Country Living Series

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Adieu Major

It's been a sad week for us. Today we will be having our old black lab/hound mix, Major, put to sleep.

Major came into our lives almost seven years ago as a pound rescue. We were told he was about two years old, though of course no one knew his actual age. As the years went by it became apparent he was well over two, probably more like six years old when we first got him... so he's quite the senior citizen.

In the last year, he's declined in mobility, but he was always a dog who enjoyed his creature comforts. Early on in our ownership of him, we couldn't keep him off the couch; so we covered it with a sheet and it became "Major's couch." His couch is in the same room as the woodstove, which is a good thing because if there's one thing this dog loves, especially in the winter, it's heat. Sometimes he would literally wrap himself around the stove and sigh contentedly.

When we got Lydia, Major was top dog at first... but with Lydia's dominant personality, he got demoted to second lieutenant. But that was okay. As long as he had his couch and his woodstove, he was a happy canine. And in the yard, the dogs were great friends and often played together.

Last week we noticed he had a rock-hard lump on his forehead, and we've never seen anything grow so quickly. I don't even want to take a picture because I don't want to remember him like that. The lump is compressing one eye, and it appears to be affecting both his sight and his hearing. Thankfully he doesn't appear to be in any pain, though he's obviously in some discomfort... and the skin is beginning to split.

This all happened so fast that none of us have really had a chance to mentally adjust and accept it. Yet all it takes is one look at that lump to know we're doing the right thing in ending his suffering. Whatever that lump is, we're not going to commit with Major the grievous error we've done with previous dogs, which is to let them go too long because we can't bear to part with them.

A few hours after this blog post goes up, Don will take Major in to the vet and have him mercifully and gently put to sleep.

It's hard to lose a pet. Goodbye, Major. Thank you for many happy years.


  1. So sad! It's hard to say goodbye to a dear pet and friend! {{{HUGS}}}

  2. I too have a senior black lab that is my good companion. When I read the title for today, all I could say was, 'oh no, oh no'.Now that my children have gone on to lead their own lives and while my husband is at work my Sam is with me. Lying beside me even as I write this, I know our time is short. He has arthritis and is on medication. We have to give him pain meds from time to time. But, he is still a happy boy. I will miss him so very, very much when we part ways. I pray one of the desires of my heart is that God will allow us to be together again someday.
    I am so sorry for your loss Patrice. Major was a very blessed dog to have such a good home. He was happy and so you can remember his life fondly. May God comfort your sad heart.

  3. An old cowboy was riding his trusty horse followed by his faithful dog along an unfamiliar road. The man was enjoying the new scenery, when he suddenly remembered dying, and realized that the dog beside him had been dead for years, as had his horse. Confused, he wondered what was happening, and where the trail was leading them.

    After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall that looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch topped by a golden letter "H" that glowed in the sunlight.

    Standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like gold.

    He rode toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. Parched and tired out by his journey, he called out, “Excuse me, where are we?”

    “This is Heaven, sir,” the man answered.

    “Wow! Would you happen to have some water?” the man asked.

    “Of course, sir. Come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.”

    As the gate began to open, the cowboy asked, “Can I bring my partners, too?”

    “I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.”

    The cowboy thought for a moment, then turned back to the road and continued riding, his dog trotting by his side.

    After another long ride, at the top of another hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a ranch gate that looked as if it had never been closed. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

    “Excuse me,” he called to the man. “Do you have any water?”

    “Sure, there’s a pump right over there. Help yourself.”

    “How about my friends here?” the traveler gestured to the dog and his horse.

    “Of course! They look thirsty, too,” said the man.

    The trio went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with buckets beside it. The traveler filled a cup and the buckets with wonderfully cool water and took a long drink, as did his horse and dog.

    When they were full, he walked back to the man who was still standing by the tree. “What do you call this place?” the traveler asked.

    “This is Heaven,” he answered.

    “That’s confusing,” the traveler said. “The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.”

    “Oh, you mean the place with the glitzy gold street and fake pearly gates? That’s hell.”

    “Doesn’t it make you angry when they use your name like that?”

    “Not at all. Actually, we’re happy they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.”

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss, Patrice. Losing furry family members never gets easier, but you're definitely doing the right thing by not letting him suffer.

  5. Pets become family-very quickly. I had to have two of my cats put to sleep-one was 19, the other 14..My way of looking at it is there's another pet out there in need of a home(I adopted another cat the next day).

  6. It is always hard to say good-bye to a part of your family. Praying for comfort for your family.

  7. Patrice,

    Prayers for peace and fond memories to you and your family as you do the right thing by Major. The Great News is that one day you will be together again, this time for much longer.


  8. Our hearts are with you and the family, Patrice. But rest assured, you are doing the right thing which is never easy it seems. God bless.
    p :(

  9. Our hearts are with you and the whole family, Patrice. But rest assured, you are doing the right thing which is never easy it seems. God bless.

  10. I hate to hear that. I hate to lose such a close companion. I'm sure he will be missed, but he will no longer be in pain.

  11. I am so sorry. Losing a pet is heartbreaking.

  12. I am so sorry - they are never with us long enough.

  13. It's clear that Major has had a blessed life, thanks to his loving familiy.
    My ((( hugs ))) go out to you (and Major) too.

  14. I hope you have so many good memories to ease the heartache today and during the next few months. He looks like such a loveable fellow.

  15. As someone thats had to say goodbye to several dear pets/friends over the past 2 years, I know how you feel. You and yours will be in our thoughts and prayers.

    I remarked to my wife after the last one that it was much easier when I was a child and was told that "Betsy just went to live with Uncle So-and-So on the farm. She'll be happier there."

