I wasn’t going to do a post about today, and Patricia’s earlier post echoed my feelings pretty well. But I’m still trying to deal the emotional roller coaster of the day and hopefully getting words out will help…
First – to the woman in the waiting room of the vet’s office who saw Joe’s cowering and quivering and misunderstood where it was coming from – while I understand that when you looked down at him and said “don’t worry nobody is going to hurt you” that you meant it from a kind and caring place. Unfortunately given why we were there and what we were going through, your comment was actually emotionally devastating.
To Margaret and Becca at Menagerie Meadows – thank you. Thank you both for your kindness, compassion, and understanding. We greatly appreciate all that you did today. We’re truly grateful to have you two caring for the medical needs of our pets, and whether it’s in Strongsville or over in Valley City we’ll continue to bring our cats in to you.
Since we got home I’ve been remembering all the things about Joe I’ll miss and the great memories he’s given us… He truly was a dog that was perfect for us:
Joe was a terrible watch dog because he believed that anybody who came to the house for any reason was truly there just to see him, and gave them an enthusiastic welcome, until he got tired 5 minutes after they arrived and he climbed back in his bed to go back to sleep. New people are exciting – and exciting is also tiring.
As much as he liked visitors – he loved his people even more. One of my favorite things was pulling into the driveway and seeing him standing in the bay window watching for us to return. He would greet us at the door so excited not only was his tail wagging but the entire back half of his body was wagging. In the last 4 years he started greeting us with one of his toys as well – not so much to share with us – as he’d follow us around carrying his toy almost as if he was telling it “see I told you they would come back!”
We couldn’t bring mylar balloons into the house – because Joe thought that they were the living embodiment of everything evil, nothing terrified him more than mylar balloons. Consequently, mylar balloons were also one of the few things that Joe would ever bark at. It was almost a year after we got him that we heard him bark for the first time.
As rarely as Joe barked, he was still an incredibly expressive dog with a full range of sighs, grunts, and groans as he settled into a nap location – or was disturbed from wherever it was that he had decided to collapse.
Joe was also pretty much oblivious to much of the world around him. On the plus side this meant that for many years we could let him out in our unfenced yard without any sort of tether and he wouldn’t wander off. This also meant that he would stumble past countless birds, rabbits, and squirrels, who would run off in terror all while Joe had no clue that they were there.
On the other hand as a puppy he was determined to catch the dangerous leaves and moths on the other side of the sliding glass door from him…
One of our favorite games when we first got Joe was to play fetch with him by taking him up the stairs in our townhouse and tossing a ball down the steps. Joe would charge down the steps to retrieve the ball and come running back up… After two weeks he got wise to this game, and when he got to the bottom of the stairs would get the ball and walk off instead of coming back upstairs. We changed the game, tossing the ball up the stairs instead, after another two weeks he got wise to this game (probably due to bashing his snout into the wall too many times) and would get the ball and lie down at the upstairs landing, refusing to come down.
It took Joe 3 years to learn how to catch a ball – and that was only after a good friend who loved Joe about as much as we do decided that he was determined to teach this to Joe.
One thing he never figured out was to lift his leg to pee.
Cover him with a blanket and he’d get lost…
He never licked – EVER. What passed for a kiss from him was when he would occasionally stick his nose in your face.
Cocker’s aren’t known for being that great with kids, but when The Boy was born Joe earned the nickname “Nursery Dog.” When The Boy would cry Joe would run over to the crib (or the baby monitor) to see what was going on. Every time we walked in with the infant carrier, Joe had to stick his nose in and sniff The Boy, almost as if he was confirming that we brought him back.
However a few months after The Boy was born Joe stopped trusting him, and it wasn’t until The Boy was almost 5 before Joe would willingly let him come up to him. As an infant The Boy would grab Joe’s fur whenever he was in range and yank HARD, and getting tugged on was one of Joe’s least favorite things. No matter how hard The Boy pulled, no matter how much Joe hated it, he never got mad at The Boy. He never, growled, snapped or even barred his teeth – he just walked (ok sometimes he ran) away.
In all the years that we had Joe we only heard him growl 3 times. The first was when he was a puppy and our at the time youngest cat, Chase, was a kitten. Chase decided to kneed on Joe’s belly in the middle of the night, by the third night Joe had had enough and growled at Chase. The only other two times we have heard Joe growl was when he was much older and one of the cats decided to try and push him away from his food…
Cocker’s are known for having issues with ear infections – and I don’t think there was a time when he didn’t have an infection and one of his ears was bothering him. Thankfully unlike most cocker’s his infection never got so bad that he lost his hearing.
He liked the cats though, it wasn’t that unusual for him to fall asleep with his nose up a cat’s butt, or for one of the cats to use him as a pillow.
And this is still my favorite picture of him…
Goodbye buddy… I hope that in your last dream your ears weren’t bothering you, you had all the Marrow Bones you could eat, and that you were dreaming of how happy you were with the family that loved you so much…