Saturday, June 5, 2010

Old Friends

In December of 1998 I responded to an advertisement in a local newspaper, and for the grand sum of $50 brought home a pure-breed yet un-papered German Shepherd puppy. I had always wanted a big black German Shepherd, and planned to name him "Anubis", which is the jackal-headed Egyptian god of the funerary process. It was a very cool name inappropriately given, so eventually he just became known as "Nube" (rhymes with Tube), or "Nubber" (Rhymes with Goober) . . . which is what he was! He was all ears and paws and nose, and very quickly grew out of being a cute "little" puppy. But he was a cute puppy nonetheless! He didn't chew as much as my previous two Shelties, but he had his own challenges. He experienced growing pains, having gotten too big too fast before his bones could catch up, but he made it through all that. It took him forever to learn how to control his bladder. He house-trained very fast, but he suffered with submissive urination, which actually required bringing another dog into the house to cure. He learned how to play frisbee from my old Sheltie. He wasn't as fast as she was, but he could catch it mid-air, and would bring it back to be thrown again. Sometimes he would run into the woods with the frisbee, then set it down to be distracted to pee on something . . . so lots of frisbees were lost that way. He did have a few chew toys he liked to chomp and squeak. He grew into a big beautiful shepherd! My other two dogs were both old Shelties, and the oldest one had to be put to sleep in 2003. The remaining Sheltie was a grumpy old girl who didn't like to play much. A new addition to the family would be a good idea, and my husband at the time and I were thinking about going to adopt a dog from the shelter . . . when Sam showed up, cold and hungry. He was a very friendly big black mutt who was underfed and needed a home. He was given that home and became Nube's friend. They were well matched play mates. Anubis was always loyal and loving to his immediate family, never showing any aggression to us, but intimidating anyone outside our little "pack". He remained my protector and chief watch dog when my now Ex left us, giving the alarm if anyone came anywhere near the house, and woofing pretty convincingly in case anyone knocked. He was my buddy who saw me through some very dark days. When I had to sell my home to move closer to La Crosse, where I went to school, he came with me. It was arranged for Sam to stay on the property, and he came with the package when a new buyer purchased the home. Anubis made a new big buddy with Knight, my house-mate's "Golden Sausage". With Liz he became better socialized. He went for lots of walks regularly, and made many friends. During this time all those tick bites from our time in Camp Douglas and the woods caught up with him. He did suffer a bout with Lymes disease, which was treated. When I graduated I took my first job down in Texas. Liz was very gracious in letting the Big Boy stay with her, where he was comfortable. My work required me to be away from my home sometimes for 14 hours. I was also by myself in Texas. He would have been lonely all those long hours, though his company would have been welcome. He had a good home with Liz, so he stayed in Wisconsin. During the year I was away for the most part he did well with Liz. In the spring of this year he succumbed to another tick-borne illness, ehrlichiosis. The vet thinks he may have also had a stricture in his intestines, as he developed chronic diarrhea, which caused him to lose about 30% of his weight, leaving him very weak. We could have allowed him to slowly deteriorate, but we chose to not do so. I could have brought him to the farm, but I think he's too old to handle the confusion of a new place. We have the power of euthanasia for our pets, and this is the option we decided for. So, in a quiet manner, with both Liz and I there, I was present for yet another of my pet's silent exits from this world. I took his body immediately home with me to the farm, where my new father-in-law took him out into the back pastures and buried him. You were a Good Boy Anubis! You were my companion through many difficult years. You are one of the last ties to a life gone by. Find Rest Old Friend!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this. S