It has taken me a day to figure out how to say this, the words do not want to leave my lips, the sting is too much, he was after all ' Just a dog '
Major died in his sleep in the early morning hours of January 30th/2016. We knew it was his time and said our good byes the night before. I do not want this to be sad, even though I have huge tears right now. Major is the light that will forever shine for me. He was a striking dog, very regal, very loyal. He almost seemed like an old man to me, even as a pup he was calm and polite. He was free heeling at three months old, literally glued to my knee and when I stopped, he always plopped sideways on one side of his butt and look up at me with those eyes.
I am going to miss those eyes.
Kids loved him, even with how big he was, all kids came right up to him and hugged him, most kids never even knew him, but I guess they knew he was a good dog. I recall being a a rodeo once and a toddler, barley able to walk, came up to Major as he was laying down and fell right into Majors belly, the little one giggled at all the hair in its face, Major looked at me with concern, I said " It's okay" and he carried on with this little one playing on his tummy. He would fill the whole back seat when we would go on a road trip, he loved road trips. It was only he and I, no other dogs, no kids, no husband, just he and I.
He loved it, so did I
He use to come mountain biking with us, he was not a fast dog so he'd always be behind. We scared a bunch of tourists once, who thought I was being chased by a bear. hahahaha…. he was quite the sight.
I am grateful for many things in my life. I am blessed beyond measure. Major was one of those blessings. I am not sure if I can accurately word what he was to me, dog people will understand. He was that 'Dog' We all have that one special one in our lives, that change the very being of who we are. Major was that dog for me. Something about the way he looked at me, I never saw ' Just a dog' I saw a soul, I saw a friend, I saw how much better of a person I can be. He lead me through some of the toughest moments in my life, He lead me to some of my greatest, he lead me film. I wanted to capture the essence of who he is, so I practiced filming over and over again. Now, I am pretty darn talented when comes to filming animals, I dare to say, no one films like I do, it is soulful filming. You see the animals soul. That is what Major taught me, to see his soul, not bad for ' Just a dog'
He was by side on most of my wildlife filming shoots, he'd be as quiet as a mouse, so he'd not scare off the deer, coyotes, eagles, hawks, bears, you name it, he 'tried' to be quiet. He was a big dog after all.
When ever I was riding my horses in the arena, he'd sit by the gate and wait for me to be done. When we went on trail rides, he'd lumber along behind me, he always gave the horses a wide berth, he tolerated them, but I do not think he liked them, lol. He liked me and would follow me when ever I asked.
He was a good boy.
Major would of turned nine this March, too young for such an illness, he was diagnosed with leukaemia ten days before his death. I took it hard, I tried to save him, I did as much as I could and that I felt right for him, it took me a few days to shake it off and come to grips with the diagnosis. I did come to grips with it. Our last week together was buckets of fun, we spoiled him rotten, we loved the heck out of him and right to the very last 12 hours, he acted like a normal dog. On his last day, he spent much of his time in the trees behind the house, he'd watch me come and go, I'd look up at him and tell he was a good boy and carry on doing my thing. He had not eaten breakfast that morning, nor his dinner that night. We knew, he knew. Closing the door that night after I kissed him and told him I loved him before I went to bed was one of the toughest things I've ever done. My tears were on his back as he laid his head down on his paws. I closed the door, he wanted to be alone, no more fussing, just peace. I gave it to him.
This is the last picture I took of him, it was taken the day before he passed, we were on a walk, we stopped and visited, had snuggles, then he moved down to the tree to keep watch.
The morning we buried him was tough, We buried him up in the old sand box where the kids use to play, it was a favourite spot for him, he already had a big hole dug that he use to lay in when it was hot outside. The family all dug together, we all cried together and we all said good bye together. I saw my boys become men, maybe they already were and I had only now noticed, but the compassion they gave me was something I will never forget.
I expect I will have many moments of tears, the air is thick with his memory, everywhere a reminder, in the days before his passing the snow had all melted, replaced with mud. The ground has now froze again, his paw prints are everywhere, paw prints I can never follow. Soon those paw prints will disappear, along with the other physical things I can see that remind me of him, but he will never be forgotten, his soul is free, he told me so.
We came home from town yesterday, it was sad not seeing him waiting for me. I went in the house, changed my boots and went back outside to feed the horses. There is a solar light that is in a planter right by my door, it has not been on in months, not enough sun has shone for it to have a charge, but there it was shining away, weird is what I said to Jim, how is that possible? not even dark out yet.
yet I knew, I smiled.
when I came back from feeding the light was out.
Some may say a sign, some may say its ' Just a dog' I know what it was for me and though I do not see him anymore, I know I will see him again, so please no need to say you are sorry, I sure am not. I am honoured to have had such a wonderful gift.
He has gone on ahead, one day I can follow, he will come meet me, but until that day, I will do the best.
I will give, I will love, I will change the way people look at animals, my Major was more than 'Just a dog'
until I see you again, sweet Major, love you
**** UPDATE- April 1/2016- It has been a few months, the sting is still there, but it softens a little bit each day. I thought it was important to share this update. Since this blog was written we have been contacted by a large university asking to use this blog in their veterinary program. They feel it is a great example of the human/animal bond and will give their students great insight into their future carreers as veterinarians. So even in death, my Major is still giving his gift, he is showing all of us, that behind those eyes, there is so much more than ' just a dog '
To the students, thank you for reading this, We wish you tons of success in the future.
**** UPDATE- July 25/2016- it has been 6 months, as ridiculous as it may sound, I miss Major still, I think I finally came to terms with that and said it is okay to miss him, he was a special dog. I hesitated on getting a new pup, How could it ever measure up to Major? well the answer is, it cant, no dog every will and once I realized that I was okay with getting a new pup. Even the pups name being so close to Majors name, seemed okay.
Ranger is a independent, aloof, confident sable German Shepherd, he doesn't not care if I am there or not, but I do know that when he chooses me, it will be for life, those kinda dogs always are. I know Major would of loved him and I am sure he sat on the hill and watched me try to get the pup to warm up to me, he would of given me a look that said" be patient, he's worth it." and he is.
Every video I volunteer my time to is in Major's honour, every one is made and inspired by his desire to show me what was behind those big eyes he has.
He made me better than I am, he will make you better too.
share the joy.