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|
|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