We said goodbye to our Diego yesterday.

We had surgery to repair a ruptured knee ligament (ACL) about six weeks ago. He recovered quickly and was doing really well. And then.

Two days ago, the other knee went. The repaired leg wasn't strong enough to hold his back end. He was not able to walk at all, or even stand.

We could have had the second knee repaired, but it was clear that Diego's repaired leg would not be strong enough to support him during that recovery. That meant he'd likely end up re-injuring the first knee. For two days, he was only able to walk when we used a towel to sling his whole rear end -- and then only for a few steps.

* * * *

Diego was the happiest dog I ever knew. He was a big goof who loved everyone. From the moment he got in our car and left Toronto Animal Services, he loved his life.

He especially loved the beach. We couldn't say the word beach around him, he'd go nuts thinking he was going. Then we couldn't say b-e-a. We would say to each other, "Should we go to the place of sand and water?" At the word speech or reach, his ears would pop up and he'd stare, hoping.

The drooling! Oh the drooling. I called him Mr Drooly-puss. Also Mr. Bighead. SeƱor Cabeza Grande. Head like a bowling ball.

Diego was enthusiastic. Not a subtle boy, our Diego. Everything he did, he did con mucho gusto. Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.

We went through a huge re-training process with him, when we moved from a house into a high-rise building where he would encounter dozens of dogs. He was insanely food-motivated and came farther than I ever dreamt would be possible.

The change of food for that re-training process contributed to his developing inflammatory bowel disease. Suddenly our no-maintenance dog was a high-maintenance dog. Poor guy was a vegetarian in his older age.

He was terrified of thunder and fireworks -- and sneezes. The intake of breath before a sneeze or yawn would send him running. But he'd crash headlong into any new park, trail, or body of water without an eyeblink of caution.

He was Tala's best friend -- and Allan's.

Everyone who knew Diego, loved him.

We miss him so much. We will love him forever.

Diego, April 21, 2011 (adoption) - June 25, 2019

At Toronto Animal Services, on adoption day.

When Tala was rehabbing, he wouldn't leave her side.

Mr. Greenfeet

Allan posted more pics, including one of Diego getting some Cookie love.


The Mound of Sound said...

I know your pain. It's the price we pay for having had the love of a dog and I can't imagine being immune to it. In India a law was recently passed designating dolphins as "non-human persons" with rights and protections usually reserved for people. I suppose in their own way, dogs also become our own non-human persons.

I'm sorry for your loss.

laura k said...

Thank you MoS. I think of it the same way. This grief is the only downside of sharing our lives with these amazing creatures.

allan said...

He especially loved the beach. We couldn't say the word beach around him, he'd go nuts thinking he was going. Then we couldn't say b-e-a. We would say to each other, "Should we go to the place of sand and water?"

Just like Tala and "upstairs". Her crate (which she loved) was upstairs in the bedroom and there's where she would go when we left the house. It got so all we would say was "upstairs" and up she'd go to get crated. That evolved to times we'd be sitting around and one of us would say, "Damn, I left my whatever upstairs." And suddenly Tala, who had been resting quietly on her mat, would pop up and start going up the stairs. We wouldn't even be aware at first what was going on and we'd have to stop her and tell her to come back that we weren't leaving. She'd be 3 or 4 steps up and turn and look at us. (And both dogs were forever on alert for any word with an "-ar" sound, thinking it might be "car".)

impudent strumpet said...

Oh, Diego! :( :(

I'm so terribly sorry!

impudent strumpet said...

With Tala and "upstairs", I'm curious whether she wasn't supposed to be in her crate when the humans were home or something? Otherwise, why wouldn't she just go into her crate whenever she felt like it?

Jay Farquharson said...

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

I don’t know if there is a heaven, or afterlife or not, but if there is, our pets have to be there, waiting,

I’m so sorry for your loss, Laura and Allan,

They live on forever in our hearts, our memories and if we are lucky, at night in our dreams.

laura k said...

Thank you, Imp. I knew you'd be sad to hear.

Tala could go in her crate whenever she wanted, but she had to go in when we were leaving the house, and then we'd shut the crate door. So as part of our leaving-the-house routine, we would say "Upstairs," point up the steps, and she would lead the way, go into the crate, and we would kiss/cuddle her and shut the crate door.

A friend said it was like she was hypnotized and "upstairs" was her trigger word.

laura k said...

Jay, I know you are a genuine dog person and a great blog friend so I will restrain myself from saying how I feel about Rainbow Bridge!

They do for sure live forever in our hearts and memories. Right now it's very raw and painful. But I know in the future it will be sad but also happy.

Oy, I'm at work, better stop.

impudent strumpet said...

Dog hypnotism, that's hilarious! I would be so tempted to say "upstairs" at every possible moment to mess with her, but that would probably undo her training or something (not to mention being inconsiderate).

On topic, since we are gathered here to honour Diego, everyone who hasn't seen this already (and, in fact, everyone who has) should take two minutes to enjoy The Time Diego Was On TV.

laura k said...

