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I have been reading through a number of posts here, and while all our experiences are unique and different, I am struck by the common feelings of how powerful and loving the bond was that grew up between all of us and our beautiful Goldens.

We lost our neutered male, Goldspirit's Yukon Gold "Spud", at age 12, this week. Just a few days after his birthday. When I had made a rare foray to the pharmacy for a prescription about two weeks past, I bought him a little bag of Snausages treats for a birthday present. We never finished them.

He didn't suffer a long illness that prevented him from enjoying life until the very last few days. He was still excited for walks, for visitors, for his human and dog friends, dinner, treats and toys. Arthritis had slowed him a little, he couldn't jump up like he could only a few months ago, he couldn't go for long rambles without stiffening up afterwards, struggling up the stairs to bed at night, but his smile was there, his tail wagging, he could still get up quickly most days and rush to the door or frisk about at dinner time or walk time.

In the mornings he had a habit of waking me up once he had learned he could thump his tail on the wall next to my bed like a bass drum, and there his grinning mug would be inches from my pillow hanging over the blanket every morning without fail, "Get up, get up, its another day!" When he stopped that, and then stopped eating, and began wheezing and labored breathing we knew something must be quite wrong.

The trip to the vet with some slim hope it might be something passing or treatable was of course not normal because of Covid19 quarantine. We had to leave him in an outer vestibule and he vanished inside. We never saw him again. There were back and forth discussions on the telephone with the Vet and we realized as he had been sedated, that it would only confuse him if we picked him up in his drugged state, and it really wasn't for him perhaps as much as our own difficulty in letting him go. So with tears we authorized his being put down. I had lost an earlier Golden a few years before we got Spud, and held him in my arms when he received the kiss of death, I know that it was painless and quick, and if the dog was settled then there wasn't much we had to offer him. He was not clingy, he loved people and would have been quite happy with the vet I know. But in a word, it was awful. It was also a sudden shock.

Shortly before we brought Spud home as a puppy I had started to have quite severe but then undiagnosed PTSD symptoms related to a harrowing episode I had many decades before. After he came home, my life took a very dark turn as my demons and their accompanying anxiety and depression symptoms manifested themselves with force. It was life-destroying, and I very nearly lost my life during the worst of it. I was disabled from my long professional career which was a harsh blow indeed, and spent the better part of the next three or four years having great difficulty functioning just with daily living. Spud was an immense comfort not only to me, but especially to my dear wife, who was coping with my illness, the stresses of her career, and our transition from active parents to empty-nesters. For her he was able to be a companion when I was brought to ground and a greatly diminished husband. He was a rock. Forever cheerful, forever comforting, forever encouraging both of to be healthy and active with him.

In later years we went on numerous long road trips together through the West, and as one of my PTSD symptoms was irrational feelings of danger or being unsafe, being with him brought me feelings of comfort and security I can hardly put into words.

My three now adult children adored him. Our friends loved him. Strangers were forever stopping us on the street and asking after him. The dogs of neighbours and friends were always excited to see him and play with him. And true to breed he was an irrepressible retriever, to the point of being a knuckleheaded pain in the neck sometimes when we were trying to have a relaxing day on the dock at the lake, and the excitement and unbridled joy of swimming retrieving, in and out of the water, would go on and on nonstop for hours. Then he would collapse at night by the fire, sleep like a log, and start right back up the next day. Pure joy, it was impossible to stay annoyed with him for long, and I have never had a dog that was so immune to sulking when scolded. He knew perfectly well when we wanted him to stop doing something, and he was a stubborn, unconditionally loving soul, he would push his luck and always be smiling, maybe a little contrite sometimes.

With children, gentle. With other dogs, tolerant. With people, welcoming.

We are just gutted without him. I think it will take a long time before I stop looking for him in the house, and equally long to ever clean all his shedded hair out of every nook and cranny of the house and our cars. He was my shadow and within feet of me for the vast majority of the past twelve years. Very difficult to adjust these first few days.

RIP Spuddy, you were certainly greatly loved and are terribly missed.

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Spud was a beauty and it sounds like he was very loved. I'm so sorry for your loss. It leaves such a void. Give yourself time. My Luke was with me always like you described and I cried every day for six weeks when he passed. I still think of him every day and he passed last August. I hope your heart is comforted by the happy memories of all the love you shared together. Spud sounds like he was a wonderful dog.
 

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You wrote a beautiful tribute to your great dog Spud. He sounds like one extra special Golden. Most of us know how devastating this feels. I hope you find comfort in thinking about the wonderful life he had with you and your wife.
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss of dear Spud and that you couldn't be there for his last moments. He was clearly very loved and enjoyed life to the fullest. I know what you mean by not getting used to him being gone from the house. My golden died in March and sometimes I still think I see her on the couch or on my mom's bed. It's unsettling. The pain lessens with time but it's not an easy thing to let them go. I wish you and your wife peace during this difficult time.
 

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You have my deepest empathy for the loss of your Spud. That was a beautiful tribute to him, and I think you described the perfect dog. I am also happy that you had him in your life. I cry every day for my dear Watson, who passed on May 18th, one day after his 13th birthday. I also wake up every morning with a piece of my heart gone, but I know it will get better with time. Be kind to yourself. As difficult as it is to let them go, we are blessed to have had them. They make us better humans.
 

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What a life that spud had! I am very sad for your loss and so grateful that his life left you with many wonderful memories.
 
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