Wednesday, September 6, 2006
This afternoon at 4:30, SNG and I will be taking The Goofch to the vet for one last time, and coming home without him. His health took a very bad turn over the weekend and he lost about 10 more pounds in just a few days. His doctor doesn't think it's humane to let him die of his disease, because he is in a lot of discomfort. His liver appears to have completely failed him, and he's just not a happy dog.
We adopted Goofch around October 1998, when he was nearly a year old. I saw him through the window of my hairdresser's salon, riding in the back of a pickup truck, looking skinny, but really cute. I said "Oh, what an adorable boxer!" Chloe (the hairdresser) told me that the lady who brought him, a client of the salon, had rescued him from the back lot of a puppy farm and was trying to find him a good home where he'd have a dog-buddy to play with, a yard to run in, and people to love all over him because he had been abused and would need extra care to socialize him properly. He was scared of men, mostly, but also tentative about new surroundings and loud noises. At that time, Modean was about a year and a half old and HIGH ENERGY, and needed a friend. We had a big yard. We love to love on dogs. I met the Dog Rescuer and arranged for Goofch and Modean to have a playdate, to see if they'd get along.
It was like peas and carrots, as they say. Or maybe more like beans and rice. The two of them exchanged butt-sniff-greetings and took off like brown blur across the central Texas farmland. Two days later I took Goofch home and he & Modean spent the next seven years together every single day and night.
The day I brought him home was the first time he met SNG. Goofch had jumped the fence and was confused and standing in the front yard when SNG drove up the driveway, and Goofch wouldn't let him out of the car (Bark! Bark! Bark!). I came out and Goofch ran and hid behind me while SNG got down low and introduced himself slowly. That night (and for a few nights), we put Goofch's kennel in our bedroom at night, and I slept in a sleeping bag up against it. I still remember hearing his hyperventilating every time he'd wake up and wonder where the heck he was, and what all these smells were. I'd reach in and scratch him and he'd go back to sleep.
Some funny Goofch stories, oddly all involving bodily functions:
The first (and last) time we used a kennel service with him was in New Orleans that Christmas. We drove to NOLA with both dogs (Modean was old hat at kenneling, and always made lots of friends) and left them with a kennel on Broad street near our hotel in the Quarter. Two days later, when we went to check on them, we learned that Goofch hadn't gone to the bathroom the whole time he was there. We took them for a walk and the first thing he did was POOOOOOOOOOOO all over the median outside. He never liked to poop around strangers.
Goofch could never turn down a free drink. One time, he drank the Illinois river. We were canoe-camping with my brother and sister-in-law just South of Tulsa, along with Modean and their crazy dog Eddie. Goofch drank and drank and drank every chance he got. He kept drinking and drinking as we were paddling and paddling, and then a terrible storm came our way. As we paddled like mad for safe shelter, I guess none of us realized that it had been about an hour since we last stopped to let the dogs ashore. Goofch whined and whined, and I told him to hush up. He whined some more, then stood up, looked at me with The Most Apologetic Look I've ever seen on a dog's face, and began to PEEEEEEEEEEEEEE the ENTIRE ILLINOIS RIVER onto the floor of the canoe as we dashed for shore and tossed him out, mid-stream (so to speak) and he peed for what seemed like about 5 more minutes.
When we moved from Austin to Raleigh, all the strange movers and moving equipment freaked him out a little and he, once again, didn't "go" for a few days. When we drove cross-country to Raleigh, the 2nd day of driving, in Memphis, Goofch started crying and whining and POOOOOOOOOOOOOed all over the cushion that he and Modean were sharing. In the truck, mind you. We pulled right over and tossed the cushion into a nearby dumpster, frightening the frightening-looking junkies on the corner with our terrible stench. That evening, we let him run free in a field, and he'd RUN and POO and RUN and POO and every time he'd POO he'd get this very JOYFUL look about him and run a little bit faster.
Even with all his anxieties, this dog had no agression in him at all. Over time, with a lot of coaxing, he made friends with everybody, and became the (slightly portly) loverboy we all knew. He transformed into a confident, happy, sweet dog over the next few years. He'd even go to the bathroom in strange circumstances and became a terrific traveler. A lot of it can be blamed on Modean, who was completely fearless and really loved EVERYONE. Goofch had no choice but to go with the flow, so he learned that most people were his friends, too.
That dog LOVED children. The number of times I've caught a child torturing him one way or another, by using him as a pillow (#1 Goofch trick, by the way), pulling on his ample lips and cheeks to make him "smile," trying to climb on him like a pony, painting his nails with smelly nail polish, wrestling with him, chewing on him, you name it. And he was in heaven the whole time! The dog just couldn't get enough attention from the little ones. They loved him and he loved them.
After Modean passed away, G was a wreck. He didn't sleep at night for several months. He finally recovered (forgot??), but he never felt the same way about the dog-room without his Modean.
Everybody loved him very much and he had a better life than he would've had at the Puppy Farm. This is a terribly difficult decision to make, and although we trust that the vet is right, SNG and I both feel ripped wide open.
SNG helped Goofch post a farewell letter on the Dog Blog- please check it out.
There will always be Goofch- and Modean-sized dog-cushions in my heart.