Monday, April 20, 2009

This can be the funnest place in the world......

Or, the most dangerous place in the world, depending on how you look at it.
I personally, had looked at it from my dogs point of view.

The dogs think, wheeeee, fun! Run and spalsh and play in the water! Yeehaw~!

I no longer see it that way. I see it as the place where the bad things live.
I see it as dangerous, forbidding, scary,........ deadly.

Several weeks ago, I had the brilliant idea to take the dogs down to the pond for a swim, and then down to the creek through a small path in the woods that we had made from our frequent forays through there over the last year since we had found this fun and wonderful place to play on the back part of our neibhoers adjoining property.

Since we have been traversing the trail for quite some time, we had developed a false sense of security. Nothing bad had ever happened before, so we started going as the weather turned nicer and nicer, more frequently, and had become less and less concerned about the creepy crawlies that we may run across. We just plunged right on through the woods without a care in the world. Our main goal and concern being who could get there first, and the fastest.

My best friend of 9 years, my constant companion, who doesnt care to get there first, he just cares that he and I dont loose track of each other and that both of us land there at the same time, and perferably side by side, which is how he has lived his entire life, being vigilantly close beside me, is my GSD Cain.
No better protector and loyal friend have I ever had in my lifetime, and Ive never met a more devoted, lay down his life for me in a heart beat kind of devotion than that with which Cain has provided for me since we joined in our partnership 9 years ago.

Cain was a big brother to all other animals. A kindly grandpa to puppies, and a patient teacher to those that would try to take his place as Head of Security, Head Master, Top Dog, and my all around Number 1. He has never hurt anyone or anything. But for the same token, he has never shirked his duties to protect me and mine and has always put himself in between me and what he percieves as a dangerous situation.
Cain is a certified therapy dog, and has worked extensivly with physically and mentally handicapped children. He is extremely good with Autistic children, and Down Syndrom effected people, adults and children alike. He then moved on as he proved himself and was able to become certified at the highest level that a dog can be certified in, to working with burn patients, perferably, again children. He worked with kids to help them move and stretch, a painful process, and one that children were loath to do because it caused them pain. Bring a dog into the picture, and a handful of treats and a soft brush, a big head to pet and a few stupid pet tricks and the calm and gentle, patient,non demanding presence of Cain into the picture, and Cain was able to achomplish with children what physical therapists could not. To watch Cain at work, would bring tears to ones eyes, and had to a many a parent that witnessed the change and effect that Cain had on their children as he helped them through their physical therapy. Cain personified the words Noble, Grand, Intelligent, Kind, Loving, Patient, Empathy, Loyality, and All Heart. He would lay down his life for me, and maybe thats exactly what he was doing, putting himself yet once again between me and what he percieved as a danger to me.
Where am I going with this rambling you ask?
Well, Cain was bit by a very large Copperhead viper almost 4 weeks ago while on one of our excursions to the creek.
I wasnt aware that he was biten for several weeks after the bite,(he was bitten on his elbow and it was hidden from all the hair, and his symptoms werent A typical of snake bite) but he was quite sick.

I had been nurse maiding him, and while he was still surviving on my bad cooking and McDonalds cheese burges and anything else I could get him to eat) he had lost 30 lbs and I wasnt seeing him getting any better. When I discoved the snake bite, I was ecstatic. I thought I knew what was wrong with him now, and all we needed to do was get him back to the vet and get some meds and all would be well and right in our world again.
As it is some times in life, things arent always as cut and dried as they seem. Or, as we would like for them to be.
Through a series of bloodwork and another exam from Dr. Williams, it was discovered that Cain had developed a heart murmer, that his kidneys were failing, and the great possibility that the liver was soon to follow. And he had become diabetic. Our options were few, and there was the strong possibility that even had we put the time and energy into trying to save him, it would have bought him only a short time longer with us, and that time wasnt going to be easy on him.
I felt it was my duty to Cain to give him a free pass on this one. He has given so much of himself through out his life, to me, to my family, friends he new and loved, strangers, it didnt matter. If you held out your hand in friendship, he was your friend, and that to Cain, meant giving you his all.
Dr. Williams told me yesterday that he was surprised in his condition that he was even still alive and getting around, and that it was due in large part to his intestinal fortitude. His strong character, and his unwillingness to give up. (and maybe even a little to my bad cooking)

