Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Man's Best Friend

I never considered myself a "dog person". Sure I liked the animals but dog people dress up their animals for Halloween, talk about their animals like they're a member of the family, don't mind dog hair in their car and on their clothes, are concerned when they leave the animal for too long, think their dogs get angry at them, and share a bond with their pets that I could never understand. I thought all dogs belonged outside. That was until I met these guys-

I married into dogs. Brent had these dogs for 7 years before he met me, and these guys were inside pets. In first few months I was ready to send them off to puppy boarding school. They didn't like me either. They constantly tipped over the trash, were needy and whiny, dog hair was absolutely everywhere- and one even pooped specifically on my side of the bed to send a message.

It changed when Brent went out of town for the night and I felt protected by these two. I realized that not only were they great watch dogs, they were the funniest dogs ever. Once they ate an entire cube of butter, leaving the wrapper perfectly on the counter- spread out like a blank piece of paper- they naturally got into some trouble when it was discovered. The next time they found butter on the counter- they ate the whole thing, including the incriminating wrapper.

Animals have personality, and these two were two characters. They were obedient, loving and fun. With time I evolved into a dog person.

During his bachelor years these dogs were Brent's support group, they were his family. During our first years of marriage they have filled the void that children fill. They went to bed when we'd say 'go to bed'. We thought about them the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. They responded and reacted to us in a way I think most animals can if given the proper training. It's true, I even tried to dress the poor animals up for Halloween.

Yesterday was a great day for the dogs. They got to spend a lot time outside, played with the neighbor kids, went for a ride, and Brent and for some reason sat down and spent some time just with the dogs. Bartholomew would not leave Brent's side-playful and happy. He even got KFC gravy for desert.

Then the unfortunate happened, happy dog transformed to unrespondent. He went from running and jumping to unwanting to move. His pupils dilated, started taking short shallow breaths and the unthinkable, he didn't want to eat.

When you own a dog that thinks he's part goat, eating anything he can find, you get use to him being sick, but last night it was different. Brent's eyes filled with tears as he scooped up Bartholomew, put him in the car and drove him to the 24 hour animal hospital- but when we arrived it was too late. He had passed on the 215 freeway, in my husband's arms.

I think few women will understand the relationship between a man and his dog. It transformed this big tough guy into an 8 year old boy. The problem with most things you love is that they will at some point leave. This dog had nine lives. He should have been dead years ago- as a puppy he was rescued from a drug house with cigarette burns all over his body- when Brent purchased him the vet told him he wouldn't live. Since then he's eaten an obscene amount of chocolate (opened up a suitcase to get to it) plastic bags, and even a square foot of carpet that nearly did him in.

I'm grateful that we had Bartholomew. He changed how I, and my family look at animals. He wasn't the family dog, he was family.

Many might thing that writing a tribute to a dog is silly, but this is no tribute to a dog- it's a tribute to a friend. Bartholomew Cletus Booher, who's in puppy heaven where there's no shadows to scare him, and eating all the chocolate he wants.

Barthomew Cletus Booher- June 1999-May 2008


Miss Hass said...

I'm so sorry!

I have a dog who has been my sweet little friend for the last two years, and I would die if she did.

bechtold clan said...

Wow, Loved your post. It made me incredible sad, this was me with my dog. She was my child( before I had any) slept with us, went EVERYWHERE with us..then I got divorced and I left with nothing. I couldnt even take my Keeva. So she had to stay with the ex. I tried to take her back when I finally bought a house, but the new environment, and hubby( who by the way didnt understand either about inside dogs and my attachment)she became agressive. So I had to give her back to the ex and the only home she ever knew. Dang I miss my dog.

Della Hill said...

I am so sorry.
I am a dog person too.
I understand.
And I am so sorry.
A little boy who had to have his dog put down said that God sends us to earth to learn to love and serve others. Dogs learn how to do that a lot faster than humans, so they don't have to stay as long.
I am sure Bartholomew will be missed.

That One Guy said...

So sorry for that loss... only a dog person will know what it feels like. I have a black lab, and DO NOT look forward to this day. Hopefully it's a ways off still.

I'm sure he knew he was loved, and he certainly had a good life.

PS: My dog "counter surfs" for butter too. Makes her coat shiny though! :)

Jolly said...

Wow--what an amazing day for a dog to have as his last.

I had a black lab that we got when my parents got divorced--it was my sister's dog, but it wasn't working out for their family. Anyway, Daisy was my therapist during that time. She was such a great dog.

Similar story--abandoned, had bb bullets in her leg from being shot at, had a big cancerous lump, and lived for much longer than she should have.

One of my favorite parts of Bartholomew's story is the wonderful day he had as his last day. Brent got to say goodbye in the best way. And it is sad, but happy. Love to you and Brent.

crazy4danes said...

Wow...I am so sorry for your and Brent's loss...probably I feel more for Brent (no offense). I am a dog LOVER and know the pain of having your best friend...the one you raised from a puppy, who got you through your single days, was there when you were lonely, was there to make you smile...dies. They are family and it's amazing the unconditional love that they give and the joy they bring!

I wish you guys the best!

Tim&Kirst said...

From one dog person to the next. I'm so sorry to hear about Bartholomew.

heidiluxe said...

what a loving tribute. our dog is considered our first born. i knew i could be a mother because of meatball. we had trips to the er, mysterious illnesses, personality quirks, you name it. he got me through my husband's law school years.

Salt H2O said...

Miss Hass- Luckily your pup is two! You've got quite a few years left with her.

Bechtold- I think the only remedy is a new dog for you.

Della- That's very sweet, and so true about dogs. They love everyone.

