A Very Good Dog – Watson

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

It’s been a bad year for my kids’ dogs. First we lost Hank back in the summer. That was my son’s dog. Now Watson, my son-in-law’s big German Shepherd had to be put down on Saturday morning. Last blog, I mentioned he was having some problems and they were taking him to a vet as they came home. For a couple of days he seemed better. At least was walking and more alert. But then on Friday morning when all the crew was supposed to be here for our Christmas festivities, we decided to take the dogs out to stretch their legs before the grandkids arrived.

We had already decided to keep the dogs and the grandkids separate since Watson wasn’t feeling well and the other dog, Jaks, has never been real keen on little ones wanting to love on him. My little granddaughter, Jillian, has a new puppy in her house. They’re the ones who lost Hank a few months back. So they got a black lab mix and he’s the cutest thing. Also very puppyish and energetic. Jillian is two and a half and she loves Coal and will just plop a hug on him with no warning. That’s fine with him and with my dog, but we weren’t sure it would be fine with Jaks and Watson. So we had it planned out to keep them in a room far from the craziness. But first we wanted them to have a bit of exercise.

While we were out, something happened to Watson. Perhaps a stroke. He couldn’t go. Again it was off to another vet who did the best he could to keep him going until they could get back to SC. They headed home that afternoon, a day earlier than they had planned, and went to their vet who said nothing could be done to help Watson. So they had to say goodbye to their faithful friend.

Watson was an exceptionally intelligent and good dog. Understood many words. Knew all our names. Loved to stay close to his people and be ready in case they needed anything. When he was younger he disdained the usual sticks most dogs fetched. He liked to pick up big branches, and carry them. You had to make sure you gave him plenty of room when you were walking with him or he’d whack your legs with his branch. Accidentally of course. He didn’t like storms and once when I was dog sitting, I had to sleep in the guest bedroom so he could lay close to me until the storm was past. He was a very good dog. Even if he did occasionally dig his nose in the trashcans when you were away and spread bits of paper all over the house. He had a very good eleven years with people who loved him. But no matter how old a dog gets, you’re never really ready to say goodbye. I’ve had to put down two dogs and I still get teary-eyed when I think about Jody and Max. Now to make matters worse, my current dog, Dub, has some serious health issues and it’s not looking too good for him. I haven’t been without a dog since I was around nine or ten. I was supposed to get a lab mix puppy for Christmas, but all the pups found homes before I got mine. Their owner’s dad didn’t realize the last puppy had been promised and he gave it away to someone else. I’m not worried about that. There are a lot of puppies and dogs out there waiting to find new homes. But first I have to see if there’s anything to be done to help Dub.

Actually losing a dog seems a minor thing when you see all the bad things happening in the newspaper. There was a house fire that killed three children. A truck driver was shot seemingly at random on a highway in Texas. A small girl was horribly abused and died. And that’s the headlines. Other personal tragedies are happening all the time. Families splitting up. Terminal illnesses. Loss of jobs. Home foreclosures. And so many other hard times. Still we can’t help but be sad as we hear the echo of Watson’s ferocious bark (Nobody was going to break into their house!) and the tap of his toenails on the hardwood floor. You dog owners out there understand.

So there was a shadow of sadness over our Christmas gathering. But it was still good. The kids had fun opening their presents. My three-year-old granddaughter, Katie, took most of the day to open hers because she was ready to play with or wear whatever she opened as soon as she saw it. The other kids opened and moved on, hoping for something even more exciting in the next box.

I took a picture of the new babies under the tree. They’re my best Christmas gift. I’ve been blessed with some beautiful grandbaby gifts under the tree over the last few years. I had doubles a couple of years back with Katie and Jillian arriving six months apart, but this year the double blessing was a true double even though the twins don’t look much alike. But they both smiled and enjoyed everybody admiring them at Christmas. My other daughter-in-law is expecting in April so we’ll have another grandbaby present under the tree next year. Even more reason to check with a builder about adding on a room. It’s either that or start having Christmas in shifts!!!

Hope you are all looking forward to a great New Year. Darrell will be singing in the New Year as he has nearly every year for the last thirty some. And I guess I’ll be listening. It’s not a bad way to bring in the New Year – with good gospel music reminding us of the love of God and His amazing grace. How are you planning to usher in 2009? However you bring in the New Year, I do hope it brings you joy.

Talk to you New Year’s Eve.