Yesterday I held my old dog as he crossed the bridge.
For those of you who don’t know, Longstreet has been suffering with dementia for about 2 years. He went from being with the family for all activities to needing to be quarantined in a safe room for his and the other dog’s protection. He was still loved and had lots of good pets and treats, but I knew he would rather be spending time with us. On Friday he was very sick and it progressed exponentially over the weekend. I think that was his way of telling us it was time.
Longstreet was always an interesting dog. We suspect he was born in a rat terrier puppy mill and put out on the streets as he was off breed standard. His first foster thinks he spent at least 2 years on the street, and he never forgot it. But he was always very obedient and knew all of his commands and was great walker and car rider. He loved butt scratches and eating, especially bacon.
Here are some of my memories of him:
1. When we drove to KS to adopt Longstreet he sat in the jeep looking out the window and wore a smile on his face the whole way home 😊.
2. We used to have big bing cherry tree in our yard. We used to let out Longstreet and we thought he was just resting under the tree. He was actually devouring fallen cherries and had to go to the vet to get his stomach pumped. It was scary at the time, but that shows how much he liked to eat.
3. Longstreet LOVED butt scratches, he would dance while you scratched him…I wish I had a video of it 😞. Later we found out that he a lot of buckshot in his back end, so this probably made it feel better.
4. I will always remember the silly games we played with him to get him to eat food slower. We would play flight of the bumblebees and run up and down the stairs with his dish…sadly he still ate fast, but it became a tradition anyway.
5. We have a family tradition of taking the dogs to see Christmas lights. Longstreet would calmly sit and watch the lights and seemed to enjoy it…while Moxley jumped around the jeep like an idiot 😊.
5. Longstreet had the worst bark. His bark really did sound like Mike Tyson yelling. And i can imitate it perfectly.
6. Moxley always liked Longstreet and occasionally they would play, but mostly they acted like two teenage brothers never wanting to be too close, but protective of each other. We used to get big butcher bones at the store and they would love “bone time” and played keep away from each other.
7. Allen always thought that Longstreet’s black patch on his side looked like the dog from Family guy.
8. Longstreet once worked in conjunction with Moxley to pull a turkey off the Thanksgiving table to eat. After this incident we started a tradition on making a dog healthy turkey dinner to feed them before we ate. We make this even if we don’t make Thanksgiving dinner at home.
9. Once Longstreet got a grooming kerchief pulled up over his head like a scarf and he didn’t care. We took a lot of photos and talked in funny voices and called him an old Russian lady. We may have done this to him for amusement once or twice afterwards 😊.
10. When Longstreet was younger, everyone loved him. He was very calm and quiet. Every vet, boarding facility and stranger thought he was such a good boy.
The last few years were tough. I won’t say that Longstreet wasn’t a trying dog, because he was. He suffered from fear aggression, was chronically sneaky, didn’t like other dogs (including Abigail) and most likely had eaten a cat or two on the streets, since he always wanted to eat one. But in the end he was him self again, he got to come out and be with the family, ate some really nice pork belly and mashed potatoes, some good butt scratches and a little walk in the yard. I almost changed my mind, but the amazing vet assured me that many dogs do this in the end to make you smile and help their owner’s be ok.
So at around 1pm on Sunday, December 16th 2018, on a beautiful sunny winter day in our backyard (near where the cherry tree was), Longstreet lay in my arms with his brother and Allen close by and crossed the bridge. He looked at peace in the end.
Do me a favor, love your dog. Help him when he gets old. Be gentle and try to get treatments for any sickness he has. Every day with your dog is precious, always say goodbye to them when you leave. Play games, go for hikes, do silly things, and always have plenty of good treats.
I cannot express enough gratitude for Dr. Angel Han, who comforted me so much. I tried to hold it, but in the end I failed. Dr. Angel let me know that it was ok, and that I was a good dog mom and she was very fluent in cry speech. The whole Caring Pathways team was incredible. It was the most humane, dignified and beautiful way to pass in the safety and love of your own home.
Oh and I am purchasing another cherry tree to plant in honor of Longstreet’s memory.
A compassionate way to say goodbye.