Yesterday evening, ScrapperMom and I had to let our first “baby” Val pass on to Doggie Heaven. Valkyrie was an 8 year old Great Dane that we bought together shortly before we were married. We loved taking Val to the dog parks in the Seattle area when she was a puppy. Later, Val got a tour of the country, visiting Yellowstone, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and Madison, Wisconsin among other great destinations while moving back east.
Val took training classes off and on, and eventually earned her Canine Good Citizen award. She loved going for rides in the car and taking walks in all kinds of parks. When we bought a house we added another puppy to the mix. Orion and Val eventually became good buddies. Val loved to go under stuff, and tables were her favorite. She also loved laying in the sun, and would follow it as it moved across the floor or the yard. She was universally described as “sweet” and loved having company.
When she was just 3, Val was tentatively diagnosed with Wobbler’s Disease, which is a degenerative instability of the cervical (neck) vertebrae. The disease started out with Val dragging her rear foot on the ground while walking, and over the next 5 years progressed to the point where she could no longer stand up. When she did stand up, she often fell.
Yesterday was a day that I dreaded since the day we first considered buying a dog — we knew inevitably that we would lose her someday. However, the decision we made in the presence of our vet yesterday was an easy one to make. Val was clearly in pain most of the time, having taken a turn for the worst this past weekend, and really had no quality of life left. There were no wags left in her tail.
We will miss her dearly, and hope that she has found green fields for running and beds of clouds for sleeping in Doggie Heaven. We desperately hope to meet her again when our own turns come. We love you, Val, you were a good dog. Goodbye.
Here are the lyrics to a song that sort of captures my feelings. And please visit:
OLD BLACK CAT by Ian Anderson
My old black cat passed away this morning
He never knew what a hard day was.
Woke up late and danced on tin roofs.
If questioned “Why?” answered, “Just because.”
He never spoke much, preferring silence:
Eight lost lives was all he had.
Occasionally sneaked some Sunday dinner.
He wasn’t good and he wasn’t bad.
My old black cat wasn’t much of a looker.
You could pass him by ? just a quiet shadow.
Got pushed around by all the other little guys.
Didn’t seem to mind much ? just the way life goes.
Padded about in furry slippers.
Didn’t make any special friends.
He played it cool with wide-eyed innocence,
Receiving gladly what the good Lord sends.
Forgot to give his Christmas present.
Black cat collar, nice and new.
Thought he’d make it through to New Year.
I guess this song will have to do.
My old black cat…
Old black cat…