With considerable regret and grief I have put my sweet old boys Bogie and Birdie to rest. They died in my arms at the vets. I will almost surely go to my grave with a deep sense of guilt at my betrayal. On the morning they both gave me sweet kisses and wags of their tails.

When I was 15 my dog Smoky lay in blind agony all night long awaiting the vet’s office to open in the morning before we could take him. And I’ve been of a mind ever since that I would not allow a dog of mine to suffer again. Bogie and Birdie both have been in terrible decline this year being blind and deaf and losing appetite and having painful inconsolable events.

What a selfish thing for me to put them out of my misery.

Okay, there will be grief and regret on either choice. You know the choices right? You either wait until the dog’s suffering is unbearable; or you make the hard decision early, knowing you’ll be haunted by the notion that you were premature and they might have sprung back to vigorous life at any second and gone running down the hill demanding to chase tennis balls and play agility.

I had thought to write them an homage here of all their wonderful rompings and accomplishments in the world. But I found it to be a vain and egotistic exercise. Maybe I’ll do that later when I don’t feel such grief.

Only dog people read this web log of mine, clearly. And you’ll be tempted to write me something to console me. But I know a thing about all of you and me. We fill out lives with the care and love for these fragile temporary creatures. And every one of you will feel this grief and loss. Most of you have felt it before. There is no consolation. God bless you all.

I miss my sweet boys. And I love them.

On Making a Grave

I planned a spot with some care and prepared my boys a look-out from the top of a hill. I arranged flowers and a small oak tree for planting with a barrel of amended soil. They lay now facing north with Bogie in the lead and Birdie just behind, chasing Bogie’s tail, his very favorite sport. I left a tennis ball for Bogie and put an ADCh ribbon between the two of them.

When you dig a grave you move the earth twice. The first time it is a chore of grim determination giving you the opportunity to argue with yourself with each spade full. The second time you’ll feel the finality of it knowing you cannot ever take it back.


17 Responses to “Passing”

  1. bev Says:

    No words, just sharing and feeling the emptiness I know is consumming
    you right now.

    Hugs Bud

  2. Ronni Says:

    Please accept my condolences over the loss of these two family members. I’ve had to put down two non-agility dogs and suffered their loss, but I think the pain must be even worse with an agility partner. At the time I felt certain that I was performing a difficult, but merciful act. Fortunately, I still feel that way.

    I wish you the same peace of mind.

    And I hope that you’ll honor Bogie and Birdie with a write-up of their accomplishments and rompings when you feel up to it.

    May the weight of your grief be lightened each day.

  3. Cindy Wilmoth Says:

    We call that person who has lost his father, an orphan; and a widower that man who has lost his wife. But that man who has known the immense unhappiness of losing a friend, by what name do we call him? Here every language is silent and holds its peace in impotence. ~ Joseph Roux

    My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

  4. Michelle Says:

    God Bless you, Bud, for caring so much for them. And yes, I know the agony and inconsolable grief. And the regrets, and the finality, and the loneliness. But I would never have lived as well without mine as I am sure you would not have lived as well without Bogie and Birdie. You’ll forever miss them and forever love them. God Bless you Bud. You are a caring man, a loving man and a kind man. They loved you.

  5. Bernadette Says:

    I also had two put my two girls to sleep on the same day. They were both in a bad way which made things slightly easier but the doubts always were there. It was not until that morning when neither would leave their beds that I could do it.
    Having lost special dogs before I thought I had experienced the worst but losing two together made such an impact on my life. That hole is so much bigger.
    I have a photo of you and one of the boys from the very first assa nat’l agility show. It is nice to remember them so young and healthy.
    Peace to you

    • budhouston Says:

      That was Bogie’s debut in agility. He got a placement in the Novice class. There was a thunderstorm that first evening I remember. Bogie and I sat with the hotel door open watching the ran pour down and the fury of the lightening and thunder. Later in life he developed a sensitivity to storms. But in those first few years he was fairly fearless.

      Thanks Bernadette (and everyone else) for your kind notes.


  6. Karissa Says:

    So sad…. I’m very sorry for your loss. :o(

  7. Adrienne Says:

    Love you Bud.

  8. Sandy Says:

    So sorry for your loss. My 16 yo agility partner just crossed the bridge with my help and she is waiting for me.

  9. mark & ebby Says:

    Bud – sorry to hear about the loss of your longtime friends. I will always remember Birdie as my ‘loaner dog’, the dog you loaned me for the last 2 days of Camp Dogwood when Ebby’s pads were too blistered to run. They were great dogs.
    Mark & Ebby
    Kim & Toby

  10. Erica Says:

    Death is nothing at all
    I have only slipped away into the next room
    I am I and you are you
    Whatever we were to each other
    That we are still
    Call me by my old familiar name
    Speak to me in the easy way you always used
    Put no difference into your tone
    Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
    Laugh as we always laughed
    At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
    Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
    Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
    Let it be spoken without effort
    Without the ghost of a shadow in it
    Life means all that it ever meant
    It is the same as it ever was
    There is absolute unbroken continuity
    What is death but a negligible accident?
    Why should I be out of mind
    Because I am out of sight?
    I am waiting for you for an interval
    Somewhere very near
    Just around the corner
    All is well.
    Nothing is past; nothing is lost
    One brief moment and all will be as it was before?
    How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

    -Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral

  11. katie Says:

    I’m so very sorry. Bogie and Birdie both were fine fine dogs. It’s such a personal decision as to when to let a dog go, but I believe that they live very much in the moment, and agree with you that it is better to wonder if you helped a dog pass too soon than to let them suffer a moment too long.

  12. Linda Stutz Says:

    Dear Bud-

    I have so many memories of watching you demonstrate handling with Bogie and Birdie. You communicated such love, trust, skill, and joy with them, and it was obvious that they were delighted to partner with you. They lived happy, fulfilled lives working and playing and living with you and Marsha. Even though our Shelties live lives that are far too short from our human point of view, Bogie and Birdie had days, months and years of happiness that I hope you can look back on with love and joy.
    May the soft fur and lively greetings you receive from Kory and Tempest, and their eagerness to explore and enjoy your beautiful Country Dream help you live through these sorrowful days.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Linda Stutz
    PS Sherman still remembers his longing for a handler with your coordination and skills, rather than the bumbling one he had, though he still loves me……..

  13. Paula Price Says:

    An era has passed.

  14. Judy Casserberg Says:

    Bud, I am running a couple of days behind and just read this. I am so sorry. It seems so strange that I wouldn’t see them again. There is no way that anything that I say can change the way that you are feeling. They had so many friends and admirers, they will be truly missed.

  15. Amanda Says:

    I also just read this. It seems odd that we humans knowingly hitch our wagons to stars that flare brightly but fade too quickly, and yet we would choose to live no other way. Better a bright but ever-evolving sky than no stars at all.

  16. Deb Auer Says:

    “Dog’s lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”
    ~Carlotta Monterey O’Neil.

    You’re in our thoughts.

    Deb, Dave and Erin

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