Thursday, July 5, 2018

Spencer

A beautiful soul, touched my life, and has gone.
Spencer just appeared one day. My 17 year old son brought him home from a farm he'd been working on. I was told the 1.5 year old dog was going to be either destroyed,  or abandoned somewhere if he didn't take it. The pup was skinny and afraid of everything, so how could I say no...
When my son got his own apartment, the dog went with him, they were bonded so tight that unless the boy was at work or school, you never saw them apart.
But life changes, and my son first got his truck license, then his own rig. The money is in long haul, and Spencer was too afraid of the truck to allow himself to be lifted into it, so at 7 years of age he started staying with us, going home to the boy on weekends, until eventually he just stayed.  Spencer was our well loved granddog and by then our Jack was ancient, having a younger dog around perked him up enormously, so we were all more than happy with the arrangement.
Spencer, ever the pacifist, let the old guy be boss dog without a quibble. For almost 3 years they shared walks, camping trips and us.
The grandkids had started arriving, and Spencer was as loving and patient as any dog could be.


It was a common sight to see the big dog being walked by a tiny girl, he was ever mindful of his charges and careful not to pull.
That's not to say that he didn't have his moments, he was still fearful, storms and fireworks terrified him, until he went deaf. Rain or water from a hose, or in a bathtub were enough to make him run for cover, lawn mowers, vacuum cleaners, the list of scary things goes on. Water laying on the ground in a lake or ocean were irresistible though and  he couldn't resist a puddle!

He loved travelling, anywhere, anytime, just say car ride! and he was there. 
After Rolley the Jack passed he went into a deep depression, so 6 months later we adopted a new brother, Oakee. Oak and his antics gave Spence a new lease on life, just has Spence had Rolley. 
Spence taught Oak how to be a good dog, how to travel and enjoy life. 

The old guy  declined alarmingly, this past fall. After all 15.5 is really really old for a Lab. He couldn't manage the stairs anymore so we had been taking turns sleeping on the couch so he wouldn't be alone downstairs.
We were told if  we went South that winter, that he wouldn't make the three day trip there, that if he did, he certainly wouldn't make it home. We had actually made a plan in case of the worst. 
Once we started to pack though, the magic happened. He started dancing around like a two year old, he even tried to jump into the truck something he hadn't been able to do for a while (bad idea).
He travelled like the trooper he was.
We went to South Carolina and stayed just south of Myrtle Beach through some of the worst winter weather they have on record, not that he cared, he was just happy to be there.

By Mid January it started to clear up, and then great news! Spencer's favourite travel destination, and ours,  Hunting Island, was reopening ahead of schedule. We hadn't been able to go to for a couple of years because of Hurricanes Matthew and Rita. So we quickly made arrangements to extend our stay and spend a week there.
In years past Spencer had been nicknamed the Hunting Island welcoming committee. The snowbirds are a tight knit group, and he knew and loved them all. 
When we got there the devastation was awful, the landscape was completely changed, but Spencer knew where to go. He knew our favourite campsite, he knew where the paths were, and how to get to, and off of the beach. He recognized friends from years past, and even though he was blind, deaf and could only walk short distances he once again was the Hunting Island welcoming committee.
Our last walk on the beach before we came home, he simply stood with his toes in the ocean, and sniffed the ocean breeze for at least 30 minutes. I hope he was remembering all of the good times, swimming with dolphins, playing fetch in the waves, digging up crabs, and eating disgusting stuff washed up by the surf. 
In March I noticed a mass growing on his abdomen. He was getting weaker, but he still loved every day. He took 1/2 hour to walk around the block, but he smiled the whole way, greeting everyone we met. 
By the beginning of May he could no longer get up by himself, and he was falling more and more often. Finally we knew we had to make that difficult decision. We put it off as long as we could, he was still happy, loving, and wonderful, so it was really hard to know when... 
On June 8th, just a month before his 16th birthday, laying under his favorite tree in the backyard, with his family around him, loving on him, telling his how much we love him, we had the vet put him to sleep. 
There is a hole in my heart old friend, our home is so quiet without you. Your brother is a great dog, but he will never take your place.
Every memory I have of you is good, squeezing through Rolley's dog door, tippy toeing across the grating on the dock. Falling into the river and being a black lab for a bit, and the way I could absolutely trust you to be gentle, and obedient, no matter the provocation.  
You surely have you wings, because you were an angel on earth.
I love you, and I will miss you.
Swim in the giant ocean of stars, until we meet again.  
Good Dog, Spencer, Good Dog. 



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