Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Spike: August 11, 2004 - January 8, 2013

I Loved You Best

So this is where we part, my friend
And you'll run on, around the bend
Gone from sight, but not from mind
New pleasures there you'll find.
I will go on. I'll find the strength.
Life measures quality, not its length.
One long embrace before you leave.
Share one last look, before I grieve.
There are others, that much is true.
But they be they, and they aren't you.
And I, fair, impartial, or so I thought,
Will remember well all you've taught.
Your place I'll hold, you will be missed.
The fur I stroked, the nose I kissed.
And as you journey to your final rest,
Take with you this . . . I loved you best.

We were told, when we called the vet to check on Joey, that she had three pups, all female. When you are told that by a vet, you don't really consider checking their work. We brought home our three pups and our momma dog and set about the task of raising puppies in a condo, without a yard.

We had three different colored boxer pups. Spike was a bright brindle, with the littlest ears. 

When the pups were about eight days old, J and I were handling them. Imagine our surprise, when lifting Spike back into the kennel, to discover he had an outy, not an inny. I knew, at that moment, he was meant to be mine.

He was so sweet from the very first moment. I named him Spike after the dinosaur in The Land Before Time. His personality was so laid back and mellow, no other name would have even come close. 

Red was his girl. I can't remember a time when he went to sleep where he wasn't curled up around her. He was never dominate, always a follower, always at the back of the pack. 

He never bit. Never. But he loved to mouth my fingers. J found it impossible to pet him, because he would lip at her hand. All you had to do is say ouch and he immediately stopped, looking upset that he might have hurt us.

We had him neutered early, at four and a half months, because we didn't want him mating with his sibs, since we were keeping all three. He never got real big, staying small and slender. He had the softest ears. 

Spike was such an impish, playful fellow. Socks, rope, sticks and the laser lights. He loved them all. He would leap five feet off the ground trying to snatch a stick or pole out of the air. He would run himself to the point of exhaustion chasing the laser light. In fact, there was one night, in the snow, where I ran him up and down the sidewalk, not realizing until too late he had shredded the toenails on his hind feet on the concrete under the snow.

Spike was my shadow. He slept by the side of my bed. He sat in the kitchen while I cooked. He loved coming in the bathroom while I showered. He was the first one to learn to heel, and I never had to have his leash on him, from as young as a year old. He was the first to be housebroke. He understood so much of what I said, and he was the one who taught me the language of dogs. Of lick, and sneeze, and shake.

He never slept alone, until Red died. He would curl up around her and lay with his head over her flank. The only positive thing tonight is knowing he will be with her again.

I can't even tell you how many times he crawled into the hammock with me, or laid on the ground right underneath, or curled up in my chair with his head on my chest, or snuggled up in bed with me. He was such a lover.

He loved to camp, not so he could tear around and chase things, but because he loved rocks.

He loved playing with rocks. Digging them up and carrying them around. Licking them. Covering himself with drooly mud and slobber.
 Always so willing to put up with whatever was asked of him.

Darth Dog. Armed with a death ray cannon.

So very tolerant and loving.
Only dog I've ever known who loved to hunt rocks. Wouldn't leave them alone.

Just as Red was T's, and Guinness is J's, Spike was my heart dog.

Such a pack puppy. Loved his sisters.

This was his "what are we going to do now, mom?" Or, sometimes his, "am I in trouble" look.

They started going grey so early.

When he was younger, he loved playing lick face. With me and with T. He was so strong and yet so gentle at the same time and he had the world's longest tongue. I can't count how many times he managed to flick his tongue around my arms and straight down my throat.

I never once, not for a moment, worried he would accidentally hurt T. Even when they both were pups.

I don't think he ever got over losing Red. He looked for her for months. When we lost Joey, three weeks ago, he suddenly took a turn for the worse. I think he missed his girls so much, he didn't want to stay.

The cancer inside him began to grow, and he showed signs of renal failure. I thought last Saturday it might be time, but I really didn't want to let him go. We decided to wait.

I spent Sunday holding him in my lap on my chair, listening to his breathing and knowing we weren't going to have too much longer to spend with him. T called me at work tonight to tell me he had had a seizure and collapsed. J and I raced home. I carried him into the vet's office and we held him while he went. It wouldn't have been too much longer, he was on his last breath, when the doctor released him.

I am going to miss him so much.


  1. He was gorgeous and the poem made me cry. I'm so sorry :(

  2. Me too. The poem was so perfect for him and I. I miss him so much.


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