Not really sure what else to say right now, so I'll just copy what I posted on Facebook earlier tonight, for now. More words will come later, I know...
Tonight we said goodbye to our older Aussie girl. Torii was simply one of the best dogs we'll ever know- and I know everyone says that about their dogs but she really was in a league of her own. She had such a way with other dogs and was an amazing teacher and guide for the 200+ fosters that she lived with. She coaxed scared dogs out of their shells, and put more than a few rowdy puppies in line! Torii always seemed to know what people wanted, and what other dogs needed. Even with 18 other dogs, this house feels empty tonight. You've left some big pawprints to fill, Torii Girl. https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbi...06729163049713
Torii sounds like an incredibly special dog and those who can teach other dogs are so very precious, aren't they? Worth much more than their weight in gold. I know you will miss her and I hope that you will someday find another dog who can help you calm the rescues. So very sorry for this loss.
Thanks, everyone. The house just feels... lacking without her. We had six dogs of our own (well, the 7th is the weimaraner foster, who didn't officially become ours until Torii passed away- felt crazy to have 7 of our own, but staying at the same number doesn't sound so bad right?! ha...) and when we'd do the tally of our dogs coming inside/at bedtime/etc it would be, "Two aussies, two retrievers, two schnoodles, check!" That routine now just feels weird.
We always have foster dogs coming and going, and after they're with us for some time, a handful of months, it takes an adjustment to not look for them in the yard or house. I'm still looking for one of our long time fosters (6 months+) who was adopted a month ago... I suspect i'll be thinking Torii is just in the other room for quite some time.
She was almost 11 years old, and going SO strong. We went to visit my parents in Key West over new years and decided at the last minute to bring her as well. We were only going to bring one retriever and the smaller schnoodle because my mom loves the schnoo, and the retriever loves running on bike rides with us and swimming in the ocean. We were going to leave Torii with MrB's parents, but decided that she was getting older and it might be one of the last years she'd want to travel. I can't believe she only had two more months of life at that point.
During the vacation she was her usual spunky self, MrB's shadow, and happy as a clam. She didn't eat her food quite so avidly, but we figured that was because my dad was giving every dog (there were our 3 plus their 2 in the small house!) pieces of steak, chicken breast, shrimp, sausage... every day, and we thought she was just holding out from her food for better offerings (which she definitely had done before!).
We got back and a few weeks later she started getting really finnicky with her food. She wouldn't eat every day or finish her bowl. I had felt a lump on her side, so we took her into the vet. The vet disregarded the lump on the side as a normal fatty deposit. She did feel Torii's lymph nodes under her throat- they were swollen. Put her on antibiotics and prednisone, did blood panel, everything was ok there. She started losing weight at this point, too. Two weeks later her nodes were still swollen, we did x-rays, but the other nodes looked totally normal- it was just the two in her neck, both sides, that were large. We added canned food to her diet during this time as well to get her to eat. Put her on a different round of antibiotics, thinking it miiiight be tick-borne, who knows. Aspirated the nodes and sent them off. It was cancer. What i'm not clear on is whether it was exactly lymphoma, or if it originated somewhere else.... My brain is too foggy to recall what the Dr said about that.
I think they could have tested what kind it was, but it wouldn't have changed the prognosis or recommended treatment given her age.
She was diagnosed on Feb 20th. In the following week she just went steadily downhill, losing more weight and eating less. Still not refusing the cheese and most soft treats, but meal time was a negotiation (not this canned food, but maybe that one. nope, maybe this dry food soaked- but not soaked too long, or not that brand of dry food....). Her muscles were just wasting away and she took some stumbly steps, and needed help onto the porch a few times. Attitude was great, a little panting at night, some coughing/gagging from the swollen throat. The last day though, she wasn't able to walk normally. She held her back paw wrong and walked on the top of the foot, not the pad. She wouldn't fix it either. Her last evening she was increasingly out of it, and though we thought she'd be able to get some rest before taking her in monday morning, she let us know she needed some assistance out of this world. She left us, helped along by one of the nicest vets, on sunday night march 2 at 9pm.
It was horrible watching her, knowing she was dying soon, but thinking she seemed comfortable "enough"... then when she started getting really out of it, not responding to MrB's voice- oh that just broke him. I know he was hoping she'd be able to rest, but he was also somewhat relieved once the decision was made to help shorten that terrible- natural, inevitable, but still terrible- process of dying.
She left us with her head cradled in MrB's arms and hearing her favorite words, "You're a good girl, Torii dog. That's a good girl."
I guess i'll go on (it is therapeutic, after all). Of our five- well, 6 including the weimy- remaining dogs as wonderful as they all are, none are a good substitute for those traits i mentioned in the first post. They're all varying degrees of good- and each has a few of those traits, but not all in one package. The other aussie or the one retriever could step up to the plate, but i don't think they're ever going to be quite like she was. I don't know how long it will be until we find another dog like her, if we will. Torii was his heart dog.
