Saturday, March 24, 2007

Thank you...

I want to say thank you to everyone for the outpouring of kindness and concern about Dakota. I think the biggest thing was that it seemed so sudden. I knew he was sick, we had just started these new meds, the day before Dr. Bill had even said that his heart murmer was sounding better. We talked to him on Thursday about Doggie CPR and if that was an option if Dakota went into cardiac arrest. He explained that it might help him for thirty minutes or a bit longer, but it wouldn't save his life. In other words, it would be more for us than him.

Dakota always slept above the pillows on the bed and Thursday night was no different. He woke me up about 4:30 that morning by lying next to me and I fell back asleep rubbing him. When I heard him jump off the bed at 5:20 I woke up and checked the time to see if it was six yet, the time he and Thrawn got their morning meds each day. It was early so I called him up and that's when I realized he was lying on the ground and not getting back up. I jumped out of bed and turned on the light, but he was already starting to gasp for breath. He laid on his side and it seemed like he tried for a couple minutes, trying to raise his head and get his breath but finally laid his head down and passed peacefully. He appeared to not be in pain for which I'm very grateful. We had a couple hours until Dr. Bill was open so we spent the time with him, holding and petting him. I never thought I would want to do that but I'm very very thankful that we had the opportunity. I'll treasure the time to say goodbye.

As much as I did not want to witness him dying, it was truly a gift that we were able to be with him and I hope it comforted him. I am a coward, I am relieved that it was not a decision I had to make and I know that is horrible to say.

I just wasn't prepared at all even though I knew he was sick. I know this sounds morbid, but I guess in my head I always thought something would happen to Thrawn first with all of his health problems through the years. That would somehow be more expected, but definitely as painful. It was just one of those things that was supposed to happen "later", you know? With these new meds I really believed he would make it through the year, that we would have another Christmas with him. I realize now that it was selfish of me to wish for. When I'm honest with myself I know that he was having a hard time, even with the medications.

Dakota loved life, his favorite things were playing and swimming. He LOVED to swim. With his health the way it was he wouldn't have been able to swim this summer, there was no way. He couldn't really go for walks because of his heart rate and lack of breath. He didn't wrestle much with Tucker anymore, when he barked much he would start coughing and would have to stop. I know in my heart that this was probably the best thing for him but it's hard to mentally accept. I want to cry tears of happiness that he was in my life and that I hopefully provided him with a life that he loved, not tears of sadness that he's gone.

It feels so strange when it's pill time for him not to be sitting there waiting for his marshmallow...especially in the morning after potty break he'd always run right in and sit next to the medicine area. The little things - like taking four treats out instead of five; taking a bath and he's not guarding the door, getting in bed last night and automatically lying down with a foot empty above the pillow so he could lie there and putting my hand up to hold his paw like I did every night. It hurts.

Tucker was a small puppy when I adopted him and Dakota was already a year old. He has never been without him...even the days that Dakota would go to the vet without him caused Tucker anxiety. Once Dakota had passed we brought each of the pack into the bedroom to see him. I don't know what the "protocol" is for this situation, but I didn't want him to just disappear from their lives. I guess it maybe makes no sense. Tucker stayed in the room for close to an hour, lying by us next to Dakota. He would sometimes paw at him, push at his ear with his nose. I know he knew, I don't care what people say about dogs not understanding things. He seems so depressed now and very clingy. Dot and Sam seem "off" too. Thrawn is hard to read, but I think he knows. I'm very, very worried about Tucker. Dot and Sam are kind of a team, Thrawn is a loner and now Tucker is just alone.

Dakota can never, ever be replaced and I don't know what the future holds for a future pack member. I do deeply believe that when one has the ability and situation to help an animal in need then they should. A part of me feels horribly guilty for even thinking about it but another part of me looks at these angels lying here and knows just how important rescue is. I think I'll just know when it's the right time and the right situation. Sooner or later, I don't know.

