Thursday, March 10

A Bittersweet Goodbye

Those of you who know my family know that we have a lot of animals. After years of dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rats, and fish, we are finally down to just dogs and cats.

Sadly, on Monday, we had to put down our dearest and oldest pet, StarR (Baby Doodledog) Radecki. The part in quotes was her true name to us. When Josh was little, he was "Doodlebug" so it was just natural that when we got his first dog, she was Doodledog. . . and she was. Here's the story.

Steven was working at Borland in Scotts Valley (in the redwoods), with a really nice guy named Steve (really). Steve adopted a dog, she was really sweet, about 40-50 lbs of pure love. Shortly after Steve adopted her, he found out she was pregnant! Yikes! (This would not happen now, I know, but this was 15 years ago!) Anyhow, he was a good guy, and in his not-big tract house in Scotts Valley, he had puppies. Well, she did. Like 13 of them! He was thrilled. No, he was overwhelmed. Well, we had a little boy who was just about 2 1/2, and stars in our eyes (no pun intended), so I said to Steven "Let's go look at the puppies." Now, all you ladies know that I meant "Let's go, Josh needs a puppy!" But Steven was gullible and thought I meant "Let's go look at the puppies." So we did. And they were darling. Especially the tomboy dainty  one who had her little itty  2 1/2 week old butt planted in the middle of the pie pan being used as a food dish. She had her back to everyone else and was just quietly contemplating life. We "met" her, and it was love at first sight. She loved us and we loved her. Josh thought she was amazing. By the time we left, we had decided she was ours, and Steve had marked her with a collar. On the way home, Josh announced that her name was StarR. We thought he meant Star, but he repeated "No! It's StarR because they call me JoshR at school, so I want her to know that her last name is R too!" Steven and I looked at each other and melted. So, StarR she was.

Fast forward 6 weeks. April 11. I can't believe that I still remember the date. Steven called to tell me he was picking her up. He had a box with a towel, and he was bringing home our babygirl. She might have weighed 12 lbs... maybe. Steven said that she was a trooper, she sat in the box and patiently watched the views out the car window while he drove the long 45 minute drive home. When he got her home, he put her down out front, where Josh and I were waiting and she ran to us. We all went in the house, but.... StarR could not get up the little step on the porch. LOL It was very VERY funny, and something we have laughed about for the last 15 years. :)

So, we have had 15 amazing years with the best. dog. ever. StarR would let you put bows on her, sweaters, played with the little dogs, expected to be rubbed dry with a towel when she came in from being rained on, climbed under our bed during thunderstorms and fireworks (she hated them), and climbed under Steven's desk too. She didn't weigh the 40 lbs the vet estimated. no, our girl weighed in around 90 lbs. She was a great dog. The best. The photo to the right was taken last summer. Although StarR was black lab and shepard, she didn't "love" the water. She tolerated it. However, last summer, during a particularly warm day, when Steven was away for the weekend, visiting his parents, I had put the sprinklers on. StarR was out laying in the sun on the concrete, but then, when I looked out again, she was standing in the middle of the lawn, happily playing in the sprinklers. Crazy dog. I snapped this photo and sent it to Steven.

Toward the end, StarR was completely deaf. The vet asked how we knew, and Steven just said one word "vacuum." This dog hated the vacuum. But for the last six months, you had to nudge her with it to vacuum. She just could not hear it anymore. Although I know that her eyesight was starting to go, she still had enough vision to know when we were in the room and thump that crazy tail on the floor.

So, that's my tail tale. I know there are tons more stories I could share, but I think you get the picture. The halls in my home are very quiet right now. Two little schnauzers who I love dearly, do not equal the shuffling clicking sound of an ancient black lab making her way to bed at night, and her doghouse our bathroom seems empty without her there in the middle of the night when I get up. (She slept in the bathroom- her choice.)

Hug your pets and enjoy their crazy antics. It all goes by way too quickly. The good news is, StarR is no longer in pain from arthritis and too many tumors and is running around happily surrounded by our friends, family and other pets who have passed on. For that, I'm grateful. I'm sure she and my dad are already inseparable. :)