I couldnt allow Cain's life to end in the Vet Hospital, although he was confident, happy and comfortable laying on the floor in the exam room, it was to sterile and white washed. I didnt want this to be the last place he saw. I wanted him to feel as if he were going home, and so we layed a sheet on the back seat of my truck, and took Cain out to the truck and helped him in. I rolled down the windows so he could feel the sun and cool breeze and he lay down on the seat and lifted his head into the sun, enjoying the breeze through the open windows and he was smiling. Even as thin and puiny as he had become, he still took up the entire seat. I started the truck and we let it idle, and I held Cains head in my hands and buried my face in his as I wispered in his ear to him what a grand fella he was and how much I loved him and he quickly and easily fell into his eternal slumber.
I did take Cain home, and we buried him under some trees on a hill that he liked to stand on and observe his world, his domain. Im glad that Cain is no longer in misery and pain that he beared so silently and bravely. Im happy that he has crossed the Bridge, and is free. I hope and pray that my loss is his gain. I could never explain the relationship that Cain and I shared. It was more intimate than any other dog I have ever had, it was the most precious friendship that Ive ever known. We Trusted in each other implicitly. Never questioned each others decisions, and no matter what, I knew he always had my back, and he knew I had his. We lived in perfect unison. Ive known a many a man that could have taken a page from the book of Cain, he was better in every way than any human I have ever known.

RIP My Loyal Friend
I Love You...

Cain 3-17-00 To 4-20-09


Laura said...

I am so so sorry to hear this, Darci. Cain sounds like one in a million, and the relationship you had was obviously a very special one. He took good care of you, and, though it was hard to do, you took good care of him at the end of his life. Godspeed, Cain!

Kathy said...


I am so sorry to hear about Cain. He sounds like he was a very special boy in your life. Your story brings tears to my eyes.

Take care,

An English Shepherd said...

Sorry to read about Cain and what happened to him.

But this is a lovely post about him and how much he meant to you.

Laura Carson said...

I'm just so very sorry about Cain - and my heart aches for you. What a hard decision - one I hope that when I'm faced with it that I'll be able to do the right thing with as much grace and dignity, and strength, as you have my friend.

Darci's Mom said...

I write this with tears streaming down my cheeks. As your mother, I know the love you have always had for your animals, and I know what a caring and loving person you are. You have written a beautiful eulogy for your best friend and you saw to it that the last thing Cain saw was you and God's beautiful world outside. Yes, it was a difficult decision you made, but you know it was the right one. (When it's your turn to depart your earthly body), Cain will be waiting for you in the "Rainbow Bridge Meadow" so that you and he can cross the "Rainbow Bridge" together into Heaven. Know that he is frolicking in the 'Meadow' free of pain and suffering, and he will never forget how special you made his life for nine years. I love you.

Dancing shepherdess said...

I am so sorry Darci. I know how special Mr. Cain was to you.

Ellie said...

Darci, I'm so sad to hear about the loss of Cain. He sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime dog. He was lucky to have someone who loved him as much as you do.

Take care,

Loretta Mueller said...


I am so sorry beyond belief about Cain...what a handsome boy and what an amazing dog.

Prayers to you,


Kelly said...

I am so sorry for your loss, I understand the connection you had with your dog and its one in a million. My mom also had a dog die from a copperhead bite about 2 years ago.

Chasing The Dog said...

what a beautiful tribute to a wonderful, brave, kind dog. I am so sorry for your loss.

BCxFour said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you Darci.