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An empty spot at the foot of our bed...

Many of you who kept up with my wife's blog before she took her hiatus have probably read in her musings about our family dog, Beast, a German Shepard mix. Back in May he was diagnosed with a partially paralyzed larynx, which was affecting his ability to breath. We were told that we could have a surgery done on him to open the larynx (costing $2000) that would open his airway, but we'd have to make sure that any food he ate would not be inhaled into his lungs (how we were supposed to do that I'll never know)

Without the surgery, we just had to keep him cool and calm, and he would be a bit raspy for the rest of his life. They gave him the same prospect of life expectancy whether he received the surgery or not; about a year.

It is with a heavy heart that I have to say that our beloved canine family member did not make it a year. We awoke this morning to him gasping for breath, and Ariel drove him to an animal hospital where she was told that there was nothing they could do for him. She held his head in her hands as they put our Beast to sleep. She had had Beast since he was a pup, and she's taking his passing about as well as one would expect.

I never really considered Beast "my' dog. He was already 6 or 7 years old when Ariel and I started dating. Our relationship was one of mutual contempt for a long while. He put up with me and I put up with him. He could be a real bastard sometimes, but his duties as the family's dog never waned when it came to my wife or my daughter, and over time, he and I became friends.

In Warrensburg, Missouri, there is a statue of a dog by the name of Old Drum. Old Drum was the center of a court case in Johnson County in September of 1870, where attorney George G. Vest made the famous 'Eulogy of the Dog' as his closing remarks.

I would like to share his statement with you now, in honor of Beast and all loyal dogs that have stood by our sides.


George G. Vest
Eulogy of the Dog
23 September 1870
Warrensburg, Missouri
"Gentlemen of the jury—

The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter whom he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has he may lose. It flies from him perhaps when he needs it most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is the dog.

Gentlemen of the jury, a man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground when the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he can be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince.

When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens. If fortune drives the master forth an outcast into the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws and his eyes sad but open, in alert watchfulness, faithful and true, even unto death."

Comments

Very sorry for you both. This is a beautiful tribute. Kilroy, it sounds like he was surrounded by love from the beginning to the last moment of his life.
 
Please pass on my condolences to Ariel, Kilroy. She must be heartbroken.
 
* Hugs* to you and Ariel... A canine companion is a wonderful thing, and to be allowed to share our lives with one, is an honor... they ask for so little, yet give all they have...
 
They are family and their loss is a special kind of pain, mourned no less than a loss of human family. I've been there too many times, myself. So very sorry.
 

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