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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This will be the last part of our story. Thank you all for letting me share it with you. Writing this series has brought back so many memories of Watson, and all of them good ones. Here are some of my favorite ones:

  • The way he would put his big head on the bed in the mornings, inches from my face, wagging his tail so hard the bed would shake. I would open my eyes and look into his perfect brown ones and see a happy dog who couldn’t wait to get me up and moving. I was his world too.
  • The way he always laid on the floor by the tub when we took a shower. Stepping over a big yellow dog dripping wet to get your towel was just normal. Even if it wasn’t the shower, he still HAD to be in the bathroom with you.
  • The way he would wait for the last bite of whatever I was eating. I always saved the last bite for him. His unblinking stare, the Pavlov’s Dog drool slowly coming out of both sides. It wasn’t begging, it was patiently waiting for what was rightfully his. And the way he would take that last bite of cracker, his little front teeth oh so carefully taking each piece as it got smaller and smaller until I placed the last crumb on his tongue. People marveled at this.
  • The way he couldn’t walk through a partially open door. He never learned to push it open, and would stand, face at the door, waiting for someone to open it for him. No whining or barking, just a silent statue who had faith it would magically open.
  • The way he would lay his face on the chair or sofa and rest it there for several moments. He wasn’t waiting for us to tell him it was okay; it was his privilege to sleep on the furniture. It was almost as if he was asking the chair for permission, and then slowly climb up and settle in.
  • The way he would get in the middle of the sofa, with us at each end, roll over on his back and ‘peddle the bike’. Back legs just going crazy, peddling the bike as he snorted and sneezed and grabbing at hands with his big mouth. One of us rubbed the butt, the other let him ‘nibble the fleas’ on a sleeve. Monkey in the Middle. The sounds he made were hilarious, garbled throaty growls and moans as he talked to us.
Our adult Watson was the most gentlemanly of dogs. He had a calm sense about him, almost an air of knowledge and experience that made him uniquely different. He was almost human in so many ways.

His energy declined steadily after the age of 10. He was unsteady on the stairs, so we got carpeting. He got up more slowly, and made old man noises when he laid down. Our walks went from 2-mile jogs in the mornings, to 1-mile jogs. Squirrels and rabbits were no longer chased with the territorial ferocity he once had.

By age 12, 1 mile turned into half a mile walks, but we still walked every morning. It was Old Dog Walking, and I started to realize what had happened…Watson was old. We would never run again.

Eventually Watson stopped going up the stairs, so we didn’t have him sleeping by the bed anymore. He couldn’t get on the sofa or chair. Going up the short stairs at the back door was becoming difficult. It was surreal to me, to have to help this big strong dog up a few steps. He couldn’t get in the Jeep anymore, and even the small car was hard to get in and out of. He was an old dog now.

We still took him to Lowes, where everyone knew his name. Seeing people was so good for his soul, so we went often even if we had nothing to buy. This reminds me of a time in Lowes where Watson, age 8, was mistaken for a service dog. A handicapped boy of about 13 was in a wheelchair with his parents/caregivers, and they brought the boy over to us. The boy was blind and mostly deaf, and the man asked if he could pet the dog, so we introduced Watson. I squatted down to be on their level and hold him steady. It was a beautiful interaction. The boy couldn’t talk, but his squeals of delight at touching Watson spoke volumes. He squeezed the dog and dug his fingers into his face. We helped him pet his ears, which were incredibly soft. The woman looked terrified, but the man kept saying “this is good, he’s learning!”. Watson stood steady and never flinched. He allowed the boy to roughly pet him and pinch him and pull his fur. The squealing and vocals of the boy were very loud, but Watson didn’t mind. The boy put his mouth on Watson’s face and was almost tasting him. This went on for several minutes; Watson standing with his eyes half closed, and the boy grabbing and smiling and squealing. It was just amazing. I was so proud of him. As we were parting, the man realized that Watson was not at all a service dog, and apologized. We said no problem, this is what he does. Watson makes people happy.

