Today was a day that every dog owner dreads. Saying goodbye to a fabulous friend, a loving partner, and a forever pal. It was the hardest thing I have ever faced. But I did it today. My beloved Newsey, a companion for over 12 years, was put to sleep by a local vet because Newsey’s kidneys were giving out. Talk about feeling helpless.
Newsey came in to my life because my foster daughter wanted a dog. We drove to a ranch north of Reno that was selling Border Collie hybrids which make excellent sheep dogs. Tammy wanted the one in the back, near the water bowl. Tammy held the puppy in her arms all the way back to Carson City.
Within in a couple of years Tammy got married, moved away, leaving me with the duty of being Newsey’s best friend. And what a friend he was in return. We left Nevada for the coast of Oregon where we played endless games of frisbee toss and tag with the ocean waves.
Eventually we moved to Bend where Newsey loved to frolic in the shallows of the Deschutes River, traverse trails in the Three Sisters Wilderness and cuddle in front of our fireplace.
Newsey began to have medical problems. They were dealt with by very compassionate vets, but the prognosis was not good. Newsey developed aggressive nasal cancer. Chemotherapy lasted for six months with no guarantee of a lasting benefit.
After chemo, we had a month or two of care-free companionship and dared to think that the worst was behind us. But as a side effect of the chemo, his kidneys were affected. His health soon went into steep decline.
Today, Tuesday, December 11th, Newsey looked at me as if to say, “Dad, it’s time.” I took him into the vet and the verdict was that his kidneys were failing and that there was probably no option other than to say goodbye – which we did.
Newsey was a treasure. A long-time buddy with an endless amount of love to give. My life is forever transformed because he devoted his life to being my partner. A miracle that I never expected, but which I’ll always treasure.
I’ll always love you Newsey. Always…
A sweet note from David Engel
Yorba Linda, CA
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge…
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here,
That pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine,
And our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor;
Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again;
Just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing;
They miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes
When one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.
Her bright eyes are intent; her eager body quivers.
Suddenly, she begins to run from the group,
Flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster.
You have been spotted,
And when you and your special friend finally meet,
You cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.
The happy kisses rain upon your face;
Your hands again caress the beloved head,
And you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet,
So long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.
Your testimony of your kindred canine, Newsy, is both heartbreaking but heart rendering. The love of a canine can be a mutual gift to both. Your sweet tale of Newsey’s, adoption as a gift to your daughter, just speaks volumes about you and your kindness. That Newsey gave back in so many ways that are now truly heartbreaking, is the story of this season – grace and gratitude!
May you find peace in the memories shared, understanding that that which hurts today may find that special place to remember a VERY special chapter and lesson for life.
Our oldest border collie maybe has another month before she tells me it is time. And when that time comes, my heart will shatter and the tears will not stop. It is the very worst part of their short lives. She has given me so many smiles, laughs, walks, and great times, that I guess my tears and heart break are worth it.
Dana and Lisa
You are supported by all of us who understand Newsie was not “just a dog – get another one”.
Some of you, particularly those who think they have recently lost a dog to “death”, don’t really understand this. I’ve had no desire to explain, but won’t be around forever and must.
Dogs never die. They don’t know how to. They get tired, and very old, and their bones hurt. Of course they don’t die. If they did they would not want to always go for a walk, even long after their old bones say:” No, no, not a good idea. Let’s not go for a walk.” Nope, dogs always want to go for a walk. They might get one step before their agingtendons collapse them into a heap on the floor, but that’s what dogs are. They walk.
It’s not that they dislike your company. On the contrary, a walk with you is all there is. Their boss, and the cacaphonic symphony of odor that the world is. Cat poop, another dog’s mark, a rotting chicken bone ( exultation), and you. That’s what makes their world perfect, and in a perfect world death has no place.
However, dogs get very very sleepy. That’s the thing, you see. They don’t teach you that at the fancy university where they explain about quarks, gluons, and Keynesian economics. They know so much they forget that dogs never die. It’s a shame, really. Dogs have so much to offer and people just talk a lot.
When you think your dog has died, it has just fallen asleep in your heart. And by the way, it is wagging it’s tail madly, you see, and that’s why your chest hurts so much and you cry all the time. Who would not cry with a happy dog wagging its tail in their chest. Ouch! Wap wap wap wap wap, that hurts. But they only wag when they wake up. That’s when they say: “Thanks Boss! Thanks for a warm place to slep and always next to your heart, the best place.”
When they first fall asleep, they wake up all the time, and that’s why, of course, you cry all the time. Wap, wap, wap. After a while they sleep more. (remember, a dog while is not a human while. You take your dog for walk, it’s a day full of adventure in an hour. Then you come home and it’s a week, well one of your days, but a week, really, before the dog gets another walk. No WONDER they love walks.)
Anyway, like I was saying, they fall asleep in your heart, and when they wake up, they wag their tail. After a few dog years, they sleep for longer naps, and you would too. They were a GOOD DOG all their life, and you both know it. It gets tiring being a good dog all the time, particularly when you get old and your bones hurt and you fall on your face and don’t want to go outside to pee when it is raining but do anyway, because you are a good dog. So understand, after they have been sleeping in your heart, they will sleep longer and longer.
