German Shepherd/Shar-pei mix
|Thunder came to live with us in 1995. He was a
stray dog who had been tied to a pole by a rope at the Greyhound bus depot
downtown for at least thirteen hours, according to a Security Guard who
worked there. A teenage boy claimed the dog was his, as a depot staff
member was on the telephone with the Humane Society. The boy was
lying, afraid that the dog would be put to sleep.
The young man was not able to talk the city bus driver into allowing him on the bus with the dog, so he had to hire a taxi to get him home. His parents were none too thrilled that he had brought a dog home, and told him that he must find a good home for him.
That's where I entered the picture. I saw a flyer about the animal at my local park and recreation district facility. When I called, the boy offered to walk the dog over so that I could take a look at him.
I fell in love with Thunder at first sight. He was slightly malnourished and was not neutered. He also had unruly dew claws which were wrapping in spirals down each leg. I wanted to see how Thunder would get along with my golden retriever, Autumn, before making any commitment, so we arranged a meeting at the boy's home. Autumn and the stray got along beautifully.
I told the young man, whose name was Gabe, that I would take Thunder to my veterinarian to have him examined, neutered and have his dew claws removed. I also told him that once all of this was done, I would take him home to Autumn's turf and see how the two got along there. If the dogs did not get along well at my home, Gabe was going to get back one very well-taken-care-of stray.
Not to worry, the splendid relationship continued even after "Thunder" arrived home.
Sadly, we lost Autumn in January of the year 1997. Thunder remained a faithful companion until prostate cancer took him from us in 2001. The story is below.
Right - My friend, Jennifer, snuggling the T-Dog.
December 13, 2001 - It was a stormy, blustery day here. The cold rain seemed not even to fall at times, but instead shot horizontally across the landscape. It stung my face, as did the tears, while I quietly watched my husband dig where we had agreed Thunder would lay.
Thunder stood guard, not roaming about the yard as he used to do before his illness. He watched Michael dig. I watched the two of them together, knowing it was the last time I would experience being a voyeur of their special bond.
As darkness fell, the family climbed into my truck. I escorted Thunder to his place in the vehicle. He wagged his tail as he always did, excited to be going with us, his people...somewhere...anywhere...
We stayed with him until his final breath, all of us crying and wishing it weren't so. Michael and I clung together in the rain after he was placed in our vehicle. We cried again.
At home, the family gathered around Thunder for the last time. We all held hands and each who wished had a moment to speak. Then the children filed into the house, and Michael and I carried Thunder to his grave.
Darkness had descended completely. The rain seemed to fall even harder, wickedly icy and bitter. The weather seemed to harmonize with my emotions.
We wrapped Thunder in his favorite blanket, and lowered him into his resting place. He will hurt no more, but he shall remain with us always, in our hearts.
|I received an email from a person who had come across
Thunder's story on pet forum which I often visit. I was quite taken
by the wonderful letter of sympathy she sent. In addition to the
kind words she sent to me, she wrote this touching tribute:
I will miss the way you loved our family.
|Another friend sent this twist on a well known poem by
"Do not stand by my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die. I am chasing my tail up in the sky, I am always with you, by your side.
Do not stand by my grave and weep, I am not there, just merely asleep. Though I now have wings and a coat so white, I watch down over you through day and night.
Do not stand by my grave and mourn, Though my mortal life
ended, I have been reborn. I am the warmth after Winter's chill, I loved
you in life, I always will."
|Pouteena was a wonderful, furry little ball of playfulness. She had the friendliest disposition I have ever seen in a hamster. The children loved her, and she loved the children. Pouteena lived to be over three and a half years of age, which is unusually long-lived for a hamster.|
|Another beautiful poem about the loss of a pet can be found by clicking on the above image. It is called "The Rainbow Bridge"|