The dog blog community has really amazed me the past couple days, the comments and emails have helped me tremendously. I'm behind in replying to mails and I apologize, but I will. Several dogs have put memorials to Dakota on their blogs and I can't tell you how nice that is to see. If there is ever anything I can do for any of you please don't hesitate to ask. You have become an extended family, I enjoy reading everyday. Give them an extra kiss, an extra hug from the Brats and I. Treasure every single moment they are in your life because it's truly a gift.

With deep gratitude,


Stoodleville said...


My heart goes out to you and the hounds, truly.

My old girl passed away while I walked around the block trying to decide what was right. I have always regretted that. The light of my life died in my arms and I regret the loss daily, yes even four years later, but never the being there.

Your words seems all too familar, all to today. And it will be difficult as Tucker will look more to you and you will have to look back, straight in the eye, more than before.

My heart aches at the loss you and and the pack are enduring. And anything I can do, don't hesitate.

Stoodleville mom

MJ's doghouse said...

We are all very sad for your loss. I dont think anyone is ever prepared for the loss of any loved ones. I am sure your other pups will help you with your grief. Hugs and slobbery kisses from MJ and her humans.

Luckie the Dachie said...

I'm so sorry that we just got the news so late. You did the best you can and I'm sure he knew too.
Be strong ~ we are here for you.
Luckie & Luckie's Mom

Huskee Boy said...

Dear Maryann, Sam, Dot, Thrawn and Tucker,
It is truly a devastating news to hear of Dakota's passing.. I do think that it is a true blessing you were with him when he crossed over. Our thoughts are with you..

HUskee Boy and his hoomans

Suki said...

What you wrote was very touching and from the heart. I am so sorry for your family's loss. The absence of Dakota's presence is undoubtedly extremely difficult right now, but, like you said, he had a wonderful life: something that, if you had not adopted him, he probably would not have had.

I agree that if you have the means, rescuing another dog is a wonderful thing to do, but you'll know when the time is right. I hope Tucker is able to adjust to the change, soon.


Billy said...

Dear Maryann,

Our hearts go out to you all. We are so very saddened to hear this. I'm late in reading the blogs and have just found this out this morning. It's all so very sad. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Realize that you have given Dakota a kind and loving home and he was where he should have been to the end.

You are kind hearted people, God will help you through this.

Tucker especially will need extra love and attention for awhile, you will all need each other in order for you to heal.

If there is anything you need, we are here for you.

Hugs from Billy Boo and mom

Maximillian the Valliant said...

Hi Maryann,

This is M-the-V's mom Julie. I'm so sorry to hear of Dakota's passing. It is so hard on us poor humans. I'm glad you were there with him...and his sibs got to say goodbye too, that is very special. Unfortunately, it is all part of loving a dog. I have a passion for the older dogs and will see this sooner than later. But I wouldn't trade the love for anything!

You and the pack are in the thoughts and prayers of me and our pack.

He'll be waiting at the rainbow bridge...maybe he is even playing with my sweet Louie while they wait.

Take care,

Julie, Maxey, Lily, Evie, Fanny, Duncan, Starry and Wookie.

Steve, Kat, & Wilbur said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Since I grew up on a farm, we lost more than our fair share of dogs due to accidents. Accidents that probably could have been avoided had we made the dogs stay home all day. But every dog we had loved to go with my dad to the field and chase rabbits or run around in the creek while my dad was doing whatever job he needed to do that day. So I always thought that the dogs all died happy. I'm sure the same is true for Dakota. He knew you loved him and I'm sure he was happy.

Even though Steve and Kat are not even six months old yet, I cannot imagine what one would do if something happened to the other. They are so attached to each other, so I can only imagine what Tucker is like. Hopefully he will be able to forge a stronger bond with one of the other dogs or just form a deeper bond with you.

If there is anything I can do to help, let me know. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.

Valerie (Steve & Kat's mom)

Lisa said...

