Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

fergusnc
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Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby fergusnc » Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:00 pm

Some of you may remember him from the UDBB days. You helped him win many contests, bringing prizes of dog food and gift cards to the rescue group for which I volunteer...the same group that backed my wild scheme to rescue a mangled, emaciated, probable "bait dog" off of death row in a neighboring state. Many of you spread the word of his story, supported his recovery and fundraising efforts for his three major surgeries, and some even bought his children's book when I finally published it. At least one of you told me that Gunny changed your mind about his breed.

He had a challenging summer. Lots of good days, and some bad days that increased in frequency. Despite many vet visits, we didn't get answers...we got theories, we had a few things ruled out, and we treated our best guesses. True to form, he powered through. He wagged and he smiled and he seemed happy. But DH and I both knew, despite the lack of proof, that there was something big going on and were waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This past week, after his most recent rough night and another trip to the ER, we sent him over The Bridge. We didn't do the tests the specialists suggested for naming the mass they found, or investigating the flight cough that started while we drove to the vet. DH and I "know" it was some form of bastard cancer. A few days earlier I asked Gunny to be sure to tell me when it was time, as he would literally fight for as long as he thought we wanted him to. During his rough night I have no doubt that he was telling me, despite his bravery and his wagging and his good mobility, that we needed to take care of business one way or the other.

After a couple of early morning hours in the ER, DH and I left Gunny as the staff waited for the specialist to look at him sometime later. A few hours later, the specialist called and told me what she found in her exam and ultrasound, as well as the progression of the next set of tests, the time it would take to get info back, and that she wanted to get started right away. Thankfully she was running into an appointment so I told her I'd call back. I absorbed the words she said, the choices of adjectives, and I knew that I had to see Gunny immediately, and couldn't give an answer until I did. I grabbed DH and headed over. We were 95% convinced we would put him down when we got there, but talked briefly of packing him up and heading to our beloved vet. I was afraid we'd end up with an adrenaline rush in Gunny and we'd have an even harder time following through. I was afraid it would be uncomfortable or confusing for him to get back in the car and go to another vet instead of going home. I consider it a God thing that the specialist was so busy when she called, and then again after we arrived at the hospital and sat in That Private Room that they use for people to say goodbye. I wasn't overwhelmed with the doctors we encountered after leaving the care of a wonderful ER doc, and things just felt "off"...but I ignored what I was feeling.

They brought us Gunny and told us to take our time. To hit the "buzzer" when we were ready to say goodbye. No one introduced themselves, and the intern was very confused by my very simple, non-medical question...even when I rephrased. I gave up and they stepped out. DH and I cried and we doubted. We questioned whether we stay or go. I still thought it would be harder on him to go to our vet. Gunny got restless. I thought he had to potty. I took him outside and he took me for the longest walk he has been on in months...we lapped the campus, he sniffed the smells, he visited with employees on their lunch. He wagged and smiled at dogs heading into appointments and at the owners waiting for their news. He made a lot of people smile and say "awwww". Back in the room, he settled for a few minutes, and then he'd ask to go out again. We took 3 walks in total. And the staff (thankfully!) still didn't answer out "buzzer".

DH brought it up again about going to our vet. We were both completely 50/50 at this point on what to do. DH suggested I call our vet and see if he even had an appt for us, or if it was off the table. There was no cell reception inside the hospital. I remember saying, "I just don't know what to do." Gunny stood up, got in my lap, put his nose right in my face and whined. Then whined louder. Then almost barked. He bounced up and down and backed up, like he does when we put his leash on for walks. He seemed desperate. It was like a jolt of lightening, a panic response in me....I got it. He didn't want to go out this way, in this place. I told DH, "Don't let them touch him!!!! I need to go outside to call." Gunny tried to bust through the door as I left. He screamed...literally screamed at the top of his lungs...as I stepped out. I went all the way down the long hall and out the door to the lawn and could hear him clear as day. He didn't stop screaming until I returned. DH said no staff came by to see what was going on.