And I know he's upset. Of course. But he's also been in an incredibly foul mood, and just doesn't seem to want to be around the other dogs- or they are annoying him in ways that didn't really bug him (or not as much) before. I know he just wants his dog, his *perfect* dog, back. She really was perfect in his eyes, and our other dogs are coming up pretty short right now. I know he loves them, but it's probably really hard for him to not compare who we have now to who was lost. I know he'll get over this part of the grieving process, it's just sad to see right now.
Before she passed and before it became apparent that the weimy probably was going to stay, for a while I had entertained the idea of going to an Australian Shepherd breeder for his next dog. Doing the research, finding a breeder that suited what he would want and need, and going through that selection process. Gosh he would love that. It's been 11 years since he raised a puppy of his own (our others came to us 6 months-3 years old), for keeps rather than fostering briefly. I know he would love another beautiful aussie (our other one is... well, he has inner beauty). But with the Weim and the other 5 dogs, that will still be some time from now. And truly, i think he would need some time to let go of those expectations for the new dog to be just like Torii.
Sigh. Just kinda glum around these parts lately. And it will be for some time longer.
We are lucky- in so many ways, but specifically- that we have all these other dogs of our own and fosters to keep us busy and entertained. A few puppies (one of which is snoring and farting SO HORRIBLY on my lap right now, i wouldn't be surprised if this post smelled like puppy farts- it really is that bad), and we can go save some dogs from death row. I just rescued two more today- a shepherd pup and an adolescent tornado of a yellow lab. That part is good for the soul. I think Torii would approve.
I am so very sorry for your loss. Your posts really touched me. I lost my heart dog last Tuesday - February 26. She fought a long battle against arthritis and some lameness that no pain medicine or treatment would touch. I know just where your husband is. He just wants his life back - the life that had her in it. I was there. It has eased up some but wow it is overwhelming. I will be thinking about you guys and wishing your husband some peace. Swift journey sweet girl - your family loved you well.
Last Wednesday, I had a beautiful, healthy Australian Cattle Dog. Thursday he was limping. Friday he couldn't get up without help. Saturday, I buried my head into his side as the vet administered the drugs that took him away from me.
Despite a health check in November before we moved giving him a clean bill of health, he was discovered to have a baseball sized tumor in the anal canal, pressing against his spine. And more tumors were discovered everywhere else. He was almost 11, in a lot of pain, and we had to say goodbye. It was so hard.
I understand your pain. I'm so sorry for your loss.
I am so very sorry for your loss. I remember too well the look in my Pinchy's eyes at 14 1/2 dying from CHF saying, "It's time for me to go. Will you help me?"
My fiance', like your husband, takes anything bad happening to our dogs very hard. Unless you're restricted to only 6, I would let your husband pick a puppy when he's ready. You cannot "make" a dog a heart dog if it's not and it sounds like he's lost his heart dog and none of the others will be a replacement. My heart dog is an 11 yo JRT, and while I hoped the puppy we got last year would be my next heart dog, I suspect she and I will only be good partners. Which is saying a lot as I will need to depend on her to control the pack as the alpha bitch for my next generation. But I suspect I won't have another heart dog until I have a litter out of her and a little white male is delivered into my hands.
~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook
I can feel your pain with every word you write and my heart aches for your loss. What a gem of a dog she was, and what a large part of your heart she will always inhabit. All I can do is send hugs, and the hope that the pain in your heart fades with time, leaving only the joy of her having been with you.
“When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American.” Dorothy Thompson 1935
I'm so sorry! Reading about her broke my heart. My father never got another dog after he lost his beloved Aussie and I have two that are 13 this month. Everytime one is a little sluggish or off her feed I worry. Sending hugs from Kentucky.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe
I'm so sorry to hear about Torii. I'd say let your hubby pick a puppy when he's ready - he deserves a heart dog. It's great to help out rescues - really great. But having a special dog that's yours is a different kind of great.
I understand your pain implicitly and I am so, so sorry.
When my "perfect" dog went- and she went quick- I refused to interact with our dane puppy (then about 6 mos) for days and days. I knew it was unfair, but like your husband, I was so completely irritated by everything he did, his every quirk, his puppyness, his, well, not being her.
Monday of this week I thought I was going to lose that same dane, who is now pushing 7, and I cried as hard as I did when I lost the perfect dog at the thought.
No, he's still not her, but he is who he is, and he has grown on me immensely. He will never replace that perfect dog- no dog will, she was perfect - but then again, no dog will ever replace HIM either. You may find that one of the current dogs grows on your husband as well. Dogs have a way of stepping up like that.
All your words have been a really nice comfort to read, I'm glad I wrote this. It sure does suck, but there's solace in knowing that I'm not alone.
I have been thinking about the Aussie puppy idea. Right now we're living at the foster farm with loads of dogs and owning six doesn't change much about our routine and lifestyle. In a few years I'd like to move to the outskirts of another city to 'settle' and don't know if seven would be doable. Plus I'm coming to realize I might actually want human offspring, and don't want to be overwhelmed... Though it might be good to have the crazy wild Aussie out of the adolescent puppy stage before a baby came into the picture....
Many things to consider. It is a really happy daydream to imagine (the picking and raising our own puppy part... The baby thing is more scary to imagine!!)