Rest in Peace

My brother and his family had to say goodbye to their dear friend Homer yesterday. Homer’s birthday was yesterday, too. He was 14 years old. Homer was a German Shepherd Dog/Alaskan Husky mix, who really and truly thought he was a small dog. They rescued him from the Humane Society in early 1992, and the fact that he had been abused before they got him was obvious. He was terrified of doorways, and would NOT walk through them. So every time he went outside or back inside for the first year of living with them, he had to be carried.

But he was a very gentle dog, if not a little bouncy. He survived the babyhoods of three little girls, many, many camping trips, and most of all, he survived the roughness of my brother. Pete is a great guy, but he roughhouses with his dogs.

Homer knew he was very well loved. By all of us. If no one was paying attention to him, he’d make this plaintive little whining sound. And if you mimicked it, he’d whine himself into a whiny hysteria. I did this often. And then I’d go love on him and give him a Milkbone and all would be well in the World Of Homer.

As a GSD/Husky mix, he was a double-coated nightmare, and he shed unlike any dog I’ve ever seen. FAR worse than our collies put together. You could sit and pluck at Homer for hours and still not get all the loose little tufties of hair that would peek out from his coat.

14 years old is a long time for a dog that size, and my brother and his family knew that Homer’s days were running out. On Friday he had a stroke which rendered the right side of his body essentially paralyzed. Once again, Pete was having to carry the dog outside and back inside, only this time he had to help Homer stand up to go to the bathroom. If Homer tried to walk, he could only move in circles because only his left legs were functional.

So Saturday morning, Pete and Valerie and the family said their goodbyes to their beloved family pet, and went to the vet’s office to let Homer have peace. Pete left the office with only Homer’s collar, rather than upset his daughters with the sight of a non-moving dog. They will have a memorial service in the back yard tomorrow, and honor Homer and the joys that he brought to their family.

My heart breaks for them tonight.

5 thoughts on “Rest in Peace”

  1. Sorry to hear about Homer.

    I understand that dogs are people too! Maybe it’s too late, maybe not a good idea at all, but I had a beloved cat that I had cremated then put som of her ashes in a pot with a tree. Couldn’t do all of them, so part of Princess is in a box in my closet.

    My sympathies to the family.

  2. They apparently wanted $200 for that, on top of the euthanasia costs, so Pete opted not to get the ashes. Glad he got the collar, though.

  3. I had put down my poodle a year ago this October. She was almost 15 and had developed an inoperable tumor in her bladder that was causing her immense pain.

    I volunteered to take her to the vet, because my parents were inconsolable.

    It was really one of the most cathartic processes I’ve ever been a part of. I had picked Noelle out, I had trained her, and she had been my dog for almost 15 years. The fact that I held her and sang to her while she passed really brought me peace.

    She was never alone.

    Homer had that blessing, too. And it is that: a blessing.

    Dogs are not only people, too.. they’re family.

    My sympathies are with the family also.

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