guinevere, 1997-2012.

Our elderly dachshund Guinevere, the matriarch of the clan, has had health problems for the last few years due to the pancreatitis she gave herself by raiding too many garbage cans. In the last few months, her health took a nose dive, and her quality of life deteriorated. She slept most of the day, skipped many of her meals, couldn’t control her hind legs well, had trouble navigating even small stairs, and often seemed confused and dazed. We considered taking her to the vet for that last trip then, but she seemed to bounce back a little. The vet examined her, concluded that she had had some sort of neural event—stroke, maybe—and told us that we were basically down to palliative care for her.

Today was the day we had been dreading for a while. She got up, refused her food, went back to her bed and spent the morning alternating between crying in obvious pain and walking around the house on failing hind legs. It was a heartbreaking sight, and we decided that she had no quality of life left. So I let her take one last nap with me on the bed upstairs while I said good-bye. Then Robin came home from work to put her into the car and take her for that last drive to the vet, to render her dog of almost fifteen years that last service. Guinevere is no longer in pain.

This dog was the most magnificent example of her breed I have ever met. Super-smart, stubborn, combative, yet loving and loyal. She gave birth to seventeen puppies and lived to her last day with three of them, plus one granddog, as the boss of a happy little pack. She raided many trashcans, fought many battles—against other dogs, poultry, small furry critters, and once even a fully-grown raccoon—and never backed down from a fight.

I always said she was too tough and mean to die, but of course I was wrong. The fight against her ailing older body was the one battle she couldn’t win in the end. We will miss her dearly, none more than Robin, who took her home as a little puppy in 1997, and who has been her companion for almost fifteen years. Guinevere vetted me for the position of mate for her human when I met Robin, and she has been a part of my life for ten years, but she was my wife’s dog first and always.

Farewell, Miss Guin, Battle-Bitch, destroyer of trash receptacles, eater of lobster shells, implacable foe of furry wildlife. You’ve had a good and full life, and the house won’t quite be the same without you to guard it.

37 thoughts on “guinevere, 1997-2012.

  1. Sorry to hear the news = ( Always hard to say goodbye to the furry members of the family even though you know you will have to some day. . .

  2. My condolences to you and your family. Been through this twice, and it was heart-wrenching both times. Shortly after the second (a Bichon we had named Max) had been helped to pass, our then six-year-old daughter was in the back yard with my wife on a cloudy, dreary day. A sunbeam peeked through, shining onto the lawn near to the two of them, and my daughter told my wife, “That’s Max, telling us he’s okay.” Still can’t tell that story (16 years later) without tearing up.

  3. There is always hope….

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

    Author unknown…

  4. Kipling said it quite well:

    The Power of the Dog
    Rudyard Kipling

    There is sorrow enough in the natural way
    From men and women to fill our day;
    And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
    Why do we always arrange for more?
    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

    Buy a pup and your money will buy
    Love unflinching that cannot lie–
    Perfect passsion and worship fed
    By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
    Nevertheless it is hardly fair
    To risk your heart to a dog to tear.

    When the fourteen years which Nature permits
    Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
    And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
    To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
    Then you will find–it’s your own affair–
    But … you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

    When the body that lived at your single will,
    With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
    When the spirit that answered your every mood
    Is gone–wherever it goes–for good,
    You will discover how much you care,
    And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

    We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
    When it comes to burying Christian clay.
    Our loves are not given, but only lent,
    At compound interest of cent per cent.
    Though it is not always the case, I believe,
    That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
    For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
    A short-term loan is as bad as a long–
    So why in–Heaven (before we are there)
    Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

    My condolences to you and yours – if you have a heart, losing a dear pet is going to hurt.

  5. I’m so sorry Marko. My dog Ozzy’s up there too, I’ll bet he and Guinivere are chasing around having a good time.

    Gerry N.

  6. I’m so sorry for your loss. I had 2 beautiful hounds that were 12 when they died, it’s taken me 4 years to be able to have another dog. They take a piece of your heart with them when they go, but it’s still worth the pain to have them in your life.

  7. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. She was a gorgeous doxie! I know it’s hard, and it’s hard with each one we lose. It’s especially hard with the ‘favorite children’. I lost my favorite dog eight years ago this month, and I still get teary thinking about it. But time heals, and her babies and grand-dog are there to comfort you, along with the precious memories you have. It is little condolence, I know. But know that every dog lover on the Typosphere mourns with you tonight.

    May peace and comfort be with your family.


  8. Deepest condolences. I sometimes complain about this fuzzy little blanket stealer currently resting under the covers beside me, but I know I’ll miss him when he’s gone.

  9. Darn. I’m sorry to read the news and glad that she had such a good life. My condolences to all of y’all up there.

  10. My last post was a reply to the Rainbow Bridge post. I thought it would show up there.

  11. Marco, my condolences. We went through this last year with our 16 year old Jenny, and my brother just went through this a few days ago with his 15 year old Eaton Weeds. I just hate that they get their tender hooks into our hearts so much, but the dogless life is even worse. We lasted 2 weeks after Jenny passed before getting Trapper, our boxador, from a dog rescue organization. Life with Trapper is infinitely better than life without Jenny.

  12. Very sorry for your loss. I’ve been there on multiple occasions, most recently with a little feline companion of 16 years. It’s never easy, but you made the caring and compassionate choice.

  13. Sorry to hear about her passing,Robin and Marko. Still ..the love was real and mutual. Went though the same with my Airedale. All the best.


  14. OMG So sorry for your loss. Totally stumbled on your website by mistake, and now am literally a blubbing mess bawling into tissues.With animals, I just fall apart. They’re so pure in their love and so innocent. I hate that. I wish they could stay forever.

  15. Sounds like you gave her a great life. She was as lucky to have you as you her.
    At the last there is that one last favor we must eventually do for our pets. However knowing it is necessary doesn’t make it easy nor does the number of times you go through it.