Another "coincidence" was our always-slammed, one doctor only, vet practice having an hour open that they blocked off for us. Told us to take our time getting over, that the room was ours, and not to rush whatever it was we wanted to do on our way. I was out of that hospital with my dog so fast, it felt like a jail break. DH went to the front and paid our bill. They must have called to the back, as the intern came out in apology mode...for not introducing herself (I only knew she was a doc due to my questions of the desk staff as I came back from one of our walks), for taking so long, for not answering questions. We thanked her and simply said we needed this next step to happen with people that knew our dog. About an hour later I got a voicemail from the Specialist who mentioned she had "just gone to your room to speak with you and you were gone"...more apologies. Honestly, I have never been so glad for a long wait and some disorganization as it gave me extra time to listen and hear what I needed to hear from my dog.

DH and I took Gunny on his 3rd walk of the day and he marched on with enthusiasm, albeit a slow speed. We stopped at McDonald's and got him a plain cheeseburger. I had promised Oscar when we left with Gunny under cover of darkness, "I will bring him back"...so I did. We went home and sat in the sun in the yard with both boys. Gunny and Oscar shared doggie "ice cream". And then the four of us headed to our vet together.

Gunny never whined or barked or tried to leave the exam room. He visited with all the staff, he laid on the floor while he and I played "catch" with a tennis ball. He was calm and quiet. And he was ready to go. When they gave him the pain injection and then let us have private time with him, Oscar laid beside us and gave up any leaning towards restlessness or boredom. When we called the vet in to do the last two steps of saying goodbye, he commented on how completed "out" Gunny was from the pain medicine that had been injected. I asked why he though that was, and he said, "I think he was just so tired..." All of us in that room knew the fight that these bullies have in them, what they will endure without ever letting on.

Every time I do this, I am am open to the spiritual, lovely things that are there if you watch for them. I saw Gunny's understanding that he could tell us what he needed and wanted, and his belief that we would hear him. I saw the Magical Pack continue it's magic as its last two members said good-bye to each other. And I saw the understanding of our vet as he apologized to Gunny while he let him go...then turn to Oscar, look him in the eye, cradle his face and say "I am just so sorry for you too Oscar."

It took me some time to share with anyone, as I really needed the grief to be for our dog for a little while...I knew he sort of belonged to Everyone on some level, and for just a minute, I needed to be a little greedy in my loss. Having shared the news, I cannot tell you how many times I have been overwhelmed by the words of others...of really seeing how many he has reached, for different reasons and on different levels. Our vet told us, "He has a Legacy....that is a very rare and special thing for a dog." When the dust settles and the world starts spinning again, we will try to figure out ways to best honor and promote that Legacy.

The photos are many. I tried to pick a few that made me smile at him just being a goofy, happy, plain ol' wonderful dog...as well as those that touch on some of the incredible things he accomplished in his almost 9.5 years living with me.

Thanks for letting me share. And for all of the support of my dog over all these years.
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fergusnc
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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby fergusnc » Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:04 pm

a few more...
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fergusnc
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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby fergusnc » Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:08 pm

Last ones...
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exvet
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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby exvet » Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:13 pm

Godspeed Gunny, and hugs to you. He was a true ambassador for the breed and for what a true companion is. You are a true ambassador of what it's all about to have an open heart. Thank you for sharing.

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby Tsavo » Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:14 pm

Wow that is a huge loss. What a wonderful dog. I am so sorry.

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby Srhorselady » Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:48 pm

I'm so sorry. I read what you wrote and had to go hug my senior dog. They mean so much.

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby Chisamba » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:04 pm

I am sorry for your loss

demi
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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby demi » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:37 pm

I am so sorry Fergusnc. I couldn't read past the first two paragraphs...I hurt for you and Gunny but what a great life you gave him! I can't even look at the pictures now.

