It's hard to explain the loss that I'm feeling right now. On December 22nd we lost a member of our family. He was going to be 13 years old in March, and had been a member of our family for the last 10 years. It was our beloved Golden Retriever/Yellow Lab mix named Norman.
Norman was a special dog. We got him when we moved into his house in 2001. We bought the house that he lived in. Since the family who we bought the house from couldn't take him with them, they had found a home for him but seemed unsure about having him stay with them. He had taken to us when toured the house, so we offered to taken him. They accepted and Norman became a member of our family. So we jokingly like to say that we bought a dog and got a hobby farm for free!
When we moved to our home I was working second shift while my husband was working first shift. So Norman and I got to spend a lot of time together making our house a home. He was my first kid. We spent a lot of time together while I worked second shift for 6 years. I think I probably spent more time with him than I did with my husband. He was my constant companion and he was mama's boy.
After 6 years life changed and Norman took a small step down in priority when my 1st daughter was born. He held an important place in my heart and he gained another person to love him and play with him. He is one of the reason my daughter can throw a ball so well. He was a double bred retriever as I liked to call him, so he was all about playing fetch or blue ball (fetch with his racquetballs) .
A few years later he would once again have another girl to love him. Unfortunately, my youngest daughter only got to enjoy him for a little over the first year of her life. I doubt she will remember much about him but I notice her once in a while looking around for him.
Having to put Norman down was pretty sudden. I knew that he was getting older and we could tell that the arthritis in his hips was getting worse but we never expected to have to put him down when we did. We headed to my parents for Christmas and took him along since they were going to watch him while we went to visit some other family for Christmas. When we got to my parents he couldn't get out of the car. We thought that maybe his legs had fallen asleep so we lifted him out of the car. But once we got him out he couldn't walk and my husband felt his legs and discovered that the muscles in his legs were atrophied and the nerves weren't working correctly. He couldn't walk more than a few steps and those steps you could tell were very painful for him, so it was best that we put him down. We called my parents old vet and schedule an appointment that day to put him down.
It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do so far in my life. I loved him so much but I know he is in a better place and no longer in pain. He was a wonderful dog and I have wonderful memories of him. This week has been hard for me...my husband had a work trip and so I was home alone with my girls and without my wonderful Norman to keep me company and snuggle with me. This week I also received the clay paw print that the vet made when they put him down. I plan to make a shadow box to display some of the fond memories of my beloved boy.
|My Beloved Norman on his last day with us.|
So I'll leave you tonight with this quote from Will Rogers:
"If dogs don't go to Heaven, I want to go where they went."