Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tchazo and the 33%

About this time 12 years ago, this guy I was dating met me after work for happy hour.  He showed up with a big smile and said, “I bought a puppy today!”  On our very first date just about a month earlier, we had talked about our mutual desire to become dog owners.  It was one of the many things I liked about him. I suspect that conversation nudged us both forward in our plans, because this pronouncement of his came at about the same time I found Jack on Petfinder.  We were both 23 years old and just starting to realize the world of opportunities and choices that were before us. Fast forward to yesterday and you find my husband and I saying a tearful goodbye to that puppy. What a hard day it was, but what a wonderful job that puppy did of embracing what the world has to offer.

polaroid taken right before getting in the car to take him home, Minnesota, 2002
It seems that Tchazo was meant to be Paul’s dog since he was the only unclaimed puppy (the runt!) from the litter by the time Paul found the breeder. AND, when Paul showed up to meet the litter it was Tchazo who came right over to him and started playing tug of war with his scarf.  I am pretty sure that was the moment of no return for Paul. They were bonded instantly.  It took all of Paul’s willpower to leave him there for the few more weeks he needed before being weaned.  I very much remember the drive out to rural Minnesota when we went to get Tchazo and bring him home. Paul held him the whole way home and kept saying, “I have a puppy!  I can’t believe he is mine!”  There was no doubt in my mind that Tchazo lived his life knowing he belonged.  He was loved by pretty much everyone that has met him and, most of all, by Paul.  There was no holding back when it came to the love between those two.

photo by unknown photographer at family party, Minnesota, 2002

Dog park, Minnesota, 2003
Since Tchazo’s birth and the birth of my relationship with Paul happened at the same time, it means that for a third of my life I have called both of them my family.  Tchazo’s life has been woven with ours from the very start of “us.” We have grown so very close and shared so many experiences together over the past years. 

photo by Sally, Minnesota, 2003

Rock adventures, Massachusetts (or possibly New Hampshire), 2004

First time in the ocean, Massachusetts (or possibly New Hampshire), 2004

Our apartment in Somerville, Massachusetts, 2005

Acadia, Maine, 2008

Dog Park, Massachusetts, 2008

White Mountains, New Hampshire, 2008

At my dad's, Wisconsin, 2009

Respecting the garden "fence", Minnesota, 2010

Whitewater State Park, Minnesota, 2010

Great River Bluffs, Minnesota, 2011

Christmas, Minnesota, 2012

At my dad's, Wisconsin, 2013
We were lucky to have him for twelve years.  He staved off death numerous times, most recently with the poisonous spider bite and the crisis during our camping trip. There were a few more close calls before that, too.  Like the time when he was a young dog and decided to test his independence.  He did so by taking advantage of a leash free moment in order to run across a busy 4-lane road and then back across it again with Paul too far behind to catch him.  Or that time he was attacked by 2 dogs at a dog park and had to have a gaping throat wound stitched closed.  In the end, the thing he couldn't escape was old age. 

Sunday morning at home, March 16, 2014
His health these past 2 years has been impacted by a neurological illness that primarily presented itself in the form of ataxia.  He was a champ, figuring out new ways to control his body and tolerating the oral steroid that was needed to keep his symptoms minimized. We were really grateful that the medicine lessened his symptoms and that we got to share his life for a little bit longer. His body grew old in those 2 years but his spirit remained young.  Twelve years is a good, long run for a Weimaraner. 

sunbathing at home on his last morning, March 28, 2014
This week, he showed us signs that his system was shutting down.  We were able to spend the past 2 days steeping him in love and keeping him comfortable.  We had a small amount of hope that he would rebound, but in the end, his body was just too diminished.  He wasn't able to move on his own and it hurt him to be carried, so we were immensely grateful that we could call on MN Pets and have them perform euthanasia services at our home.  Dr. Helen was wonderful with Tchazo and the experience was calm, respectful and peaceful for all involved.  Don’t get me wrong, Paul and I were doing a lot of ugly crying, but Tchazo got the best of care and stayed calm throughout.

I am happy to say Tchazo’s life was a full one.  It was great to watch the example that he set in his approach to everything: staying positive (never being nasty or aggressive), keeping away from power struggles (he didn't engage in pack politics), soaking up the good stuff (the joys of affection,exercise, smells and sunbeams were always relished), giving it your all (with a little encouragement we could get him to do anything) and so much more.  Our loss is significant, but I am taking solace in knowing that we have no regrets about his life.  He did it up right.


Tchazo, April 19, 2002 to March 28, 2014

15 comments:

  1. I'm sorry you had to say goodbye. He seemed like a great friend.

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    1. He was a great friend! Thanks, Elise.

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  2. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers for you and Paul....they are so much more than pets, they are friends, confidantes, and family.

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    1. You are so right, Mini. Thanks for your kind words.

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  3. Paul and Trinity,
    Thank you for the wonderful tribute to Tchazo. My eyes are filled with tears. Thanks to you he had a great life.
    Becky D

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    1. Thanks, Becky. Hopefully this didn't make you cry at work :)

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  4. Paul and Trinity, So sorry for your loss, it's a hurt that goes so deep.
    My thoughts are with you. Love Casey

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    1. Thanks for your understanding, Casey. It is good to know we will have the opportunity for more pets in our lives, but it does hurt that we have to let them go. Give you pup a little love from us, please :)

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  5. Sending you both loads and loads of love.

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  6. I'm so sorry for your loss. Such a lovely tribute to his life.

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    1. Thanks, Caitlin. It really helps me to pull all of that together and share it here.

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  7. So sorry for your loss! - I just saw this beautiful post. So hard to lose a dear pet, and he clearly was very special.

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    1. Hi Gale. It is great to see your comments pop up here from time to time. Not sharing our house with Tchazo seems a little less weird each day. You are right, he was indeed a special companion. Hope you are well.

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  8. So sorry to hear about Tchazo. I didn't know that he was ill. My thoughts are with you and Paul at this difficult time. You wrote such a loving tribute to your dear companion. He was so loved. Hugs, Mary Lynn

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