Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Good-bye, Old Friend!

Rusty in the doggie carriage
Yesterday I had to do one of the hardest things I've ever had to do - put our family dog to sleep. Rusty was a 13 1/2 year-old Welsh Springer Spaniel and he had simply grown old. He had arthritis, he was deaf and he had some ailment that we could never identify. He had stopped eating and drinking. He could barely stand up or walk on his weak hind legs. But somehow, he would make it all the way to the creek-bed at the back of our property and lie in the mud. I felt like he was going there to die, but it wasn't his time yet. It reminded me of the Native American Grandfather, Old Lodge Skins, in the movie Little Big Man with Dustin Hoffman who plays Jack, Old Lodge Skins' adopted Caucasian son. Old Lodge Skins tells Jack, "Today is a good day to die." Then, according to Wikipedia:
Jack accompanies Old Lodge Skins to a nearby hill where the aged, weary leader decides to end his life. He offers his spirit to the Great Spirit, and lies down to wait for death. Instead, it begins to rain. Old Lodge Skins sighs and says, "Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't". They return to his tepee to have dinner.

The Final Tour with our neighbors
Well, I had to be the one to make the magic work for Rusty and help him get there as easily and painlessly as possible. Unfortunately my husband was out-of-town, skiing with his buddies in Utah. Fortunately, my neighbors, who are dog-lovers and good friends, offered to go with me and Rusty to the vet. My neighbor, Marianne, told me about the Irish and Italian tradition of taking a deceased loved one around the neighborhood before burial. But she hoped that when it was her time, she would be shown the neighborhood before she passed and thought Rusty should be walked around the block one last time. I told her that Rusty didn't have the energy for a long walk, so another neighbor, Jay, offered to let us use his doggie carriage. So, with Marianne's dog, Spotacus, as the honor guard, Rusty had one more stroll around the block, remembering all his doggie friends that lived in the neighborhood.

Rusty was the cutest puppy ever!
Rusty was a sweet-natured and handsome boy with a white "heart" on his head and red freckles on his nose. Everybody who knew him loved him because he was so sweet and happy. His tail was always wagging and he was a bundle of energy. Even when he was older, people thought he was a puppy because of his playful, exuberant nature. Rusty was a people-dog. He loved to be with his family and often curled up under my desk as I was working.We've had him since he was a puppy, shipped on a plane from his breeders in Illinois. His father was a champion! My kids have grown up with him and will miss him terribly.

Thank you to all my neighbors and friends who reached out and helped me with this most difficult, but ultimately loving task. Last night, I asked my spirit guides for a message about Rusty. I had a dream in which I saw two horses, one white and one black, resting on a hilltop in a beautiful pastoral scene. Then I saw Rusty in the foreground, surrounded by light.  REST IN PEACE, GOOD BUDDY!

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