A TRIBUTE TO DEVON--ADOPTED IN 2005
Devon, Snorty McDoggelsson Sheddy von Stinkelstein Slobberdog Milosevic Boutros Boutros Doggie Famous Dogmous, First Duke of Devonshire:February 1, 2004 (estimated) to August 15, 2019.
Our sweet, furry, loyal, always-hungry, always-smiling baby crossed the rainbow bridge today. We rescued him from the Mendocino County Animal Shelter in March of 2005. Bill and I drove all the way to Ukiah primarily to see a different dog, but Sage the shelter director had us meet Devon as well and the rest, as they say, is history.
We are heartbroken. Devastated that this journey of 14 years and 5 months has come to an end. But knowing that Devon wouldn’t want to see us wrecked, I am choosing to focus on gratitude.
I am grateful that we had almost fourteen and a half years with such a wonderful dog. Grateful for all the adventures we had together – in hiking trails all around the foothills surrounding the valley, trying to chase rabbits in the wetlands by the Bay, meeting wonderful dogs and people at the dog park, playing in the Lake Tahoe snow, and walking around all the neighborhoods we lived in.
I am thankful that Devon was there to keep me company when Bill had to go to Florida for a year, to be my fierce protector when we encountered a bunch of raccoons in a dark street, and to guard our home when we lived downtown and we accidentally left the door unlocked and unlatched and the wind blew it open in the middle of the night. There with me to raise his hackles and start growling when we came within a couple of hundred yards of a mountain lion in an open hillside. There to snuggle with me when I was sick or down, to reward Bill with his very rare doggie kisses when Bill snuggled with him, and to act as my smelly pillow when I was watching TV on the couch.
I am thankful that he taught his younger brothers how to behave with other dogs. He was always so patient with them, but he definitely let them know when they were crossing the line. The younger pups learned in very short order what was acceptable and what was not, and they learned in a manner that didn’t make them afraid of their oldest sibling.
Grateful for all the wonderful people who cared for Devon over the years – Sage at the animal shelter, Doctors Flato, Lem, Wilson, and Sung at the vet clinic; Mark, Kelly, and their staff at Downtown Dogs; and the various assistants, receptionists, nurses, and groomers he encountered throughout his life. All of them always had great things to say about Devon.
Thankful that this entire village – the shelter, me, Bill, my family, and everyone I mentioned previously – were able to keep such a large dog (who tried to eat literally anything) not only alive but also happy and thriving for 15 ½ years, enabling Bill and me to enjoy the crazy, sheddy, perpetually hungry, loving furball through so many moves, life changes, and quiet evenings.
Thankful that we were able to give him a loving, peaceful crossing exactly how it was supposed to be: at home, in the morning light, eating all the food and treats he wanted, with his humans holding and stroking him as he fell asleep and then took his last breath. Grateful to Doctor Chuang who guided him gently into sleep.
Grateful that his brothers got to say goodbye.
We had quite a few intense scares with him over the years. Less than two years after the beginning of our adventure, he almost died after he ate something toxic and he had to be in the ICU for over two weeks. He was diagnosed with heartworm, even though he had been on preventive medication from the time he was in the shelter. He ate a gigantic beef rib that could have perforated his digestive tract (but thankfully didn’t). He ate an entire leather glove. And he had to have his spleen removed because it had a tumor; the tumor turned out to be benign, even though the vast majority of spleen tumors are malignant.
Bill always said that Snorty McDoggelsson was the luckiest dog in the world, because he got through all of that and remained a loving, happy, silly, gentle dog. And because he remained loved, deeply. I like to think that we gave him a good life, and that he was as lucky to have found us as we were to have found him. For that, I will be eternally grateful.
Thank you, Devon, for loving us and for teaching me so much over the years. You taught me how to be completely responsible for another life, to understand unconditional love and unwavering loyalty, to take pleasure in the simplest, most mundane things (paper towel tubes, used socks, barely ripe and ridiculously tiny huckleberries, the sound of cloth being torn up), to trust deeply in another being, to handle sickness and aging with grace, and now, how to say goodbye and put a loved one’s needs first in the face of my own intense sadness.
Farewell, my beautiful Devon. Until the universe reunites us. All my love.