Saying good bye to my best friend
I joined this forum in Feb of 2003, about 2 days after picking Sabre when he was just 3 days old. It was an easy pick for someone as inexperienced as I was. I wanted a male and there was only 2. I also wanted a tan/black and he was the only one, his brother was more red/black. We got him from a long time GSD breeder in West Virginia (Becks) and he impressed us with his facility and all his GSD's.
At first he was my hobby, I was working double shifts weekends (Fri/Sat) and had the whole week off to play, train and spoil him. I fed him the BARF diet for his first 2 years, went through intensive and expensive training to get him to his full off leash.
My oldest was 18 months old when we he came home, my other 2 (8/5) do not know life with out him. We have so many pictures of my oldest and Sabre growing up from puppy hood. So many memories of him nipping at her diapers as she ran.
Never a "true" babysitter, we and my kids felt safe know he was in the house and that he was always watching over them. Being deployed numerous times or going away on long trips he was the alarm system, the protector of the house while I was gone. My wife never had any fears answering the door, allowing a service repairmen into the house because Sabre would lay down his life for them. With me he was just a big wus, but with the he was always "on", the protector always needing to be "right" there next to them.
He had OCD with fetching and was afraid of water ( only dog that i have known or had that could not swim). He would still try to get into your lap and always knew where his treats were and would stair at that cabinet and bark until he was given a treat. He always let us know with his grown and moan that his food not to his liking if my wife didn't pour bacon grease or gravy over is food.
We noticed over the past few months that he was getting older. He would only fetch 5-6 times, then 3-4 to just a few times before just laying down having enough. We never thought anything about his stomach gurgling or the excessive gas he has had over the past 6-8 months. We had talked about him possible or probably not making it out of Pensacola when we arrived there last Nov in 2010. I had 4 year orders, he was getting ready to turn 8 and all the web searches showed life expectancy ranging from 9-13 years. He was extremely well cared for, and inside dog with free access to the outside. So we expected the later.
Over the past year I have been consumed with work and gone alot, as was the family. 19 days ago we left Pensacola for San Diego for my next duty assignment, leaving 2+ years ahead of schedule. For past 17 days he spent almost every moment with us, traveling in the car across country and staying in hotel rooms with us. Protecting us when I trailer broke in New Orleans and I to repair it in a bad part of town, Protecting us in the motels/hotels across the country.
We got the keys to our house on Wednesday night, kenneled him on Thursday while we had the movers come in on Friday. We got a call late Friday that he was not acting right, not eating and he was panting. He was transported to the Pet ER and diagnosed with a Bloat - stomach torsion. Prognosis was not good, spleen was enlarged, organs began to become necrotic. I had to make the decision to put him to sleep.
We brought the kids in to say good bye, he looked in such pain and discomfort. When my wife brought the kids into the waiting room, he could hear them and went into panic/anxiety mode because he could not be there with them. Still in his pain he was still putting them first.
When the vet came in, he was in my arms, I was petting him behind his ears where he loved it the most and in-between my tears I was telling him what a good boy he was over an over again.
He was part of my family for past 9 years and 3 months. His loss is enormous for my wife and I. The kids are processing it, but my wife and I have been hit hard. We are surrounded by boxes from the move and the garage is filled with all his stuff.
Is it wrong to already be thinking of another GSD? I feel so guilty thinking of it.
Thank you all if you have made it this far, this has been therapeutic for me.
Sabre, I love you and I am so sorry this happened to you. You were the best dog I have ever had, the longest one I have ever had and I truly loved you like a friend. You did so much for me and the family and we are at such a loss with out you. Bye my dear friend, you will be missed forever.
J & J