GOODBYE TO A GOOD FRIEND

I try not to get overly personal here and I hate to do posts that can be kind of a downer. But I would be remiss in not remembering a great friend here.


Yesterday we had to say goodbye to what was certainly one of the world's greatest dogs. At just about 10 years and 7 months old, our Newfoundland Hudson was sound in spirit but his body was failing him. He suffered a lot of orthopedic issues in his life and they all caught up with him. If he had been a smaller dog, we could have carried him in and out of the house, but this is one of those things you sign up for when you get a giant breed dog. The fact that he was in great health otherwise made this decision that much more difficult for us.

I know that everyone's dogs are special to them, but Hudson and I had bond from the moment we met. He was a proud beast, who wanted nothing more than to be given a job and carry it out. He did that literally, by carrying in our groceries, getting the newspaper and delivering flowers to me when Mr. Much More Patient would bring them home for me. Most Newfoundlands are excellent swimmers and have a natural instinct for water rescue, but Hudson was special even in that regard. At 8 months old I took him to water rescue training (Newfoundlands can earn titles for water rescue) and he did almost every exercise immediately. We tried three times to get that water title before his joint problems and the resulting surgeries got in the way, and we failed every time on the same exercise: the one where he had to leave my side to go out and take a line to a drowning "victim."

That's the thing, he never wanted to leave my side. We achieved other things together. He got a draft title in one try, by my side. We explored the beach together every weekend. We swam in Lake Michigan together, him towing me (and any neighbor kids who were around) over and over again. It was never clear who was having more fun.

As anyone who has had a beloved pet will tell you, the problem with pets is that in the end, you always have to say goodbye.

A friend posted something on my Facebook page this morning: The luckiest people in the world have shared their life with a good dog.

I am indeed fortunate.


21 comments :

  1. A beautiful and well written homage to your loyal companion. Losing pets isn't ever easy and is always truly heartbreaking, but in the end, the fact that you both were able to share your lives together is a wonderful and precious gift. My condolences.

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  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is always so hard. :(

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  3. Bless your heart. Losing a pet is the worst. Sending you and your family good thoughts.

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  4. I am so sorry for your loss. (I grew up with Newfies too and know what an awesome breed they are.) There is always that one dog that will always hold a special place in our hearts. Sending you good thoughts and prayers.

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  5. I'm so sorry about your wonderful Hudson, we're dog people too and it's always so hard to lose them. We had a newfoundland when I was a really little girl- she was super sweet and so calm, I remember getting in big trouble with my mother for running down the hallway and taking a flying leap over her-she was always really still but mom was so afraid we'd accidentally land on her and hurt her. My thoughts are with you guys!

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  6. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I sometimes think I kiss our dog as much as I kiss my husband! They are indeed special and we never forgot those we loved.

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  7. Long time lurker here. He was a handsome boy and every Newf I have known has been a great dog - I am sorry for your loss and you have done a beautiful job paying tribute to him. I have a St. Bernard about to turn 10, and I know his time is coming, and that is something that I do not want to think about. Your friend is right - we are all truly lucky to share our lives with a good dog.

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  8. Oh, Mr. Hudson. You will be missed, you handsome fella. I am really sorry, Erin.

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  9. What a beautiful boy. Newfs are truly gentle giants, and I am sure he was no exception. I loved seeing him in your Christmas card post thru the years.
    I am so sorry for your loss.

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  10. Dear Erin - I am so sorry to hear about Hudson. He was a handsome, gentle giant, and I will miss seeing him on your blog. Do you know the story about pets going over the rainbow bridge? It is one my mother would always tell us whenever we lost a pet. Take care, Loi

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  11. Erin, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my second dog 23 years ago and only last year did I open it up to a new puppy. I have missed all the fun and love (and mess) and finally said yes to the kids request for a dog. I know where it will end up, but what a ride it will be.

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  12. Hope your garden can help soothe these difficult days. But your friend's comment on FB is so true, even if it is hard to feel that way at the moment.

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  13. Erin: It is truly one of the most difficult moments in our life, when we have to say goodbye to our best and loyal friend. The final day with our dog was so awful that I don't think we can ever have another one… I am so sorry for your loss and am thinking of you.

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  14. Oh how sad, Erin. We had a longhaired shephard when I was young and it was heartbreaking when he died at only 9 years old. I haven't owned another dog since. So sorry for your loss.

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  15. My condolences on the loss of your beloved Hudson. I know such losses leave a vacancy in the heart.

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  16. So sorry for your loss!!! He was a handsome fella! I am 5 years into my first dog and can't imagine life without her. I dread the rainbow bridge day.

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  17. Oh Erin, I'm so sorry! I've had three dogs and have never had to say goodbye to two of them (long stories that end with me not having the dogs at the end of their lives). I can't imagine what it will be like when we have to say goodbye to our little Jesse (8 months old now).
    Your trips to the lake won't be the same.

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  18. We lost our boy (a 100 lb lab/shepherd mix) when he was 10 years old. That was 10 years ago. Your post brought tears. Still miss him. We are indeed fortunate. He was a very good dog.

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  19. please accept my condolences... i know how hard it is and know, you were loved so deeply by that furball... sending you tons of hugs your way...

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  20. Dear Erin, So sorry for your loss. What a majestic dog. jd

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  21. Hudson was a beautiful dog. I will miss seeing him in your pics. I'm sorry for the pain you are feeling now. I've been through it and I know how difficult it is. I also know you wouldn't trade the time you had with him for anything.

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