How hard it is to lose a pet

By Penny Caldwell »Penny Caldwell

Tuesdays with Mitch: It’s no fun when our dogs get sick

January 17th, 2012


Gunner, an awesome boating dog


I want to share a story about a golden retriever called Gunner, but first the Mitch update.

Mitch is on vacation with Joey again, while DH works at the boat show. In fact, we all need a vacation after the scare he gave us last week.

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



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Mar. 1, 2012

2:59 pm

have been following this blog with interest, we had to put down our golden last spring...tough constuction guy sitting on the floor with her at the vets as she slipped away....and I went through half a box of klennex....but she was family! Fast forward to a golden doodle in the fall (now I can wear a dark suit), we bought a cottage in October and now we look forward to sharing a new cottage experience with a new dog.

Penny Caldwell

Summer Cottager

Feb. 16, 2012

2:12 pm

Hi Frank, Thanks for your encouraging words—for the Deadmans and all of us who have experienced the loss of a pet.


Feb. 8, 2012

2:28 am

to Bob & Lisa Deadman.....i too know the loss of a loving family pet,....i had a pure bred siberian husky,....she had to be put down ( lord i hate that phrase) due to cancer. she gave our family 12 years of joy and pride, as she was quite a beauty with her piercing blue eyes and a coat that had to be brushed weekly or it would be all over the furniture. that was 5 years ago, now we have a 6 month old husky-german shephard cross rescue puppy, that my wife enjoys taking for walks 2 - 3 times a day. and yes she stoops& scoops!! this one we call " shadow ", why you ask?? ...she literally follows my wife just like a .....shadow. the picture of " BRONTE " is amazing , i can see he will bring you much love and enjoyment. frank

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