    Always stinks when we have to be a responsible adult. But if we love them that much, it is the merciful thing to do.


  16. Oh my gosh! I'm sooo sorry! It's so hard. One time I took our 17 y/old beloved cat to the vet to be put to sleep. He had a bump, surgery, etc, couldn't walk. I, the bravest, took, him to the vet, and I was so broken up, I couldn't even speak at the vet's office. It really caught me off guard emotionally! Many hugs to you and your family!
    --K in OK <><

  17. The hardest thing I've ever done is to put down a dear friend and I've had to do it multiple times. The guilt that follows was always difficult to bear until my brother told me, "We are here to give our pets the best life we can, not the longest one." It didn't take away the pain for me, just the guilt.

    So sorry for your loss, my prayers will be with your family today.

  18. I'm so sorry. I too adopted a pound mutt nearly 11 years ago and they thought Buck was 4 or 5. I know that hard day is coming soon here too.

  19. And I forgot to mention. . .Buck has his own couch too.

  20. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Our Anatolian Shepard developed bone cancer in his leg. Taz left us from the comfort of our living room on February 18th. We have a wonderful vet who was willing to come to us and it was a blessing as Taz weighed 165lbs. We are still mourning his loss. He was an amazing animal and heroic until the end. God Bless you all and give you comfort in the days ahead.

  21. I am so sorry for your loss.I know how hard this is.Last year I had to put my dog to sleep after he developed ulsers.He was my best friend for 11 years.Be sure to watch Lydia.I have seen animal grieve and decline after the death of another animal.After we put Beso to sleep, our cat Georgie went into a decline.I thought for sure we were going to lose him.We ended up getting another puppy to keep him company and that seems to have helped.Its been a little over a year now,and Georgie and the Puppy Ellsie are great friends.

  22. Dang, that stinks Patrice. I'm so sad to hear that. I know you, Don and the girls are upset and will miss the old guy, and Lydia will too. I'm sorry for your loss...

  23. We're so sorry for your loss, Patrice. Over the years, we've had six black labs or black lab mixes. We love black Labs. We also had a Pit Bull/Rottweiler mix and a German shepherd/Australian shepherd mix. A lot of dogs have come and gone in our family over the years and every one of them was unique. Sweet, special, funny, you name it. We miss them all so much. Dogs just don't live long enough, darn it.

    One thing our dogs all had in common was they were so well-behaved! This was not by accident. We knew nothing about training dogs, so we turned to the experts. The best ones all pretty much teach the same way. Once we learned that as much as dogs seem to be so human-like, they are NOT people and they don't think like people, training them became very easy. We just had to realize they think like dogs, not people.

    Any dog can be taught not to jump on the furniture or on visitors that drop by. Someone who thought she was a dog expert told us recently that her dog just could not be broken of jumping up on people. WRONG. Not one of our eight dogs ever jumped on anyone. EVER. Many people encourage dogs to jump up on them by slapping their stomachs or chests and saying "Come on, boy!" Then grabbing the dog's feet and petting them (which only encourages them even more to do wrong.) Problem is, the dog doesn't know the difference between a 6-foot tall man and a small child or a petite woman. And if it's a big dog, it could scratch someone seriously!

    Dogs are a joy, but no matter how big or small, they should FIRST be taught that in your pack (family) they are at the very bottom of the pecking order totem pole. Then when you scold them for getting on the furniture, they will respect and mind you much better. --Fred & Deb in AZ

    1. Jon, Jamie's other halfFebruary 29, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Good advice, but nows not the time. Sorry for your loss Patrice. I really enjoyed the Heaven story that was shared, pray that it is so.

  24. Patrice and family,
    Sorry for the loss of your trusty companion Major.


  25. I lost my Jack Russel terrier two and a half years ago. He had suddenly went into decline the last week of his life, and one night, when I went out to feed him, he collapsed on his side and began breathing rapidly. I sat there for a few minutes with him and patted him until it looked like he was okay. The vet was closed, so there was nothing we could do until the next day. At first I thought he ate something he shouldn't have because he got real sick as a puppy when he did that, so I went inside for a few minutes, then came back out and found that he had passed. I didn't have much time to prepare for it. For I while I thought somebody really did in fact gave him something he wasn't supposed to have, and I was pretty angry for a while. But then he was about eleven. I only lost one other pet that I owned at ten years (the others were really my granny's cats, but some of them we claimed as our own).

    I hope your wonderful furry friend finds peace in the arms of God. I'm sure he'll be waiting there like everybody else's loving pets. ;)


  26. I am so sorry. Find peace in the fact that you gave him a wonderful life.

  27. We're so sorry for your loss. We went through a similar situation in November, including ours being a pound rescue and the rapid growth. It's never easy, but we have to be as loyal to our friends as they are to us, and sometimes that means doing the right thing even though it's hard. I still can hardly believe he's gone. I hope that your best memories remain and all others fade quickly.


  28. this poem pretty much sums up how I felt when I had to put my 14yr old dalmation to sleep due to illness.

  29. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)February 29, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    So sorry to hear about Major. Only another person that has lost a pet can understand how all of you are feeling. You made the right decision not letting him suffer... hard to do, but kind and responsible.

  30. So sorry for your loss, we have enjoyed your stories of Major very much.

  31. I am very sorry for the loss of your sweet Major. I hope in time the good memories will soothe the pain of his passing.

  32. Very, very sorry!

    Good Dog, Major... Good Boy. Rest in peace.

  33. I'm so , so sorry and offering prayers for your comfort. He had a wonderful life.