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Saying Goodbye to Coltrane

Dan Gould

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My wife and I are getting ready to go to the Animal Hospital to say goodbye to Coltrane, who you've known before and whose photo you see with all of my posts.

Normally you might preface a story like this as "long story short" but this is literally a short story.  Less than 48 hours ago he was eating normally and jumping on the couch (despite what the vet had diagnosed as a 'soft tissue injury' to his right forearm). And then 8 hours later on Friday morning he was listless and had a major fever, and the vet said it could be tick-borne or cancer.  He was doing a little better late yesterday but the news this morning was very bad and we know we have to end his suffering.

It's going to kill me but what really worries me is how his sister Gracie will get along. Whenever he's had to go to the vet alone, Gracie paces around the house, from the front door to the living room, and when she isn't pacing, she howls her dismay. When Coltrane had his knee surgeries, Gracie did the same thing but I recall that she settled down and was OK after the first day. Now, it's almost like she had a sense of what was going on before we knew. Or she was just extra dismayed that he went away from her only three days later.  But she did not calm down much last night and Sue had to take her downstairs and slept on the couch. We're going to have to find her a companion pretty quickly.

Farewell to the sweetest, lovingest most amazing companion I've known in 45 years of being a dog lover. Cherish the time you have because it always ends too soon. 12 years was too soon for us.








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As a dog lover this is one of the most difficult experiences to go through. They are our innocent family members and the void they leave can be unbearable. If it is not too presumptuous to say, based on those pictures, I love Coltrane and I am so sorry you, your wife and Gracie have to go through this. It's heartbreaking.

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Hi Dan, I'm sorry for your loss. This week my best friend's pet died of cancer too. Not went as fast as with your Coltrane but still pretty fast like over a few weeks.  We first didn't know what was wrong exactly but in the end the vet had to put her to sleep because of the cancer which was earlier this week. We had a little ceremony for Bird two days ago. Although Bird wasn't mine I was as fond of her as if she were. I hope Gracie will be okay. I guess it is the thing twins have too, when one just can feel that something is wrong with the other or even can feel sick too. I hope that will not be the case. Wishing the best to you.
Kind regards, page

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So very sorry, Dan. Our dog passed away last year after a lengthy illness, and 12 years was far too soon for us as well. It always is. 

I've always loved Robinson Jeffers' poem in remembrance of four-pawed friends that have passed on. May it provide some solace in your time of grief.

"The Housedog's Grave"
By Robinson Jeffers

I've changed my ways a little, I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the nights through
I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read -- and I fear often grieving for me --
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying.
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope that you when you are lying

Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dears, that's too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.

And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided . . . .
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.



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I am so sorry for your loss.  I am a dog lover and understand how much they become part of the family and life.  Having recently had to go through the same experience with my Golden Retriever - Goldie - I can totally empathize with what you and your wife are feeling.  The sadness and fond memories will gradually turn into happy, fond memories and a knowledge that Coltrane helped to enrich your life and that you did the same for him.  While our dogs provide companionship and love, we do the same in return and unfortunately, part of that love is to know when their time has come... 


My condolences and I wish you and your wide all the best.

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I really feel for you and the rest of the family Dan. I'm going through a similar experience with my almost 17 year old Chihuahua. She's lost her vision, has severe arthritis, a heart murmur and the end is upon us. Can't remember what is was like without her even though the time went too quickly.

I admire your courage in which you've come to grips with ending the suffering.

Be strong Dan. Getting the companion should help.

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