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby Rockabilly » Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:17 am

What a lovely loving legacy. You love so deeply I can feel it.

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby piedmontfields » Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:17 am

A very sad news update, indeed. I'm so sorry. Godspeed, Gunny!

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby WheresMyWhite » Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:05 am

{{fergusnc}}

These are some of the hardest decisions we, as the responsible ones, have to make for our beloved animals :(

RIP Gunny, sleep well and know you'll be meeting some amazing dogs that have crossed the bridge before you!

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby boots-aregard » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:18 am

Fergusnc, I'm sorry. Take all the time you need.

demi
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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby demi » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:32 am

"Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh."



Rest Gunny. Good boy.

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Flight
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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby Flight » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:06 am

So sorry for your loss. That was so sad to read but so special. Thankyou.

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby Josette » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:23 am

WheresMyWhite wrote:RIP Gunny, sleep well and know you'll be meeting some amazing dogs that have crossed the bridge before you!


So true. Fergusnc - I'm very sorry for your loss. Beautiful pics and memories of Gunny.

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Imperini
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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby Imperini » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:08 pm

I'm so sorry for your loss

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby khall » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:21 pm

Godspeed, Gunny. What a great life you gave to him fergusnc and you gave him the last gift by taking his pain and making it your own.

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby Woost2 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:34 am

Weeping. Jingles to you and everyone who loved Gunny.

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby DJR » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:08 pm

I'm so sorry to hear about Gunny. We just lost our Great Dane, Ben, and I know how heartbreaking it is. You gave him such a good life. May his spirit live on in your heart forever.
formerly known as "Deanna" on UDBB -- and prior to that, as "DJD".

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby Kyra's Mom » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:32 pm

My condolences. He was quite the ambassador.

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby Canyon » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:40 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. I will cherish the "Magical Pack" book even more.

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby Chancellor » Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:54 pm

Godspeed Gunny!

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby chantal » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:09 am

He was well loved. Well done Gunny! I am so sorry...

fergusnc
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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby fergusnc » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:50 pm

Thanks everyone. Time heals, but I know from experience the tears hang around for as long as they hang around, and pop up out of the blue sometimes. Its been hard running into the kids who loved him through his book...and the reliable question of "how's Gunny today?". For now I rely on avoidance, diversion, and am open to out-right lying. :-( It may mean a different approach with the kids who will learn about him for the first time this year....consulting some friends who are psychologists on that. He may just end up like Santa and the Tooth Fairy....Gunny the Immortal. :-)

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby Sue B » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:32 pm

Sorry about Gunny but glad that your vet was able to be there for him and you. I'm sure it made his passage so much the easier. maybe he will have new adventures over the Rainbow Bridge!

fergusnc
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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby fergusnc » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:39 pm

Sue B wrote:Sorry about Gunny but glad that your vet was able to be there for him and you. I'm sure it made his passage so much the easier. maybe he will have new adventures over the Rainbow Bridge!


Thanks Sue. It was absolutely the way it was "supposed" to be in Gunny's opinion. Some beautiful moments in the sadness with our pets, just have to be open to seeing them. We had to switch vets when we moved two years ago. I had used my vet for a good 15 years and trusted him implicitly, but it was just too far as the kids got older. New vet came with glowing rec's from a different vet friend, and he is all that she said he would be. And he is 10 minutes away instead of 50. Thankful.

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby M&M » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:10 pm

What a heart-achingly beautiful love story.
Image

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby Moonshine » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:55 pm

That fourth grade dedication: SOB!

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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby LeoApp » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:40 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. I know he was a very special boy and you adored each other to the moon and back.

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KathyK
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Re: Some Sad News. Godspeed Gunny.

Postby KathyK » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:07 pm

I'm not here on the board very often these days and just now saw this. I was such a fan. He was such a dog. Thank you for sharing him with us.


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