Great dogs are hard to let go

Last week was tough on my family. We had to say goodbye to not one great dog, but two. No matter how many times I go through it, it always tears my heart out.

I’ve been lucky. Some people go through their entire lives without a good dog to come home to. I’ve had several. In fact, at times, I’ve had two, three, or even four great dogs at the same time.

Cricket in the leaves
This golden girl was responsible for giving me 10 of the best years of my life. Photo by Ty Stockton

For the last few years, we’ve had Cricket, my Golden Retriever; Dusty, the Collie, and Paisley, our Australian Shepherd. Just before Christmas, a friend gave us Riley, a Black Lab puppy. I wouldn’t go so far as to call Riley a great dog yet, but there’s certainly potential in her for that.

But the other three have been wonderful. Dusty had his quirks, as many Collies do, but he was a loyal and loving friend just the same. Paisley is determined to be the favorite, and she often knocked the other dogs out of the way so she could show me just how devoted she is to me. But Cricket … Cricket was my baby.

Last week, though, our world turned upside-down. Cricket was not looking good on Monday morning, so I took her to the vet. That’s where I heard the dreaded word, “Hemangiosarcoma.” This ailment is common in Goldens. It causes bleeding in the abdomen, and it’s fatal. The good news is that it’s painless. It’s quick, but it gives Golden lovers a little bit of time to say goodbye.

Dusty the collie
Dusty wasn’t a bird dog, but I don’t hold that against him. Photo by Ty Stockton

While we were nursing Cricket, Dusty took a turn for the worse. Then on Wednesday morning, he went to sleep in my arms, and didn’t wake up. Cricket followed him to the hereafter later that night.

It’s good I have the other two monsters to take care of. I know it’s part of having dogs, but jeez, two dogs in one day? That hurt. Hug your dogs today. Let them up on your bed. Give them a pizza crust or two. And cherish and remember your good times with them.