The two cats I've had to let go in my adult life, I've been there with them. It was horrifying and yet peaceful at the same time. I know what you mean about being glad you didn't have to make the decision to put Dakota down, that he went on his own. It is wonderful he was surrounded by the love of his family in his last moments. I was just starting to get to know your pack and now I feel like I've lost one of my own. When the time is right and when the right new pack member comes along, you will know it. God bless you and your family and Dakota.

Lisa (with meows of love from Leo, Sammy, Maggie, Cocoa & Scully)

MaPaw said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It is a blessing that Dakota was in the comfort of his home surrounded by his loving family. Let us know if there is anything we can do.
-Magnum & his Mama

Jasper said...

My Momma is reading this through tears of sorrow for you.
We are glad you were with Dakota and were able to spend that extra time with him.
Our hearts are heavy.
Jasper, Tessia and Cynthia

maggie said...

hi , i hope you and the hounds are doing alwright , you made dakota's life a truely good life
luv , maggie and my mom

Ruby Cupcake said...

My heart is very sad for you.

Cupcake Kisses

Charlie said...


We are so sorry for your loss. Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time.

Rots of Ruv


Cubby said...

I'm so sorry about Dakota. I'm glad you were there for him.

3 Furballs said...

Our Deepest condolenses. We're sorry for your loss. It must have been very hard to see Dakota go.

wally said...

So sorry for your loss. Your tribute to Dakota was very moving. He was truly a loveable and loved dog. I love the picture of him at the top. What a great way to remember him.


Mary-Margaret said...

Dear Maryann - Me and my mom send our sympathy to you and your pack. She understands really well how you feel because she has had to say goodbye to my Aunt Rose, my Great Aunt Susie and my Great Uncle Sneaker Doodles. She got me a week after Aunt Rose left for the Rainbow Bridge because she just couldn't live without Puppy Love. We put our arms and our paws around you in a group hug. OK...come on....BIG group hug, everyone.

Love and puppy licks...

Tasha & Eva said...

Maryann, It was good that you could be there for Dakota at the time of his passing. I've had to make the decision to put down 3 pets. 2 cats and 1 dog. The first was a cat named Angel and I didn't want to be present at the time. I will always regret that decision. With Taz the cat and Tia the dog I was there and even though it was extremely hard to do I'm glad I was there. I felt I owed them that much. You are a wonderful person for opening your home to these special dogs. You'll definetly know when its time for another. We did with Eva. Prayers for your pack from ours, Doug (Tasha & Eva's dad)

IndyPindy said...

Oh, this made my mom get teary eyed. She is so glad that you were all there to be with Dakota. And how sweet and thoughtful it was of you to allow each of the pack to say goodbye to Dakota!

I am so glad that Dakota had such a happy life with you and your pack. I'm sure he looks down on all of you now and smiles affecitonately. I'm glad that his health problems are over and now he can run and play and wrestle as much as he wants.

Foster Dogs said...

We are so sorry for your loss. Please feel free to visit our Rainbow Bridge site If you would like, you can send a tribute to Dakota and photos of him to be posted to the site to

There are also some really good resources for pet loss on the site.

Foster Dogs

Macie-Malechai said...

Oh Maryann, our lady can't stop crying! She said that's why she waited so long to get us because of how hard it is when one of us passes. Hopefully you & your other pack members will be able to comfort one another in the days to come. Poor Tucker! Again, just know that Dakota is much healthier now & able to do all his favorite things!
Kind Licks, M&M

Sophie Brador said...

Maryann, Give Tucker an extra hug from us over here. The poor guy. I'm glad he got to spend that time with Dakota too. Take care!

The Army of Four said...

We are so sorry to hear about Dakota! We've been remiss in our reading and are playing catch up. You did everything you could for him - most importantly showed him LOVE. That will live on forever.
Sending you gentle woos and prayers,
The Ao4 and our mom Karen

Mike said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and the rest of the boyz. Its a sad day when one of my nephews has to ascend to the big dog couch in the sky. Dakota was a good dog, who loved to give kisses and snuggle.

I will miss him.