Two years ago today, he died. We helped him in that process, and I still feel guilty about that. Don't get me wrong--on an intellectual level, I know his time had come. His body was failing him. We'd done everything we (and the vets) could. The night before he died, he couldn't even get up to go out, and that was with meds and his special harness to help him walk. He'd been having serious trouble, on and off, for months. But we'd reached the point where he really was done.
Logical thoughts are not what haunt me, however. Emotions do. Deep down, I feel like I failed him. I feel like, if I looked hard enough, I could have found some other way to help him. He would have given his life to protect me, and I had a hand in taking his life. It feels so wrong. I'm sorry, Dodger! I wish I knew what else to do!
I loved all of our dogs--and I love this crazy girl we have here today--but Dodger was very unusual. He was smart, but others are smart. He also had a personality that was very human. He showed his opinions, and he had a sharp wit. I know... wit in a dog? Oh, yes. You could see it in action if you lived with him. He was quite amazing.
By the way, he didn't always have that white face, but that's how some knew him and many of our friends remember him. Here's a shot from when he was about four-and-a-half years old:
From the look, he either was in no mood to have his photo taken or I'd done something wrong. :-) Most of the time, he was ready with a smile!
We say that Bernice was the one who defined all the things a dog is supposed to be, but Dodger combined dog traits with an amazingly human personality. He also had great judgment. We knew our friend Sid was someone we were likely to keep in our lives for the long run. A couple of months before Dodger died, we barely knew Sid from rugby, but he needed some portraits done, so I agreed to shoot them.
Now, one of Dodger's traits was that he wouldn't welcome just anyone into his home, even if we did. Rather, he'd observe them for a bit and then decide if they were worthy of his attention. He exercised his judgment freely, and his judgment about people tended to be sound. Well, when he met Sid, this is what happened virtually the instant Sid arrived...
For Dodgie, it was love at first sniff. That's all we needed to know. And sure enough, Sid became and remains a close friend.
As I got in bed last night, with Lexi between Marc and me, I remembered how Dodgie spent his last night in that same spot. We knew the end was coming, and we wanted him to be as comfortable as possible. Really, we always did. But once that thought entered my mind... well, I didn't sleep much last night. Today marks two years without our sweet, wonderful little boy. I'm starting to cry again as I type this. I do try to remember all the joy he brought, but I miss him so much! I'm sorry, my Dodgie! I wish you could still be here with us, happy and healthy! Rest in peace, my little boy!