Join Date: Nov 2012
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My boy Dawson
Four weeks ago on November 9th, 6 days after his 10th birthday, my daughter and I held Dawson while he crossed over the Bridge. By a string of coincidences and fate, we were blessed with the kindest, gentlest mobile vet and vet tech that carried our boy up the steps to our family room so that Dawson could be at rest in the room that he spent most of his time with his family.
I am just now able to write this and look at his pictures without the overwhelming sadness of the prior weeks. I am thankful that things are getting easier but I miss him. I look for him to pop his head up from the car, where he was always waiting, when I hit the “unlock” button on my remote. I listen for his bark as I come into the garage, I wait for him to snatch up the ice cubes he so loved when they popped out of the fridge door onto the floor. But, I am not brought to tears like I was a few weeks or so ago. For that I thankful but also a little sad as my mourning him made him seem closer to me and now he is not in my mind as much. Yesterday, though, I was blindsided by decorating the Christmas tree. I reached in the box and was taken by surprise when I reached pulled out his puppy photo that was attached to his first Christmas ornament. That as well as finding his stocking has me crying more these last few days.
Dawson was a Sunfire dog. I see from other board member posts that many know of Sunfire dogs and their intelligence, high drive and high energy. Well, Dawson was true to form in that aspect. At 9 weeks old, a very experienced trainer in field, obedience and agility, watched him walk on his leash, not doing anything spectacular and said “that is a lot of dog.” Those six words were a precursor of what was to come…a wild ride with a widely energetic dog. And hence, Dawson’s AKC registered name of “Sunfire That’s a Lotta Dog” came about.
My daughter bought Dawson, a little red puppy, who had champion breed and field grandparents, with her own money at age 13 as she wanted an agility dog. The breeder picked the right dog for her purpose and we spent lots of time training this dog into a beautifully behaved golden. Dawson was magnificent to see when he healed in obedience, prancing with the most amazing attention focused on my face. When he was eight months old, we attended a five day class with Terry Arnold for competition obedience. I will never forget when she looked at us and said “give me that dog” within the first five minutes of class (he was doing his leapy, out of control, excess energy thing after healing beautifully). She took him and got him under control and asked “Is this dog neutered?” and when we told her yes, she asked “how long ago”? When we told her one month ago she said it was not soon enough! She then said she could go a whole week of class and never know a dog’s name and she knew our dog’s name in the first five minutes of class.
After several years of lots and lots and lots of training, Dawson turned into the perfect dog with an “off” switch that enabled him to be able to be a laid back, happy, wonderful part of our family when needed. Despite my daughter paying for him with her own money, he became my dog, stuck to me like glue. We were inseparable. My daughter worried that, when the time came, I would go into a depression when he passed. I worried about that too and while struggling with depression initially, now that the time arrived, I can say that time is healing me. I thank God that my daughter happened to be out of school at time of his illness and, at age 22, was much stronger than I was. She was my rock of support and comfort during his 10 days of sickness. I honestly am not sure how I would have handled it if I was alone in the house and having to deal with his illness and his passing by myself.
We are now starting to think of another Golden, maybe this spring. My daughter dreamed of him the other night and said she woke from the dream and he was lying next to the bed, young again, panting and with a big smile on his face. What a wonderful gift. I pray he is waiting for me when I cross the Bridge myself. There is a wonderful children’s book called “Dog Heaven” by Cynthia Rylant. A vet recommended it years ago when I had to make the decision for another dog I owned and the book has brought me tears and peace throughout the years. It starts out as “When dogs go to Heaven, they don’t need wings because God knows that dogs running best. He gives them fields. Fields and fields and fields. When a dog first arrives in Heaven, he just runs. Dog Heaven has clear, wide lakes filled with geese who honk and flap and tease. The dogs love this. They run beside the water and bark and bark and God watches them from behind a tree and smiles.” I can just imagine my dog running and running, like the wind, through fields of wildflowers with God watching and smiling! I know he is at peace. I have put photos of him as a puppy and an adult in my photo album if you would like to see my handsome red boy!