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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
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    9,560

    Cool Rusty, in Memorium ... he's gone

    Tonight, 3/9/2010, 1:30AM, was about as tragic a night as I ever want to imagine, as I had put down my newest & bestest friend. In the past three days, "Rusty" had begun to have seizures, again, only tonight ... they did not stop. He went into cascade seizure and even advanced medication could not subdue them entirely.

    I drove him to the animal hospital, 15 miles away, through pea-soup fog (the worst I've seen in years and, potentially, a lot more dangerous than I could have imagined), to have him looked at and attended to in the Veterinary Emergency Room. By the time I had gotten him there, he had gone through ten seizures, leaving him effectively blind and unable to move. We carried him in and they dosed him with Valium, in an effort to arrest these terrible episodes ... but, even this advanced treatment did little to stop his continued twitching.

    You need to know that "Rusty" had come a long way, since we rescued him last October. We put a lot of solid effort into him and he was truly becoming an "indoor" dog, which could be trusted. I can honestly say, the last part of his life was about as good as it gets. His affection for me was unparalleled and I knew I was pretty important to the little guy.

    He graduated obedience school with "top dog" honors and certificate of training. His potential future looked pretty bright ... but, it just was not to be. His life of five and a half relatively short years, the last five months with us, he's gone ... horribly lost in the end to something we just could not train or exercise out of him.

    Even with the most practical method of seizure control, the potential of him living anything close to a normal life looked pretty grim, considering the rather deadly and life diminishing medical treatment he might have had to endure, if they could have even stop the current seizures ... which they were really unable to. I cannot and will not see putting any animal through that kind of treatment, leaving them "half-alive" and slowly poisoned to death, as their liver fails. People might debate the issue, but I will not. My dog deserves a full life, not some "zombie-treatment" option, just so I can keep looking at him. I hope to have more respect and understanding of their feelings than that. No matter what ... it still is heart-breaking.

    Name:  _DSC1492-Rusty.jpg
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    "Goodbye, Rusty"
    Last edited by DonSchap; 03-10-2010 at 06:34 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

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  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
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    10,424
    Quote Originally Posted by DonSchap View Post
    I can honestly say, the last part of his life was about as good as it gets. His affection for me was unparalleled and I knew I was pretty important to the little guy.

    this says it all.
    sorry don. i know how important these guys are to us dog lovers.
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  3. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Wild, Wonderful, Wyoming
    Posts
    1,043
    That's terrible Don. I feel for you. Like Rooz said you gave him a wonderful time in his too short life.
    A good photograph is knowing where to stand.
    Ansel Adams

    Rule books are paper, they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal.
    Ernest K. Gann-Fate is the Hunter.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,562
    Sorry to here the bad news.

    Frank
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  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    333
    What a horrible situation. I am truly sorry for your loss.
    -Paul-
    Canon 7D - Canon 17-55 IS USM - Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS - Canon 50mm f/1.8 - Sigma 30mm f/1.4 - Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 - Canon 430EX II Speedlite


  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    602
    Despite what alot of non-dog lovers say, they truly become a valued member of the family. It is reallllyyyyy hard to see them go.

    Despite the tragedy, I am happy to know that you provided Rusty with some really good years. And, I agree with you whole heartedly, Don. It is the life in your years, not the years in your life, that matters.
    Darin Wessel
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  7. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
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    2,152
    Don, bad doesn't begin to describe the loss.
    I hear people say "it's only a dog"; they have no idea.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Guelph, Ontario
    Posts
    1,903
    Such a pity Don. And you only had him for a few months too!
    Are these seizures something that gets passes trough genetics that can be screened for or just random in some breeds?
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  9. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    Cool Reflections ...

    I took some time to reflect on what had happened in the past five months, and while it seems exceptionally short, it is all relative. There were early days when Rusty made the days & nights seem a lot longer. In that time, Rusty saw his life change in ways none of us can appreciate, but he sure seemed to. Even as this has been a harsh winter in Chicago, as well as other areas of the country, the dog did love a good day. When I would let him out in the yard, if he found traction, the little would bolt as fast he could from wherever he was to get back inside, obviously excited about whatever was coming next for him. His sheer speed was awesome in contrast to the gait of my prior dog. He was a little rocket and his excitement was contagious. You could actually see the raw power in this small animal as he flew in through the back door and immediately bounded across our long kitchen to his feeding area, often sliding halfway there when he put the “brakes” on.

    He didn't always do this, as I said ... only when the weather permitted, Almost every other time, he would walk by me, then turn back to look at me, as I closed and locked the door, almost as if to "thank" me for letting him return and to see what I had planned, next.

    We even had to teach him how to eat all over again, as he did not eat any of the food I had for him. I had to provide several different samples from the feed store until he finally found one that he preferred. He must have lost three pounds that week. It was worrisome. He also did not seem know how to negotiate a feeding bowl, often violently pounding at it with his nose, even though it was full of food, as if in search of some morsel or whatever, and with the bowl of water, next to it, slopping all over in a merciless sympathetic response.

    Perhaps the most endearing thing, was when I would sit in my recliner chair, put my feet up on the foot cushion, and this 60-lbs hunk of muscle would crawl into my lap and enjoy some affectionate head & neck scratch and nestling his head in the crook of my elbow. I was pretty-well pinned under him, at that point, but did he love a good scratch and the comfortable attention. I was often told he had a “man-crush” as everywhere I went, in the house, he faithfully followed and found some place to park as near as he could get.

    It is hard being the totality of someone’s affection and then … reaching this point of total loss. The house just sounds and feels empty …

    Despite the deep sorrow I am enduring, I thank the good Lord for allowing Rusty the brief time to find some happiness in his life, becoming a real “family” dog, and that he spent it with us. In his way, he made me realize how unbelievably responsible I had to be concerning my last dog’s decision. I was truly torn and tortured about with the idea of “what if …?” Not to say that this decision was any easier, but just a lot clearer.

    Both of my dogs passed away in my embrace ... but, not in my heart. Their respective memory lives on, as it should, with all the affection we shared.

    Sometimes you just have to allow yourself some latitude and say, “You did the best you could … and they loved all of it.”

    I suppose this IMAGE kind of sums it up ...

    Name:  Spirit-of-Rusty.jpg
Views: 31
Size:  134.5 KB

    Those brown eyes will be what I will remember most of Rusty, always watching me until the very end, when they closed ... forever.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 03-09-2010 at 09:57 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr® & Sdi

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    48
    sorry for your loss Don
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