Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The finishing line

It was a very peaceful, sunny Sunday afternoon, and I remember wandering through the backyard to go into our 4 bay garage, to get to my car, as I needed some things from town.  Kurt was laying on the back lawn, and Georgie was near by.  Kurt didn't get up as was his usual gesture, in order to greet me,  and just laid there.  Noticing a difference in his behaviour I called out:

'What is it boy?  Are you OK?'

He still just laid there, but turned his head in my direction. to let me know that he was aware of me.  I found it odd that he didn't get up to greet me, so I went over to him, to see if he was OK. 

'What is it big fella, hey?  Are you not well?'

Kurt just laid there and looked at me, and then got up and licked my hand, while Georgie danced around his face.  (Try as much as she could to grow, Georgie never got her size much bigger than Kurt's head.  As a puppy, I had photos of her sitting in our bird bath, so small, and Kurt standing next to the bird bath, with his mouth and lower jaw about the size of her whole body!)  Yet they both loved each other so much!  Amazing difference in stature and nature, but tuned in all the same.

'Georgie, do you what is wrong with this big lug?  He doesn't seem as happy as usual does he?'

Georgie just looked at me, and went over to Kurt and jumped up a bit to lick his face.  Kurt stood there, trying to give me a grin, and accepting Georgie's licks, and then laid down again.  Not his usual behaviour, but it was a quiet and warm Sunday afternoon, so I dismissed his behaviour, and went on my errands into town.

After about 2 hours I arrived home only to find Kurt still laying in about the same place, this time with Georgie up next to him.  I dropped my packages around me, and felt for his nose.  My doggie thermometer.  It was warm and dry --not a good sign.  He was breathing a bit louder than his normal manner, and didn't have his ol' fighting spirit about him.  I went inside and asked the family members who were there if they had noticed anything strange about his behaviour.  As they had mostly been engrossed by TV all afternoon, there was little response. 

That night, I heated up some leftovers for Kurt as a treat, and while letting them cool a bit, I sat with him in the backyard.  He laid his head in my lap, and I noticed a lump on the top of his head. 

'Kurt, have you been butting trees again?' I asked hoping to get him to liven up.  But got no reaction.  I equated his behaviour to that of a migraine, something I used to know a lot about.  But he just laid there instead, occasionally lifting his eyes to look at me, but mainly he was just liking the general massage I was giving him.

I went into the kitchen and got his food, as well as Georgie's and sat with them as they ate.  Well, Georgie ate, and loved it!  Home cooked food!  But Kurt wasn't as enthused, and ate the few bites that I hand fed him.... In the end I decided to just let him be, and made sure that his water dish was close by. His nose was still warm and dry.  I put it all down to a bad day for him, everyone has one... But felt badly for him all the same.

I talked to the family members that were there that night, and said that we would have to get him to the vet in the morning if he wasn't any better, and then got on with family and night meals.  Being Sunday night, there was dinner to prepare, and arrangements for Monday's schedule of activities.  I hated Mondays. Always provided left curves, and things that just weren't needed at the best of times.  Tuesdays were always better....

Monday morning arrived too quickly, and as I got out of bed, I was surprised that we hadn't been woken up by the dogs barking in the early hours, as per normal.  This morning was very quiet.  I looked outside the window from the lower bathroom, and saw Kurt laying in about the same spot as he had the night before. 

Afraid, I called out to John, and asked him to help me with Kurt.

'We'll have to make a quick trip into town and the vet right away! I'll call my office, and you can start to get him into the car.  We'll deal with the girls and their schedules later.....Why hasn't he moved much.. He is really scaring me now!'

We both rushed into the backyard and stood next to Kurt.  He didn't stir.  His small lump on the top of his head, had grown, and it was now a noticeable size.  It looked strange on his large, square head, I remember thinking, as I reached down to nudge him in order to awaken him.. I had never had to wake Kurt before!  He was our guard!!

It was then that we realised.  Kurt was dead.  Just like that.  Gone. Dead. With a lump. It appeared later, that he may have had a brain aneurysm, or a heavy blow to his head, which didn't make sense to me. Kurt was dead.  Just like that.

I called my office and told them that once again, I would be late, and we made arrangements for John and I to meet in a few hours to work out what to do with Kurt's body.  There was a lot of shock happening to us, and we just couldn't understand it all.

Later that day, John carried Kurt to the front end loader, and drove his poor body to our "Pet Cemetery" - a shady spot on our property hidden within a grove of trees.   The hole had already been dug by John, in preparation, and we lovingly deposited Kurt's large body there.  Saying a blessing we covered the area with large rocks, and then with bougainvillea flowers.

I walked back up to the house, with little Georgie at my side, amazed that I was still dry eyed.  (I knew the tears would come later, when I fully understood what had really happened.)

Kurt was dead.  Our protector was gone. 

It was a very sad Monday!

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