Last Friday morning we had to say goodbye to a dear friend whom we had known for 15 years. She was a very close friend. She had lived with us in our house for 15 years, had slept in our bedroom, had gone on walks with us, had taken trips to other states with us. She was a dear friend who we accepted as part of our family. If you have not figured it out by now, this dear from was our family dog. We called her Bushy, although the woman who gave her to our family called her Rosebush. She was found wandering the streets of Longview, Texas about 22 years ago when she was just a puppy. This kind woman took her in, cleaned her up, took her to the vet to have her checked over and to get her shots and then put her in her backyard with the other dogs she kept. Bushy learned to fend for herself there along with the big dogs but soon the day came when the kind lady had to let someone else take care of Bushy because she had too many dogs to handle, and that was when she entered our lives.
Bushy was about 7 years old when she came to live with our daughter who was in junior college in Tyler. We had never had a dog that lived in our house and we were hesitant at first but our daughter assured us that she was just "trying her out" so we allowed Bushy to live with us during the trial period. Bushy loved to chase toys and was a very loving affectionate animal as soon as she entered our lives. She was very little trouble at all. She just wanted to be with her owners and keep them company and only needed food to eat and a place to sleep and occasional walks around the block.
Our daughter finished with junior college and left to go to the university 200 miles away and Bushy could not go to her new apartment. Dogs were not allowed there (all I could say was, "How rude!". Some animals are better tenants than some humans who live there...but I digress.) So, Bushy gradually became the dog that belonged to my wife and me. Bushy was very loyal and protective and it felt good to have a dog in the house to protect us in case an intruder should try to enter. She would bark and we would know that someone was on the property, be it the mailman or the plumber or a handy man we had hired. We usually had to restrain her someplace so the workers could do their business and she was always glad when they left.
Bushy moved with us to Weimar when we moved here and she had lived her for almost ten years, the same was we have. We began to notice that her health was deteriorating, though. First she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and began taking a daily pill to keep that in check. Then, she did not seem to hear as well as before and gradually became totally deaf. Her eyesight began to fail and then the seizures set in and it became clear that she was a very old lady and her time with us was short. She began to fall down and could not get up easily and we would hold her until she was calm and she would pace the floor or the yard for an hour or more, restless in her spirit after her seizure. Finally, last Friday after having two seizures in one night we decided that her pain had to end. Her poor old black hair that once shone had turned gray here and there and her eyes were clouded with cataracts.
It was not an easy decision to give up our old friend that lived with us for 15 years but her 22 year old body could not continue to sustain her. My wife and I both found ourselves sobbing as the doctor helped to end her pain and took her tired old body home to rest near the fence in the back yard, in the garden where we will plant a rosebush in tribute to her. As the kind veterinarian told us as he consoled us last Friday, "Animals ask little from us but they give so much in return." He is right. She gave us so much more than we gave to her. She was a friend that stuck closer than a brother in many ways and was always there to greet us and to make us feel better when we felt sad. We will miss her but we will not forget her.