum for a walk.

  19. Viv we are so so sorry. I will take you on lots of walks when we get back (but I’ll still bring you flowers chocolate and wine!) xoxo Hilary

  20. Oh no!He was just getting better! I’m so sorry for you and for us he never failed to entertain I’m going to miss all his quirkiness and all the pictures of you taking walks with him.I love your screensaver I remember taking that picture what a handsome devil he was I still have the picture of my horse Galileo on my screensaver that passed in December I can’t take it off and now we have to put down Dusty the dogs going to leave a giant hole in your life, poor kids♡♡♡♡

  21. Oh Viv,
    I only met Blue once and can still see him nose to butt with baby Ferris seated in the Bjorn chair clamped to your counter. Even though that encounter was brief, because of all that you share so vividly, I (and likely hundreds more) feel like I knew him well.
    On my roughest mommying days I often think about you and the boys and your passionate, unfettered brand of parenting. You nourished Blue in the same vein and his life was rich with love and adventure. And he achieved internet and Daily Camera fame to boot!
    My favorite Blue story is when he relinquished his bed to a random drunk kid off the street. Dogs are dogs but some seem imbued with a gentle human spirit. Pope Francis-like as opposed to Cujo’s serial killer.
    What an amazing creature and, though sharply painful in this moment, a beautiful gift to Casey and Micah who surely gleaned even more strength and empathy from his lessons.
    RIP Blue.
    And big love to you, Viv.

  22. Viv and family, I am so so so sorry for your loss. He was such a wonderful boy, and loved deeply by anyone who came to meet and lean up against him. Sending you love and hugs.

  23. Crying pretty hard reading your wonderful tribute. I’m thinking of how he felt as I petted him. Thinking of the sounds his paw made on the floor. Thinking of his little grunts. Thinking of his interactions with all of you. All these memories from your home of which he is a HUGE part. I loved this boy, I am so sad he’s gone. Thinking of you are your family.

    • Yes, his little groans of pleasure were the best. He delighted in getting attention. Aren’t our dog friends the best? It’s hard when they leave us but what would life be without them. Thank you for your kind words Tracey.

      • Do you remember when he and Chicky got into one of their daily “dog fights”? They were really going at it and you sat there looking at them with wide eyes and asked, “Is this safe?” Blue loved tussling with Chick. He was so careful to never hurt him, to always put his face down low enough so that little chihuahua could get a good bite to the jowls in. In the end he always let the little guy win.

  24. Blue will always be loved and remembered for his loving ways of always standing in your way, his playful runs that you hope not to get in the way of, his sexy style, his loving leans, our precious and priceless naps, he is the king. I love you blue. I wish I could give you one more kiss on your huge face.

    • He really liked you. You two must have done some hardcore bonding that month you were at my house and I was traveling. I never thanked you properly for all the love and attention you gave him, waking up at zero dark thirty to walk his ass. We will have to drink a toast to him next time you are in town.

  25. Tears reading your tribute, as I’ve been there with so many of my beloved animal babies. My dog Cricket passed over 20 years ago, and I still dream of him on the regular. Blue was one lucky pooch to have found a family like yours <3 RIP sweet pup.

  26. Nothing will take away the loss, and I’m so sorry they go so quickly.

    I can say that fostering (and foster failing) has been a life changer for me. Each dog brings in their own special joy. Take some time to grieve, don’t erase or forget, but move on with him watching over you. Go find your next four legged, and best wishes for a full and happy home.

    • I will never forget him. The screensaver is staying but I’m ready to pass on his beds to some fosters that need a soft place to lay their heads.

  27. Dear Viv, I am sorry for your loss. You mentioned you request for expression of love and support. Do you have a suggestion for Lonnie or for the boys?

    • Excellent question. Lonny would never say no to a good IPA especially if you stay and drink it with him. Casey and Micah don’t want to talk about it so distraction is what they crave. I think Casey will be happy to have his room back (I’ve been working all day on it) and I think both of them enjoy having people take an interest but it’s hard to draw them out.

  28. Tears for u and your family. Pets are so dear to us as they love us so unconditionally. He had a great and full life because of you and your family. Kisses for u and your family xx

    • Ah Deebs, is that you? Thank you. I wish you had had a chance to meet him. He would have loooved you. He had a thing for women, as many rescued animals usually suffer abuse at the hands of men. He was especially fond of Aussie pole dancers. He had excellent taste.

  29. Oh Vivienne and Family, I’m so so sorry to hear this. I teared up reading it…you’re in my thoughts and heart. Rest well, sweet Blue.

  30. I am so sorry for your loss. It is so heart wrenching to lose one of your fur babies. They leave such a huge hole in your life. 🙁

    • Yeah, it’s pretty rough but the boys are doing okay. They both went to school, the nice lady from the rescue came by and took all the beds, and I’ve been going hard since 3:30 this morning. Friends came by and helped me move furniture back into the newly remodeled guest room, then we cleaned up Casey’s room, I washed the floors, got rid of the nasty rugs that I only kept around for Blue (they were gross) and moved his favorite rug into Micah’s room. I kept his favorite blanket, it smells like him. I started dinner, Lonny is finishing it, and I am going to collapse into bed. I am so tired but glad I was busy all day and that my house feels normal again.

  31. I am glad you kept busy and that your house is feeling normal. How is your little pup doing? I know it is not uncommon for the surviving pet to get depressed……….I love that you kept some of his favorite things. 🙂

  32. Pingback: With A Little Help From My Friends | Vivienne's Process of Elimination

  33. Oh no…not Blue! It won’t be the at your house without him chuffing away. I am so, so sorry Viv. My heart goes out to all of you.

  34. Dear Viv – Thank you for sharing Blue with all of us. He will be missed even in cyberspace. Blessings and big hugs to you and yours. Melanie

    • Thank you for being part of his (and my) life. He loved getting to know people, provided they were adults, and had fun at the VF gatherings at my house. He especially loved the people that would play with him and throw his stuffy around. He had a wonderful life.

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