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RIP Sweet Princess
Tears today, some of sadness but mostly of gladness and gratitude to you for the wonderful chapter in our life that was Princess.
Her Royal Highness Princess Boodle passed away peacefully this morning with her head in my lap, munching on a hamburger and hearing her human parents tell her what a wonderful, wonderful girl she was. We are grateful to our vet for helping make her transition gentle and easy. Over the years they cared for her Princess had learned to love visiting those folks so there was no fear or trauma for her, just delicious burger (her favorite) and gentle hands and loving faces as she went to sleep.
At an estimated 11-12 years old she was ancient, and in this last week despite pain meds, her age and infirmities caught up with her all at once and hit hard. She's been frail and wobbly for many months, and often couldn't control her bowels (she would be mortified but we would discretely clean up and assure her nobody was upset). When she no longer finished her food and could no longer stand or walk more than a few seconds without falling heavily to the floor, Chris and I knew it was time. Last night as I was kissing her good-night I noted more HSA tumors on her abdomen that weren't there last week. Yes, it was time.
Princess loved to go for walks and to ride in the car. This morning when she saw the leash in my hand she scrambled painfully to her feet, teetering beside the door with tail wagging and a big, happy grin on her face. We made our way slowly, slowly down the ramp that Chris had built for our geriatric dog. She had to rest before she could make it the balance of the way to the van. Chris drove and we took the long scenic route allowing her to enjoy the cool morning breeze, her nostrils working overtime at the scents of horse barns and plowed fields and later, when we reached town, fresh fried doughnuts (which she didn't get) and hamburgers (which she did). I set a burger aside for when we arrived at the vet knowing that she loooooved the staff there but had a serious distaste for their "healthy" dog treats which she could spit all the way across an exam room. Princess gave Stephanie and Joanie a big, happy grin even as she fell to the floor, unable to stand up to be weighed. Everyone lavished her with praise and hugs and kisses, and when she was able to get up again we made our way to the Big Dog Room for our final good-byes. Dr. Stocks was one of her favorite people, she trusted his calm voice and gentle hands, and was literally swallowing her last bite of burger when her eyes closed with one last sigh.
My heart hurts, and I miss her so much, but a capital P Princess like her deserves a life and a passing with joy and grace and dignity.
Thank you for sharing this marvelous creature with us. I know you would have asked me to, so I took the liberty of kissing her nose for you, too.
It was really great to talk with you tonight, I'm so glad you called. How interesting that someone would recognize Princess on the web site and ask about her. You can assure them that she is well, and happy, and living the life of Reilly here in California. We also call her Boodle – I can’t tell you where that came from, it just popped out one day and now she responds equally well to either name. She looooooves to have her butt scratched and will shamelessly back up to anyone she sees with a free hand. She’s a sun worshiper who spends hours sprawled on the lawn or the Kuranda soaking up the rays, often sprawled on her back with her speckled belly skyward.
She's quite the chew monster, but unlike the other Danes does no harm to the furniture, just the Dane toys. She's a happy, affectionate girl and loves to cuddle on a couch or with Chris in his recliner but is also in her element when she's gnawing bite-sized chunks off toys (yes, even KONGS) and spitting them out where I have to pick them up before vacuuming. I swear she knows what she's doing and grins at me. It’s a hoot to watch her wake up from a snooze on the couch and launch herself toward the toy box, a Woman on a Mission. She pulls toys out until she finds just the right one, than plops down onto a dog bed to chew it to bits (the toy, not the bed).
I took Princess to the vet at the end of October for her well-baby checkup. She passed the usual checkpoints with flying colors including a really thorough exam of her teeth and gums since we think she’s somewhere around the 4 year range (could your correspondent shed any light on how old she really is?). Her general health is great; cardiovascular functions are good, her blood work is all normal and she weighed in at 128 which is where she should be for her 33 inch frame. Her teeth and gums look really, really good! I’ll bet it's all those toys she eats. The only concern I have is her joints – we both know she’s not very well bred, and she occasionally has to make an extra HEAVE to get up. We’ll keep an eye on her for hip/joint issues as she gets older and keep her weight real close. She’s built a little odd – very broad – but the vet agrees she’s not fat; she’s just, um, wide.
One thing I forgot to tell you when we were talking: For the longest time I worried about her social skills with humans because she greets us (and all guests) with a deep, throaty, guttural sound that is not really a growl but it’s a very scary sound. After a year of this troubling sound I suddenly realized what it was, and I figured it out because she was doing it while standing next to Claire who was woo-wooing at me. I started monitoring when she does it and, of course, this is her version of woo-woos! Doh!
From Princess: “Dear Marc - Thanks for finding my Forever Home for me. I am really, really happy here. Mom says I had a few “issues” when I first came but that we worked things out together and I am a really nice dog. I also have a job: I am the Fun Police at our house. Any time any of the other dogs, well, except Claire of course, has a toy, I have to go and take it away from them. So I may have “issues” but I also have ALL THE TOYS! :>) Anyhow, I just want you to know that I am a good girl nearly all the time and that I am really happy to be here. My Mom and Dad love me very much and when my brother or my nephew comes to visit, he lets me sleep with him! ”.
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader.
He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.
You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion" - Unknown
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