Last Monday, on Groundhog Day, we made the difficult decision to put our dear old dog and friend to sleep.
We got Woody 15 years ago from our vet, he was living temporarily at the clinic and in need of a home~our home!
Our story together is universal to all animal lovers and pet owners. In our case his lifetime spanned the years when the kids were growing up. Our collective family memories of Woody bring us lots of laughs to offset our sadness.
It is fitting he left on Groundhog Day, he chased many generations of groundhogs; his short legs flying, tail wagging, body propelling down the hill to their holes.
The night we put him to rest was cold, clear and moonlit. Bob and Beau had already dug a hole, which had filled with about 8 inches of water. Bob lay on the cold, frozen, muddy ground and scooped the water out with a pitcher. After we buried Woody, Bob stepped through 18 inch deep snow to get a large stone slab from one of my flower beds. I stood by Woody's grave, a Great-Horned Owl calling, Orion above us and in the far distance Coyotes yipping. I could see Bob slowly making his way back with the staggering weight of the stone slab in his arms. (Atlas? Hercules?) About halfway back, he slows, stops, and sits. Massive stone on his lap. I'm alarmed...! Yelling up, asking if he's ok. He says he's just resting! I go to him, offer to help carry the stone, which he declines. After a break, Bob brings the slab to Woody's grave and lays it down. (When we got the stone; we moved it and installed it using the tractor. I'm wondering if my husband is a superhero.)
The house has an emptiness despite the two cats and I love my cats! In fact, our 16 year old cat meowed a strange meow and lay down right next to Woody just before we left for the vet. Animals know don't they?
You know how they say you have that "one" dog in a lifetime? This guy was "the one" for us.