But don’t get fooled. They are not “dead.” There’s no such thing, really. They are sleeping in your heart, and they will wake up, usually when you’re not expecting it. It’s just who they are.
I feel sorry for people who don’t have dogs sleeping in their heart. You’ve missed so much. Excuse me, I have to go cry now.
Hi Dave, I’m sorry to read about the passing of Newsey. Those who have lost a dear friend like Newsey know how hard it is and what an empty space a dear friend like Newsey leaves when they pass.
I’ve heard it said that humans live a long life because we have much to learn about life and love, but dogs already know all that stuff and they have a short time to teach us before they move on to their next assignment.
Somewhere there is a border collie playing in a river and waiting for his next assignment.
From one dog lover to another, i’m so sorry for your loss.
there are some of us who have been lucky enough to have a Heart Dog- sounds like Newsey was yours. I lost my first Heart Dog a little over 8 years ago- she is still deeply missed, and has a pillar of basalt marking her grave at my family’s property in the Gorge (where she roamed, most of her life). Newsey made me think of her, and send her that love that only those touched by these rare angels can understand… that silent whisper in the heart that says “You are missed daily. I love you. Thank you so, much for our time together.”
I work with dogs every day – literally, it’s my job. We’ve lost so many of our dear dear friends – and it always hurts.
Here’s where my thank you for sharing comes in:
When one of our clients looses one of our beloved doggy friends – whether expected or not – it’s a reminder to the rest of us to hug our kiddos a bit tighter; to not say ‘no’ when they ask to cuddle; to give in a little more often on some of the naughty snack foods… because when they’re gone, that’s all you want to be able to do… is share that love one more time… to hear the click of nails, or the clatter of tags down the hallway.
I’ve met a lot of dogs since my last Heart Dog passed. I now have 4 dogs that share my home. One of them, his name is Iggy – he’s another Heart Dog in my life. I honestly wasn’t sure if it was possible to love another dog as much as I loved my dear Dylan, and then, along came Iggy. I’m NOT suggesting that you “go get another dog.” Exactly the opposite. In fact I’m simply saying, that’s the beauty of our sweet companions. They just have such a way of weaseling into our souls and healing our deepest sorrows that we never thought could be healed.
Sorry for the ramble, but I truly am grateful for your willingness to share Newsey’s story with us- it’s making me hug Iggy extra tight tonight (the other 3 as well 😉
Thanks for sharing about your lovely dog, Newsey. I am grateful for your willingness to discuss this difficult decision.
Your Newsey sounds like a true friend and companion. I’m sad for you.
A few years ago our 18 year old kitty, Genie, let me know it was his time to go home. We gad him since he was but a few weeks old as a rescue kitty. He had failing kidneys and I was doing subcutaneous fluids with him. One day I told him that i loved him and I “heard ” him say, while he was looking me in the eye, “do you love me enough to let me go?”.
It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made…and yet what else could I, as a responsible pet lover do for my wonderful companion? It was reallllly hard.
Dave, it is the brave and courageous, as well as the kind thing to have done.
I feel your loss and pain. Your wonderful Newsey will always be with you in spirit.
I, too, wrote about the loss of our Kitty boy in the program for our pathways event. It got quite a response…people need to hear about these decisions to give others the strength to let their animal companions maintain their dignity and die peacefully.
Thank you again for your love in action for Newsey. I am sending you healing thoughts.
Love in abundance,
Feeling sad with you at having to say “goodbye” to Newsey. Sometimes being compassionate is heartbreaking. I loved your eulogy for Newsey, and how much you two gave unconditional love to each other.
Sad for your loss.
Dave – Just a word of sympathy in the loss of Newsey – and thank you for the lovely tribute you wrote. I’m sure all of us who have lost a beloved animal companion understand the sorrow. Best wishes, Maxine Demory
What a beautiful tribute you’ve given your forever friend. We can all truly feel your loss. No matter how long we have with our furry friends (who are truly family) it just never seems long enough. You gave Newsey a happy and joyful life and honored him to the very end with your love and kindness. May you always cherish all the wonderful memories you shared with your most treasured friend.
I was soooooo sorry to read about your dog. I went through two sibling Golden Retrievers (Sunny and Sammy) in the past few years. One made it 8 years and his sister made it 13 years. Putting them down was extremely hard and I still miss them. I have their photos on my desk and on my phone and a friend of mine did a portrait of Sunny the female and it hangs above my desk. Sharon has a little Pomeranian but it is just not the same and she is allergic so no new dogs in my immediate future.
Putting a dog down when they tell you it is time is the last act of love and kindness you can do for them.
Again… I am so sorry for your loss and I feel your pain.
Thanks Glen. I got very clear signals that he knew he was deteriorating and was turning to me for comfort as the shrinking vestiges of life were leaving him. I’ll spend the rest of my days remembering his spontaneous love and companionship. He was truly an ambassador from a life-source greater than our own. Dare to dream of a Rainbow Bridge where we will once be together again….