How hard it is to lose a pet
Tuesdays with Mitch: It’s no fun when our dogs get sick
I want to share a story about a golden retriever called Gunner, but first the Mitch update.
Thursday he threw up on the rug. No problem; as you know, the rug has seen worse. But Friday he threw up twice more and stopped eating. We thought he must have hoovered up something that didn’t agree with him. By Saturday, he was very quiet and sad and still not eating. Mostly he wanted to sleep. Remembering our experience with Taylor, a seemingly healthy 10-year-old, I worried about what could be happening to our very young puppy. DH and I started the debate: When do we take him to the vet?
And then, just as suddenly, our mischievous boy perked up. He again raced like a maniac in circles around the yard, went back to the old tug-of-war game with his leash (he’s on one end, I’m on the other), and happily cavorted in the park with other dogs in the neighourhood. Crisis over.
While all this was going on with Mitch, Cottage Life received an e-mail from Bob and Lisa Deadman who also had a golden retriever, their beloved Gunner, who suddenly stopped eating. I’m sad to say that the outcome was the same as with Taylor. However, the Deadmans now have a new puppy. Since so many of us have shared similar experiences, I thought I would post their letter here:
“In the October and Winter issues, there were a couple of letters that made me want to share my story of my faithful friends. My husband and I always wanted a cottage, but when we first got together we couldn’t afford one, so we bought a cabin cruiser instead. After two years, we got our first golden retriever, Gunner. Gunner was an awesome boating dog. He could swim like a fish, fetch sticks, dive for rocks, and jump off the dock. He even learned how to climb the swim ladder without much help.
Eventually, we sold the boat and bought our cottage, and he enjoyed the cottage as much as we did. He cottaged with us and still swam like a fish, fetched sticks, and jumped off the dock. His last weekend with us, he was sick and couldn’t keep anything down, but we thought he ate something that wasn’t agreeing with him (retrievers do not have any dietary discretion). We didn’t think much about it until the Monday, when we realized he was really sick. He spent three days at the vet hospital and came home with us on Wednesday. Although the vet did say there was something travelling through his system, they thought it would pass. Unfortunately, Gunner didn’t get better, and we had to make the decision. That was the toughest day we ever had to punch.
Fast forward to three years later. We have a new golden, Bronte. He is not much of a swimmer, doesn’t fetch sticks very well, and forget the dock. The only thing he likes to do on the dock is laze around and sit in the boat. He loves to run, chase squirrels, and lie on the deck chewing sticks.
We miss Gunner terribly to this day, but we love Bronte. He is a super-sweet dog who still keeps us active and young.
The moral of the story is that each pet is different, and although it is very sad and difficult to lose a companion, should you decide to get another pet it will never replace the old one, but it will make a new place in your heart.
—Bob and Lisa Deadman