We dealt with the surgeries and the cancer. When he got really sick in February, the prognosis was 3 months to live. It’s cancer, but he was also old. His arthritis was getting bad. His back and his hips made getting around difficult. We bought his jingle-jangle harness that he came to rely on. It was like tacking up a horse every day. Vets and medicines and changes in diet, we did it all. The pills were no problem. 16-18 a day, tucked into pieced of hot dogs. Watson loved medicine time. His appetite was good, hydration was good, and each and every day we got up and we went out. He would still bring me toys and I got on the floor with him. We played, we talked, we took car rides, we took walks, we rolled in the grass. We lived. Life was good.

The day after his 13th birthday, Watson told us it was time. At 4 in the morning, he laid down in the grass and didn’t get up. We carried him inside and spent that last day holding him, talking to him, and loving him. I look back now and think how lucky we were that we could spend that time, that his pain was minimal, and that he was going to leave us on his own. I spent every minute by his side, his fur wet with my tears, and then we realized that this, this terrible yet normal thing could take much longer. I keep telling myself it was time. He was so ready to go. He was never getting up again, the shine had gone from his eyes, and still the hours ticked by. We made the decision. And as we waited for the vet, we shared our last ‘last bite’ of a turkey sandwich together, Watson and I.

The vet who came to our home was wonderful, and if ever there could be a good death, Watson had one. He left us with love and peace and without fear or pain.

Thank you, Watson, for being my spirit dog. You made me a better human being. You will live forever in my heart.

You had a beautiful life.
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So sad, but beautifully told. He had the kind of life with you that any Golden would want. You were blessed with each other.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
So sad, but beautifully told. He had the kind of life with you that any Golden would want. You were blessed with each other.
Thank you, I think I can move to another level of grieving now. This message board has made a big difference in the process.
 

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I can tell from your storeis that Watson was greatly loved, and he greatly loved you back. You gave him the best life a golden could ever have.......
 
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Just beautiful. I've enjoyed your memories so very much! He was obviously so loved.
 
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Thank you for sharingWatson's stories and pictures with us. Watson had a wonderful life and left you with heartwarming memories to cherish and share.
 

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I have tears in my eyes, but thank you so much for sharing your wonderful memories of precious Watson x
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
And now I will say goodbye to all of you, my friends. This forum has been my salvation, and I will be forever grateful. I can't come back to read about new puppies, or the loved ones who have passed, or read what those lovely silly Dawg's are up to with their picnics and parties and tunnels. I will miss everyone, but it's just too sad for me.
 

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And now I will say goodbye to all of you, my friends. This forum has been my salvation, and I will be forever grateful. I can't come back to read about new puppies, or the loved ones who have passed, or read what those silly Dawg's are up to with their picnics and parties and tunnels. I will miss everyone, but it's just too sad for me.
I understand how you feel. Was the same when I lost my two sweet dogs within a week in 2017. I hope you will someday find it in your heart to love another pup. It helped us heal and brought such happiness back into our lives. You'll know when the time is right.
 

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I do understand. I hope your heart continues to heal. Maybe someday you will love another pup, I
m sure Watson would like that. Please come back anytime. I'll miss you and keep you in my thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's been two months, and I have been back here to re-read Part 5 several times now. I am so glad I wrote this. I cry and feel my heart ache and break again, and I remember how wonderful our lives were with that silly dog. I will always have tears for my dear Watson.
 

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It is good to hear that you are doing alright. To this day a photo of my Pepper from 1975 still brings a tear to my eye. Sometimes when I missing loved ones (human and furry) I just run a hot tub and go in, lock the door, soak and have a good cry, I feel better after. Soon the memories will start to warm your heart and bring a smile to your face.
 

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And now I will say goodbye to all of you, my friends. This forum has been my salvation, and I will be forever grateful. I can't come back to read about new puppies, or the loved ones who have passed, or read what those lovely silly Dawg's are up to with their picnics and parties and tunnels. I will miss everyone, but it's just too sad for me.
Watson lives on in your posts here. I hope you grieve and heal and someday allow another dog will fill your heart and make you smile. I think they teach us too much about how to love to never share it with another dog.
 
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