Friday, January 2, 2009

Ozzie & Me

This is Ozzie the last day of his life. A friend and I went to see Marley & Me today. A really well done movie, but take a box of Kleenex if you haven't seen it (trust me, you will need more than one tissue). We all know how the movie will end, but it still tears the heart apart. You can see from the Picture his front legs were supporting him, his hips had finally given out.

This picture was taken a couple of hours before I took him to the vet to put him down. I think that was the hardest loss I have yet endured.
Ozzie was with me through the best and the absolute worst and the climb back to the best. He was really a great dog all the way around.

When I brought him home from the pound he was 1 1/2 years old and 75 pounds. I called my ex-husband and he said to me, "you know labs grow for three years." That was my first "oh shit" moment. He chased my cats for awhile, so the first month I had him he slept at the end of a leash. That's how he got in the habit of sleeping on my bed. The first six months with him were hell. He was out of hand entirely. I got a trainer and she saved his life and my sanity, and I ended up with the best dog on the planet (I'm not biased at all).

Most of life with Ozzie was uneventful. There were little moments that made me laugh. He was out in the back yard in his dog house and I was in cleaning. I peaked out the back door to check on him and a squirrel was drinking out of his water bowl that was maybe two feet away. Ozzie was laying there watching him and then looked over and saw me. I could see the "oops" in his eyes. He jumped up and chased the squirrel out of the yard. I encouraged him to get after squirrels, I had a peach tree.

We hiked a lot. There were a lot of off leash places to go in Boulder. Our favorite was Marshall Mesa because there was an irrigation ditch. Ozzie was never a swimmer, but he liked to wade and cool off. He was a lot like Marley. When he started out it was a drag me event, and as he got older we equaled out for awhile, and as his hips got worse, he would walk behind, or I would walk slower so he could keep up. I remember walking him one day, and his hips just gave out and he couldn't get back up. I got him home, but didn't walk him after that. I kept him alive for another month, but then it just got too difficult to get him up and down the stairs to take care of business.

I stayed with him while the vet euthanized him. He was ready to go and went quietly. I had him cremated and was going to take his ashes to Marshall Mesa, but I haven't gotten there yet. Now he hangs out on my table and watches over Callie.

The car I drive I bought so he could fit in it, the life I created was so he could be a part of it, and then I fell apart. But he stayed with me, and he loved me when I didn't love myself. I think if he could have hugged me he would have. When I had to consider being homeless, I always considered him, giving him up was not an option, it would have killed me. In a way he saved my life much the way so many others did. He was always a consideration even though I was so lost. He was my main man and the love of my life. No one has loved me the way he did. He did it so well, he was so easy, he took care of me in ways I was never aware of and I am grateful he was in my life. I was glad that I was able to be with him when he left his. Dogs will love us unconditionally no matter who we are, what we believe, or even if we don't shower for a day. In my opinion all dogs deserve the absolute very best we can give them.

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