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Big Boy: ??? - 2/20/09

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Sad news. Big Boy had to be put to sleep early this morning.

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As most of you know, he was on a steady decline for quite a while. He'd grown extremely weak and had little strength in his back legs. He'd fall down a lot, and had a tough time walking outside. I often got frustrated with him for being so slow and so pokey - I regret all of that now.

He had another large fatty tumor on his side that had grown to the size of a softball. His spine was bothering him to the point of causing numbness and discomfort. He threw-up a lot in the last few weeks, and had a tough time making it outside to go to the bathroom. It's such a shame to see animals decline like they do. They don't know any better, and we want to keep them forever... it's one of life's unfair events, I guess.

I'm at work, with tears running down my face as I write this. I'm so sad. I had wanted to put him to sleep for several months because I knew that he wasn't in a good state of being, but Amy felt he could stick around a bit longer. She was right - he lived for at least 6 months more than I thought he probably would've/should've. I just can't believe he's gone.

I'm even more upset that Amy had to take him to the vet by herself. I turned off the antenna on my phone last night because I hadn't been sleeping well the past few nights, and my phone makes noise every time I get an e-mail (usually spammers sending me junk at 3:30am in the morning). I woke up, turned on my phone, and got the news. Major, major bummer.

The picture above (in the park) is from sometime in 2004. You can see a little grey starting to peek out around his eyes, but look at how strong he looks. He was such a handsome dog - majestic and powerful on the outside, but sensitive and caring on the inside. I never met a dog that was so gentle with everyone and everything - Big Boy truly knew no enemies and liked everyone.

Unfortunately time snuck up on him, and this is how he looked just a few weeks ago:

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So grey, and so frail. He'd shiver and his teeth would chatter. He was down to 98-lbs this morning - that's really light for a dog of his size.

I'll never forget the first day that I saw him. I was driving home from a meeting in Dallas, TX - we had to meet with some people from Hewlett Packard - when Amy called to say that she had a visitor at the house. She told me about this big dog that had come into the Shelter, and how nice he was, and how scared he was, and how the Shelter didn't have room for him, so she was going to keep him at the house for a few days.

Within a few hours, I was back in northwest Arkansas, and as I pulled on to my street, I saw Amy with this massive black dog. His ears perked up and he looked at me with a great amount of interest. I got out of the car and approached him - he was huge. I knew we had to keep him. And he was so friendly.... for about a minute, and then he went about minding his own business.

That was Big Boy in a nutshell - a little aloof, always trying to act like he didn't really care to bother you, but always right by your side. Amy referred to him as a Velcro-dog - he was always attached to you. Even during the last few weeks of his life, he'd always follow you from room to room no matter how hard it was for him to get up and move.

I don't have any idea as to how old Big Boy actually was; we got him on October 3, 2001, and we figured he was around 3 or 4 years old at that time. So, he was most likely about 11 or 12 when he died today, and that's almost unheard of for a Great Dane.

Big - I'm going to miss you. I acted like I didn't care a whole lot at times, but you certainly were a special dog. Sorry to have been so hard on you toward the end - you did a great job of hanging in there for as long as possible. Take it easy, buddy and thanks for always being such a great friend and companion. You were (and are) one of the best.

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