One Guy- My suggestion is to find the 24 hour emergency pet hospital the closest to you now so that when the time comes that something bad happens you won't be googling and calling around. That took a good 10 minutes. Not that it would have saved Barthomew but in a different situation it could have.

Jolly- I remember you talking about Daisy. That was the one nice thing we kept saying over and over- at least he had a really good day, and Brent was home when it happened.

Crazy- You're right, it definitly hit Brent hard. It was sad for me, and I'll miss him, but for Brent it is different.

Kirst- Any time you need dog sitters we're willing to take them. Blue is going to be lonely for a while until we find him a new brother.

Hedi- I think dog's are great training to be a parent- except dogs are WAY more obedient, and you can leave them in a room and ignore them when you have to.

Robin said...

I am a dog person who doesn't have a dog. I probably would dress the dog up. I am sorry for your loss.

Hilary said...

I seriously have tears in my eyes. So sorry to you and your husband.

Sherpa said...

I am sorry. I grew up with dogs, so I completely empathasize with the two of you. Losing a dog is hard. I picked out the family dog when I was seven, and he died when I was 21. It was pretty tough when he died, and its like losing family. You still think about him and miss him.

jiners said...

What? You dressed up your dog?? Who are you?

Linda said...

I love dogs. mostly. (Our current dog I would love more if it had different owners.)
Daisy, the black lab we owned that Em speaks about above, was my companion not only after her dad left, but after Emily went off to school & I was alone.
It was hard to put her down, and I miss her.
Nice posting.

Heather said...

Kory & Brent-
I'm so sorry. I wasn't expecting to hear that AT ALL! I love your dogs and feel so bad for you guys & Blue. We should get Mocha & Blue together. I loved being able to watch them while you 2 went out of town last year. That Bartholomew had so much ENERGY! Loved to RUN on his walks - so funny when you'd grab the leash and he go CRAZY with TALKING! He will be missed by all.

Allie said...

It's nice having a dog around when you are home alone. Very comforting.

Sorry about Bartholomew.

Blythe said...

Wow Kory...I'm sitting in class right now crying about your post. I WISH that I didn't know how horrible it is when a dog dies, but I can honestly say that I have never felt more pain than when my family dogs have died. My family still hasn't recovered from the death of our dog Brit over a year ago, and I am already dreading the death of my 3-year-old baby, Kylie. I know what it's like to be so emotionally attached to a dog...and the way they truly are a part of your family...and I am SO sorry you have to go through that.

Cameron said...

What a nice sendoff. Great post.

butnotforme said...

Wow...so I come over to your site because you had left me a comment, and when I get over here I read this. So here I sit at work, at my desk, 6' 3" and 335 pounds, trying to blink away the tears while reading this! Sheesh. I will say that I'm truly sorry to hear this, and I absolutely love and applaud your send off to your friend. I just conceded and we got 2 Beagle puppies that are now 4 months old and we love them. I never wanted a dog because I get too attached to things and I knew it would be hard when they left me. Hopefully years down the road when their times comes I'll remember this post and be able to right my own little farewell. Thanks for your thoughts.

about jenji said...

It's not silly at all to pay tribute to Bartholomew...animal lovers totally get it. Our pets epitomize what it is to be an unconditional friend.

I especially liked the story about the "message" that the dogs sent you when you first integrated into their pack; the present on your side of the bed.

That's classic territorial behavior and so funny b/c there's something so Sopranos about it, so badda-bing, badda-boom, you know?

Years ago I had a dog that didn't like my new boyfriend, so she literally backed into a conversation that a group of us were having on my living room floor and ever so quietly took a most demure dump (if ever there was such a thing) about 1/4 inch away from his hand on the floor. She did this without any of us noticing that she had gotten in and gotten out to do so, in fact it wasn't until the onset of the most offensive wiff that we even noticed the little landmine.

It was a very covert, stealth-like maneuver and he got the message loud and clear.

We were all cracking up b/c she wasn't one to have an accident in the house, so we all knew it was on purpose, so we looked over at her snoozing in her bed and she peeked one eye open, as if to say, "I'm watchin you buddy boy, tread lightly b/c I have people. You've been warned!" They too went on to become great friends.

I'm so sorry for you and your husband's loss, while I hope sharing memorable stories about Bartholomew will help to ease your pain.

be well,

Melissa said...

I am truly sorry!

Steve said...

Aw, I'm sorry. This made me tear up some.

TUG said...

I am so sad for you. I remember when my dog died. It was four days after my wife left. I miss my dog so much.

Salt H2O said...

Thank you for your kind words. I really didn't mean to make any one cry!

We were going to wait to get a new puppy but our other dog, Blue started tearing into the house, litterally- there's a huge patch of drywall Brent needs to replace.

So we got a new puppy on Saturday- he's adorable, a German Shorthair and his name is Max.

All is happiness again in the Booher house.

Kristen said...

What a great friend to have had for so long. I am so sorry for your loss. Our sweet yellow lab, Zip, died two summers ago and I still miss her.

I appreciated your sweet story about Barhtolomew. And good luck with your new puppy and Blue's adjustment to the lossof his dear friend and the making of a new one.

Britt said...

You have to post a photo of Max.....I hope he does not follow in Bartholomew's foot steps of eating carpet, candy etc. Bartholomew was such a great pup. I admired Brent for how he took such great care of him and nursed him back to health when he got him. He was given a second chance by coming into Brents life. Glad you softened up to "having the beasts" around. I knew you would!

Burt Family said...

I stumbled upon your blog and was so sorry to read of the loss of your dog. But it's great you got a new one to keep the other company. Dogs have such a personality! We really miss having one around our house. It was hard to give them up when we moved out of the country to attend Vet school of all things :)

Sneakers said...

Goes to show that everyone loves dogs!!!

Read "Marley and Me"