Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Canine Companion

After a brief illness, Carmen -- our beloved golden retriever -- succumbed to a heart ailment on Sunday, February 12, just short of her eighth birthday in April.

On Groundhog Day, Carmen collapsed and we rushed her to the nearby animal hospital, where we learned she had an enlarged heart. The vet suggested we take her to the Oregon State University Veterinary School for a more definitive diagnosis, so the whole family jumped into the car and rushed to Corvallis, about an hour drive from Eugene.

After several hours, we learned that Carmen had an inoperable tumor on her heart and that she had a few days to a few weeks to live.

Bad news, to be sure, but I must say that the cardiologist and her staff were wonderful -- very professional and muy sympatico.

For the next week and a half, at least one family member was with Carmen at every moment. Other than having a little less energy than usual, she seemed quite normal. Her ailment did nothing to diminish her appetite, and she was attentive and alert.

We continued to do the things we always do, taking walks at the fairgrounds and enjoying each other's company. Alas, on Sunday, she laid down outside, clearly not feeling well. We rushed her to the emergency clinic, where she died a few hours later.

Someone had commented that we didn't seem to have much luck with dogs. On the contrary, I thought, I've had better luck with dogs than with some people I know. Indeed, the average dog is a nicer person than the average person, and canines are unconditionally loyal.

We had a great run together, and we miss Carmen terribly, but we know she is no longer in pain. She came into our lives when we really needed her love and affection. For that, we will be forever grateful. Good-bye, old friend.

As Darwin said: "it is scarcely possible to doubt that the love of man has become instinctive in the dog." Or this, from an unknown author: "I hope to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am."


Anonymous said...

I have been told I smell like a Dog, so that makes me nicer than a lot of people you know...Cool
Frank L

cargnire said...

I've been told much the same as Frank. In fact our Mom used to tell me that as well. Although not intended as a complement, I always took it as such and didn't wash. To be honest, I take great comfort in that knowledge, because, it seem me that there is nothing in this world or life that is as transcendent as the musk of a canine.

I have been involved in canine rescue most of my adult life. In the past, John and family have always given terrifically loving homes to some of my rescues, in particular Annie (The Airedale) and Faustine (the Bouvier des Flanders) for which I am eternally grateful.

It is particularly distressing to hear about Carmen. I know that every time I would receive a phone call from John, he was walking Carmen or vice-a-versa. Most times I wasn't certain John was talking to me and not Carmen. No matter, as I know John is much like the rest of the family; all dog lovers and we all carry on conversations with our animals.

Presently we have two beautiful Airedale Terriers, Gemma Cargni and Allister Mitchell. My wife , Elaine calls me "the Third Airedale" as I am always talking to them, if not rough housing with them. I am sure this must be annoying for Elaine, but hell, as long as no one gets hurt, we are just having fun.

I look forward to seeing Carmen and the rest of our dogs, as well as family in "doggie heaven", and not people heaven one day.


Baby said...

Mom gave me a plaque that says " The more people I meet, the more I like my dog" So true! May Carmen and our Mother rest in peace!!!