It was almost 13 years ago that we brought home a little dog. A springer who, by breeder standards, was just not up to par. By my standards the breeder needs some adjustments. This puppy was from a 7 year old mother and one of two surviving puppies from a bad breeding that was full of birth defects. This one had a defective eye. Retinal folds it’s called, and he can’t be bred and he can’t be shown. He’s blind in one eye. So she put him up on the springer rescue boards, although the only thing we were rescuing him from was the breeder (oddly, his sister went on to become quite a winner on the state and national circuit….)
So, because we needed a name starting with a B (a long tradition carried forth by Bess, Bo, Babs to name a few—and a couple of cats) he became Beta. The greek for B, well for the second letter of the Greek alphabet which we are saying is B. We are nothing if not original thinkers.
I got him for Dave and I before we got married so we’d have a puppy of our own. Although not so sure Dave was all that enthused.
But we did get our engagement pics with him---
Right? We are all so young.
Beta grew up to be a regular Springer type Spanial. And with all his quirks, the most important thing to Beta was to be with us. Well, and Trixie. He loved Trixie and Trixie told him what to do.
But beyond Trixie, and beyond all else, he just wanted to be with us.
He hung out with us everywhere.
I can do this all day long
As you can probably tell, somewhere around five or so he lost his eye. He got glaucoma and we couldn’t control it and it looked so painful but you couldn’t tell cause Beta never let on about that.
Beta loved us unconditionally. One of the ways he showed it when he was really glad to see us, was to give us what we lovingly referred to as “Snarly Face”
At least we like to think it was a happy snarl.
He was just always around. We moved, he moved, we stayed, he stayed. He had us and Trixie and if that was it then it was ok with him.
Then one day Trixie started not eating, then she started not feeling so great, and although she pushed on, in the end she couldn’t keep going and she died.
We’d just moved back and I wasn’t around yet cause I was still in Tacoma for another month and I think that’s about when Beta started to lose his mind a little. Not a lot at first, he was still happy to see us and wanted to be with us, but it wasn’t quite the same. There was a more anxious quality about it. Because one day your best friend, who is with you all day when everyone else leaves, isn’t there anymore, and you are just with yourself. The days are endless, and anxiety filled.
Once I came back and was at home all day everyday we fell into a routine. Beta would disrupt me
And we disrupted him-
We got Abby, and he really wasn’t thrilled
Then we got Puddy
And he got used to all of it over time….
And we took our walks and we went on in an uneasy sort of truce between Beta being Beta and Beta starting to fail.
It was gradual at first but, and leaving all the details out, eventually he couldn’t really control his legs and he fell, and he fell, and then he fell again. And if he fell, he couldn’t get up. If we went for a day, we’d find him when we got home, upset, maybe urine soaked, but glad to see us. It was painful to watch.
We didn’t leave him much.
When my mother got dementia, she’d go from room to room, looking. And then she’d come back to where you were sitting the whole time and she’d say—Well, there you are, I’ve been looking for you. And she’d be really glad to see you because she hadn’t seen you in soooo long. That’s exactly how Beta got.
In the last couple of months, between falling and wandering, he did do a couple of things. He ran away from me barking at someone. I never leashed him anymore because seriously? The dog was ambling at best. He saw someone pass in front of us and took off like a shot. I was so shocked I couldn’t even catch him. I just stood there for a moment-then took off after him. He had caught up to the person but then sort of forgot why he was barking and was just standing there, looking. I apologized profusely and put him on a leash. He did that a couple of weeks ago at someone across the street. I was ready for that. But mostly, when I took him outside at the end, he’d just wander around, make sure we were there, lick the snow, and fall down.
Then I got a job that was going to take me out of the home, and it was time. I tried medicating him to make him more comfortable in the past month but that didn’t work. There were days he didn’t lie down all day because he was anxious or in pain or both. So last Monday, on the 8th,we took him. And it was done.
When we left the vet’s office Adele was playing on the radio--
..Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were…
But if I have to have a song, it’s this--
So goodbye my friend
I know I'll never see you again
But the love you gave me through all the years
Will take away my tears
But I'm okay now
Goodbye my friend
You can go now
Goodbye my friend