After only 4 short years, I had to make the hard choice to have my boy Hero put down. He had some pretty severe spondylosis accompanied with spinal cord degeneration as well as hip dysplasia. I helped him manage it for over a year and it just got to the point where he had no quality of life left. This past Friday my family came down and we gave him some amazing last few meals; T-bone steak and more salmon than he's ever seen. Saturday morning was when we took him to the vet but he stayed with us in the bed of the truck, in his ridiculously soft bed and all his favorite toys around (shout-out to the Kong Moose!). I already wrote my heart out that day in another post, the thoughts and words I wanted to say to him but I couldn't.
However, there are some things I need to put in writing as to not be lost to memory throughout the years. I know that as fellow GSD lovers, you will appreciate some of these things that Hero used to do, and I just wanted to share. I hope his memories give you warm fuzzies about all the reasons we love GSD's. They do for me.
Hero LOVED getting his ears cleaned. I would fold a tissue and wrap it around my finger and get in there real good into the little spaces and give him a good ear rub. He would lean into my hand, and moan this insanely grumbly old man moan. Haha. It always made me laugh. It was the sound of pure pleasure. His eyelids would go halfway and he would moan at me until I stopped.
Then of course, he would need to smell his so very interesting ear wax and give it a taste.
Hero's favorite game ever was find-the-toy. I'd lead him into the office with a toy and have him sit. I'd let him see and smell the toy then I would tell him to "wait" as I walked out the door and closed it behind me. I'd spend a few minutes finding a good hiding place for the toy around the house, being sure to rub it against many surfaces and backtracking through other rooms with it. Eventually once I thought I'd hidden it well with lots of diversions, I'd go back to the office and tell him "OK, go find it." Do you want to know how long it took him to find the toy on average given my many tricky traps and deceitful turnarounds? About 25 seconds.
Depending on how smelly the toy, I could bury it under a pile of dirty clothes and he'd still find it. That boy had a crazy good nose!
I adored the little leg twitch he'd do during belly rubs, but I really had to work for it. It usually only appeared early in the morning, on that spot just to the side of his breastbone, with vigorous scritches all over for about 30 seconds. It was so worth it though.
Hero LOVED getting special meals. Whenever I cooked a chicken, I saved him most of the breast meat and would mix some of it in with his normal food. I would know he was happy and satisfied because he would come up to me licking his lips and then give me a big old burp, right in my face, while making direct eye contact. It was his way of saying "thank you."
Hero preferred to sleep on his back. I would find him in the morning with his arms and legs just dangling there above him. He'd pretend to still be sleeping but I'd give him belly rubs and he would place his paw on my arm. I loved that early morning bonding I got to have with him.
I only remember Hero sneezing maybe half a dozen times, but it was the best thing ever. His face would wrinkle up and he would make a "NNNNHH" sound once, then twice, then he would sneeze a great big solid sneeze. It was amazing.
Oh the faces he would make while he was dreaming. I would be stunned at the rapid facial movements he was capable of, especially once he really got going. All of his facial muscles and his lips would twitch and quiver in a wild array of movement. I always wondered what he was dreaming about.
Haha, when he was a puppy (about 3 or 4 months), he would talk back to my mother and although it was bad behavior, it was still the cutest thing ever. He used to have an ankle biting problem and I taught him to stop biting my ankles very quickly, but he didn't extend that respect to the other family members. Once I showed my mom how to stand up to him and say "no", he didn't adjust very well at first. He would throw a baby tantrum and give this high-pitch bark in protest to the new pecking order. He eventually got it, but the learning process was so adorable to watch.
There are just so many things, I know it would take a massive post to detail them all. These are the ones that come to mind at this moment and I will jot down the others as they come throughout the day. I just wanted to share some of these cherished memories I am left with after my short time with Hero. I know that he will stay with me in my heart, all the rest of my days.
Be right back sweet boy.
In loving memory,
Hero (April 2013 - September 2017)