Oh fantastic!!! I forgot all about that! He's actually featured prominently, he makes sure of that!

I notice Faux Diego is also there, and possibly Faux Tala.

So awesome you saved that, now I can save it too.

Amy said...

He was such a well-loved dog. You two gave him a wonderful life. And you spared him unnecessary pain. I hope you can be at peace about it and keep your memories alive, just as you have for Tala and Cody and all your other dogs. And I hope Kai and Cookie can keep you smiling even in these sad days.

laura k said...

Thank you Amy. I know we did the right thing. It's just so hard.

We've been through many animal losses together, eh? In both our homes.

Dan said...

Hi, long time reader here just wanting to say that I am very sorry for your loss. Looking at these photos of Diego made me smile: you obviously made his life a very happy one.

laura k said...

Thank you, Dan. Much appreciated.

Stephanie said...

I love seeing Diego with Tala.n I loved seeing hit with the liddles too I love seeing the photos with Alan.

I love seeing Diego.

Amy said...

Laura, we have indeed been through too many of these losses. To me it seems you'd just lost Tala and gotten Diego, so when I saw that you'd gotten him in 2011, I was surprised, but also somewhat relieved to know that you had had eight good years with him. As you've said, the problem with pets is that they just don't live long enough.

laura k said...

Yes, eight wonderful, joyous, love-filled years. He may have been 2 years old (perhaps more) when we adopted him, so he did live a normal lifespan for a large dog. Especially if he was part Bernese Mountain Dog, they are considered a "giant" breed, which means 8-10 years.

Our new vet classified him as a giant breed -- and a colleague of mine who has a Bernese pointed out markings that she said are classic BMD.

Perhaps this is what I tell myself to rationalize what seems like an early death. But it's always too soon, no matter what.

Do you think you and Harvey will get another dog? I guess it's easier not to, since you are traveling a lot (which is fantastic!).

Amy said...

We decided when Cassie died that we would not get another dog. It was a hard decision, but we were in agreement. Where we now live, there is no ability to let a dog out in a yard, so we would have had to walk a dog several times a day. We both have reasons not to want to do that when the weather turns cold and icy, and so we had to be honest and admit that we would not want to be walking a dog in the winter months. And, as you mentioned, we are away a lot---whether it's real traveling or just spending weekends in New York/Brooklyn or the Cape or Florida. Cats are more portable, easier to leave at home with a pet sitter or even without for a short stint, and do not need to be walked at all. So we now have three amazing, sweet, wonderful indoor-only cats, and much as I love dogs and pet every one we see, I know we made the right decision.

laura k said...

Oh sure, absolutely -- dogs are a lifestyle decision. There are times in your life that works and times it doesn't.

When we lived in NYC, we walked our dogs 4 times a day (each did 2 walks -- 1 long and 1 short), and took them to dog parks all the time. But now, I can't imagine how we did that, in winter, in all weather. We were young and didn't know any better! :) :)

Twice I thought we were done with having dogs. I thought Cody was our last dog, then I thought Diego was! LOL I can imagine at a certain age sharing a dog with another family or doing local dogcare, if we were retired or semi-retired.

Cats are so much easier, but not an option because I'm allergic. I'm so glad you can have cats!

Amy said...

We never know when we will be done having pets. I thought my parents were crazy when they got a new kitten four years ago. But that cat has given them (now my mother) so much joy---how could I deprive them of that even though they were 84 and 88 when they adopted him?

laura k said...

That's so sweet. As long as the kitties will have a home if they outlive their people, there's really no upper age limit.

We often see older dogs up for adoption, after their people have passed on. Allan and I have talked about adopting older dogs. I think that may be in our future.

laura k said...

Also meant to say, so great your mom has that company, now that your dad is gone.

Amy said...

Yes, and we will unfortunately soon be facing the issue what to do with Buddy when my mother moves to assisted living sometime within the next few months. He could move with her, but can she take care of him? And if not, can we find a good home for him? I can't take another cat, my brother is allergic, Rebecca's husband is allergic, and Maddy lives in a no-pet apartment (though she'd love to have a cat). I won't leave him at a shelter. So it's going to be just one more awful thing we have to deal with.

laura k said...

Sounds like you'll soon have four cats.

Amy said...

That won't happen. My mother's cat is high strung and doesn't get along well with others. He will be miserable in our house, and our cats will be miserable with him in the house. He needs to be in a house with just adults, no children, no dogs, no other cats. Maddy would be perfect if she had a lease that allowed pets.... So we will just have to find him a good home or hope that for at least some time my mother can care for him in assisted living.

laura k said...

Oh dear. No wonder you said it's awful. Good luck! Wish I was local so I could help. Petfinder.

Amy said...

We will find something. Our pet sitter may be able to help, and Maddy's best friend's sister is a vet who might also be able to help. Buddy won't be abandoned.

laura k said...

Of course not!! That part is obvious. Getting there might be a PITA, but you'll get there.