I suppose I should’ve written this over the weekend instead of this morning. I have a feeling I’ll be crying uncontrollably by the time I’m finished. Nothing beats a good hound, and nothing hurts worse than losing that hound too early, or at all. The last two hounds I have helped to cross the Bridge were special. I am not saying they aren’t all special; we know they are. However, Mary Lou and Padfoot were deeper in my heart than most humans have ever been, and they both left me entirely too early, both nine and half years young.
George is eleven and a half, and still going. He’s not as strong as he was, or as fast. I can definitely see him slowing down. His back half shakes like a leaf when he’s run too much or didn’t eat his breakfast, which holds the magic powder that helps his back. He is my precious baby, and I’ve been blessed to have him. He’s precocious but insecure, choosing to pee on the floor instead of come to me for help. He’s gotten better the last few months, but he still has his moments, like the ducking of his head when anyone goes to pet him. I wish I knew why and how to fix it.
Mary Lou never needed fixing in the same sense as my two boys did. She was full of piss and vinegar without a shy or insecure bone in her tiny, red body. She did need quite a bit of curtailing, which we finally discovered how to do. She was a snuggler, yet very independent. She did what she pleased no matter what. She did have a horrid case of separation anxiety, and if you were within a hundred yards when I left her, you’d never forget those howls of anxiety and despair. She was a character.
Jade and Sonic were both perfect angels. They really were. Sweet and tenderhearted, they loved everyone. Jade was my social butterfly, and Sonic, despite the short time we had, was my salvation during a painful breakup. When I lost him, Mary Lou stepped in to help heal my heart. Jade was her salvation, to help cure her of her separation anxiety. It didn’t “work,” per se, but it helped. When I lost her, in December of 2009, I was lost again. I had Padfoot, but she was my girl.
Padfoot and I started working with spooks. The first one was awful. She would wake me in the middle of the night after she’d peed and pooped in the house. I send her outside, clean up the mess, and go back to bed. I forgot to turn the light back off one night and went to do so, finding, again, another pile of presents on the floor. She had just gone out! We decided she needed more attentive care and swapped her out for a shy, red guy we would soon rename George. He did okay, and as he had been one of the forerunners of Paddy’s spot in the house, I ended up adopting him.
We fostered another spook, a dashing young guy named Battlestar. If I’d had the means to support three hounds, I would’ve kept him. He was so wonderful and beautiful, such a gentle soul. He and George loved to romp around in the backyard, something Paddy refused to do with George because he’s so rough. Battlestar eventually found a home of his own, and it was back down to two.
We sold our house in 2012 and moved to an apartment. The boys settled in pretty well. We started having issues on the stairs, and we moved again in 2014. It was the same complex, just downstairs. The boys settled in, again, until the end of February when Paddy started having some issues. First, one of his eyes stopped blinking, then he started limping. We went to the vet, and little did I know, we’d only have two weeks left.
On March 7, 2014 Paddy and I made the decision together. Well, in all honestly, he asked to go and despite the pain in my own heart, I knew his suffering was beyond him, and I let him go. He made the decision on his own. He was the fourth hound I have helped cross over, and he was the fastest to go. He practically sprinted to that pain-free place. (And here come the tears.) I know he wasn’t running from me. He was my soulmate. People who had never met him before could see that he understood every word from my mouth and that our connection was bone-deep.