Monday, November 7, 2011

Rest in Peace Katie (1996 to 2011)

Katie at about age 1 or 2.

Update: November 8, 2011
Katie passed away today around 4pm central standard time. The vet said that her muscle mass had deteriorated severely and that she was dehydrated. Clearly, it was Katie's time. My wife and daughter were there to make their final good byes and our hound was cremated along with her favorite toy.

I want to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and kind comments about Katie. It is very much appreciated. Our daughter is having a hard time accepting things, but she seemed to have a better handle on things before she went to bed. We decided that we would hold an Irish Wake for Miss Katie this coming weekend. I also plan to visit the Rainbow Bridge web site that several of you have suggested. This will help too.

I imagine that Katie outlived all of her litter mates, probably because of all the walks that she took. I can picture her brothers and sisters, and her mother, Scout, waiting for Katie and wagging their tails in anticipation of seeing their sister at long last. She is in a better place - of that I am sure.

This weekend, we plan to visit the neighbor's down the street and introduce ourselves to their new Golden Retriever puppy. Seems like a good idea.

Finally, I want to thank Katie for being a terrific good luck charm last night. Without her, the Chicago Bears would not have defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in the football game. :)

Original Posting
I am sad to announce that the oldest of our two Golden Retrievers, Katie, will be making her final visit to the vet's office tomorrow. Katie is 15 years and about 5 months old, which is pretty good for a medium-sized hound. Her vet calls Katie an "impressive senior".

Katie has been diagnosed with pancreitis (spelling?) and so she wasn't able to eat or keep down the little food that she could eat. I was feeding her baby food (chicken, strained) the past few days and she seemed to like that. Dang, I had wanted to cook her a nice juicy filet steak for her birthday, but I forgot all about it.

She ate some food last night, but this morning, well...... let's just say that the mess was coming out of both ends, so to speak. Our vet says she likely has lymphona too. Since she can barely stand up on her own (she's ok once she's on her feet) and won't eat, it is obvious that it is time to put her down. She has turned into a bag of bones, wasting away.

Katie and I went for a short walk this evening, and hopefully I made amends for all the times that I ignored her or took her for granted. We are watching the Bears-Eagles football game this evening, and she seems to have brought good luck to the Bears.

Unlike most dogs, Katie was never a "car dog". She hated riding in the car, in fact, she threw up all over my wife's sister when they brought Katie home from the breeder's for the first time. She never got over her disliking of cars and car rides.

Katie loved playing fetch (she's a Golden Retriever, after all) and once she had the bait or the ball, would not give it back to you. So instead, we played a game called, "I Want That Ball", or Keep Away, if you will. I don't think that I ever caught her unless she wanted me to catch her.

More stories later, we've got a game to watch and need to spend our last evening together.
Katie liked her dog walks and seemed to take it upon herself to keep me trim and in shape. We used to go on long walks of three or four miles in every kind of weather, good or bad. At first, she didn't like the leash and fought it. We had to use a harness to get her to move. Eventually, she figured out that if she led me instead of pulling behind me, that walks could be a lot of fun. She was still going at least a mile a day twice a day up until about last week.

She was kind of an aggressive dog when she was around other dogs. Katie would growl and snarl at other dogs - couldn't get along with any of them, save one called Brampton - a German Shepherd-Golden mix. The two of them would nip and chase each other -- it looked like a dog fight, but you could tell that it was just rough housing.

She had a funny way of greeting visitors to the house. When the door bell would ring, she'd run to the door and nearly wag her tail off and whine. It wasn't just the tail that wagged, it was her entire posterior. She really enjoyed greeting visitors.

Later in her life, we felt that we weren't paying enough attention to her as our daughter required more and more of our time. So we thought that it would be a good idea to get her a companion. So we applied for an adoption with "As Good As Gold", an organization that places Golden Retrievers in new homes. This is how we acquired our new boy, "Dave". Dave loves everyone, man or beast. He'd try to nip at Katie and get her to play, but Katie clearly wanted to have nothing to do with Dave. She merely tolerated him.

We are happy to have Dave in our household. He is quite the comedian and a loveable old lug of a dog. His presence will make Katie's departure more tolerable, just barely.

Tomorrow, Mrs. Fritz and the Princess will take Katie on her last walk to the vet and say their good byes. I will have to give mine tonight and tomorrow morning, because I have to be at work. It will feel very strange to come home tomorrow evening and have no Katie to greet me.

Circle of life. Down the street, a household that lost their Golden recently got a new puppy Golden. She reminded me of Katie when we bought her.

I had never owned a dog from birth to death, so this is new territory for me. I'll miss Katie.


  1. Very sad news indeed.

  2. I remember taking my dog to all of his favorite places just before his final trip to the vet . . . so I truly empathize with you.

    -- Jeff

  3. My has been more than 10 years since the loss of my Golden, and I still miss him. They are the best dogs in the whole world, in my opinion. Take care.

  4. My condolences on the loss of your Katie. We had to put down our Great Dane ('Clive') last year and it was definitely the hardest thing I ever had to do. If you have the inclination, read Pablo Neruda's 'A Dog Has Died' - I found it quite apropos and honest.

  5. Jim,

    My deepest regrets and condolences. It is a journey I have had to make several times now. I am a Labrador Lover, and preferably the large boned field variety. Unfortunately, they are very prone to hip displacia and joint diseases. I have gone the cycle from pup to parting now with 4 Labs, 1 Collie and a Dachshund of my Wife's. My current Lab was obtained at 6 weeks and is now 15.

    No offense to cat lovers (and we have those too), but there is a reason that "Dog" is "God" spelled backwards.


  6. My condolences, never a nice thing to have to go through. Our thoughts are with you.

  7. Deepest condolences, Jim. I remembered too well how I resented the death of my daughter's rabbit, and now I have a marvelous little dog of my own. I hate to think about the future: well, we have roughly the same life expectancy now, so may be I'll be spared the pain...

  8. Not a day goes by when I don't remember my 'old guy' and he's been gone must be 3 or 4 years now... I had him from a puppy for 18 years - you do get attached, and I feel for your loss...

  9. I feel your grief. Losing a special member of the family is never easy, even when you know it is the right thing to do. I've always said we humans aren't worthy of dogs as companions. The unconditional love and devotion they give us is a joy that is rarely returned in full measure.

    Rest in peace Katie.

  10. The only time I have seen my father emotional was when one of our fantastic dogs called Bruno had to be put down. A terrible business. Both my parents were competely useless so I had to always take the dogs on their final trip to the vets. When they divorced far far more money was spent fighting over the dogs (they eventually had a shared court custody agreement - you couldn't make it up) rather than over us boys. Now I have my own dog I do slightly understand.


  11. Sorry to here about poor Katie, I know what your going through, our dog Jock has the same thing, its not very nice at all.

  12. My condolences for you and your family. I feel deeply sorry for you having to get through these so sad moments.
    Our thoughts are with you and Katie. May we all meet with them when our own hour comes. I just can't figure an eternity without them.

  13. Though i'm a cat person ;) i know the pain when loosing a little hairy part of the family.

    Horrible :(

  14. The four-footed furry people come into our lives and steal our hearts away. Dogs love so easily and so fully. We're the lucky ones.

    Rainbow bridge. She'll be waiting for you, tennis ball, frisbe or sticks ready for a game of fetch.

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