Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One Man's Dog

This has been a very emotionally draining day. It didn't start out on the best note. Our dog Simba has been having problems with her hind legs for the last seven months and has had to have injections and steroids to help her cope. It's been working until this last episode. We noticed she was having problems again last night and this morning she simply couldn't get up, even with help.

We'd had her at the vet's last week and we were told that she probably has Cushing's Disease, common to older dogs. Simba is 14 years old and when I read up on this disease, I'd have to agree that she has many of the symptoms. There's no cure for it and treatment can be complicated and expensive, so we'd decided if Simba didn't improve, that we would not keep her alive for our own selfish interests. We just didn't think we'd have to make that decision so soon.

Back in the summer of 1994, Romie finally gave in to Jenna's begging for a dog. Jenna had heard that one of her friends had puppies and "could we
please go look at them?" We did, and came home with an adorable little black puppy that we were told was a mix of Black Lab, Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd and they-don't-know-who-the-father-was.

With The Lion King being a popular movie at the time, the girls wanted to name our new puppy Simba, even though in the movie Simba was a male, and our puppy was a female. So Simba it was, though over the years, she became known as Simbie, Simba Boo-Boo, and sometimes just Puppy.

If there ever was a dog with a more pleasant nature, I've never met it. Until recent years, Simba never even barked - unless the garbage cans were in view. I can't tell you how long it took us to figure that one out. For some reason, she really hated those garbage cans. In the last few months, she had started barking quite a bit because she had finally figured out that if she barked incessantly, we'd let her loose from her chain.

I didn't really mind her running around free, but it's against the law here, and she did roam over to the neighbors' places. As far as we know, our neighbors weren't bothered by her strolling through their yards and if she decided to "do her business" there, Romie went over with a shovel and picked it up.

What did irritate me though, was when she got into my gardens, and she did it quite often. She had one spot where she liked to lay in them, right up by the house, and Romie solved that one by putting a garbage can in front of it until she didn't try to lay there anymore. Fifty-five pounds of dog is more than most plants can take.

Most people know that we are both cat people, so Simba learned to live with cats from Day One. I remember when Max first came around, Simba gave him all kinds of grief. We never figured out what it was about Max specifically that caused Simba to torment him, but after a couple of years, they learned to co-exist. Maybe it was a swipe or two at the nose that put a stop to Simba chasing him.

Romie built Simba a doghouse early on, but she avoided it, even during snowstorms. She absolutely loved the snow and thought nothing of curling up for a nap during a raging snowstorm until she was so covered by snow that we couldn't see her. No nice warm doghouse for her! Then we bought her a plastic one and she avoided that one too, until one day she decided she would check it out. Something suited her and she used it all the time after that.

Like most animals, she hated thunderstorms. Though she'd grown quite deaf, she could detect an approaching storm way before we could. She'd get antsy and prance around, whimpering a bit, until we put her in the garage where she somehow felt safe, even though she could still hear the thunder.

In fourteen years, we accumulated a lot of memories with our Simba. Jenna was 11 years old when we got her; Kara was 14. Both girls are married now. I'm sure Simba missed them as much as we did when they moved away. And that was when Romie and Simba became such good friends. They have taken a walk nearly every night for the last several years and when Romie wasn't up to it or got too busy, Simba made her presence known to remind him they hadn't taken their walk yet.

Romie called me from work this morning to see how Simba was doing and I didn't have good news. Even with me helping her, she couldn't put any weight on either her hind or front legs. She wouldn't drink water when it was offered. She had no light in her cataract-filled eyes. We both knew that the time had come to do what was best for her.

We were both in the treatment room when Simba left this world. There were many tears shed, both there and after we got home. While Simba is romping happily on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, her earthly body is in our garden, along with past beloved pets. We'll put a memorial stone there.

We've received many condolences already and we appreciate them. We know many of you have been where we are right now. Our yard was eerily quiet this evening. In time, we'll get used to the silence, but right now we just remember the good times with Simba. She was a good dog.



garden girl said...

What a wonderful companion Simba was. I'm so sorry for your loss Kylee.

Bob said...

Kylee and Romie, as I have said already - Simba and Laddie are having a wonderful time as they wait for us. Wow, my eyes are leaking, AGAIN.

Anonymous said...

She was a great friend and companion to your family. I'm sorry for your loss. I loss my little dog Pepper last fall to liver disease and it was hard. They become a part of your family.

greenlegs80 said...

Thanks, MoM...for the beautiful tale of Simba. I'm so glad we stopped out last night. Even though we didn't get to see her, I still felt like it was some sort of a goodbye to her, just by us being there. We loved that dog, and she loved us. I don't think there is another one out there quite like her. I love you!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Kylee, I'm so sorry about Simba. I know this must be very difficult for both you and Romie.

Nancy J. Bond said...

It's always so sad to say farewell to a beloved pet. I'm so sorry for your loss and feel your pain. She was a beauty. That top photo is breathtaking.

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

What a wonderful written memorial to a devoted member of your family. My heart has been with you both yesterday and today. Know that you and Romie are in my thoughts and prayers. And Simba is with you too even though you can't see her.


Anonymous said...

I had a companion doggie like Simba and I don't know if I could ever go through the loss again. I'm crying for you cause I remember the pain. Lots of hugs for you over the next few weeks as you heal but never forget.

Anonymous said...

She does sound like a good dog and worthy companion for many years. I'm sorry for your loss.

Earth Girl said...

I'm sorry, Kylie and Romie.

Katie said...

Best wishes to you and your family during this time. Losing a pet is always so hard.

I love the pictures and stories you chose to share. I can't imagine our life without pets - the bring so much joy during their years with us.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh Kylee and Romie, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your sweet Simba. What a beauty she was. What a happy life she had with you despite those awful garbage cans. Blessings, Peace and memories, Lisa

Sweet Home and Garden Carolina said...

What a wonderful companion for 14 years, Kylee, and a great tribute you've written on her life.

Losing a treasured pet is like losing a member of the family and my thoughts are with you as you grieve at her loss.

Benjamin Vogt said...

My thoughts are with you. I've had to do this twice.

Unknown said...

{{{{{{{{{{{{{Kylee and Romie}}}}}}}}}}}}}

I'm sooooo sorry, dear heart! It's so very hard to be that brave and generous when a dear friend is starting to suffer. You did the right thing but I know how it hurts. My love to both of you, and to Simba for having been such a wonderful friend.

MrBrownThumb said...

Sorry for your loss.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I am thoroughly enjoying reading your current post. When I clicked on this link, I read about Simba, too. Our Katie, a yellow lab preferred my husband over anyone else. She had some of the same symptoms as Simba when she was 14, in 2003. She had lost most of her hearing, and had been having problems standing up. Our vet did not go to homes, so Larry called and found a vet who would, and I said my goodbye to her on our deck, and went inside while Larry stayed with her while the vet gave her the shot. When he first looked at her, he said it looked like she had been having strokes.

We go to his place, now, for Heidi, also a yellow lab. We got her a few months after Katie's death. I was so not ready to get another dog, but the same people we got Heidi from asked us to take her because the other family they had given her to did not want her anymore. She was 3 months old when we got her, and still has some issues 5 years later, but she likes me as well as she likes Larry.

Now, back to your other post!

Kylee Baumle said...

Wow...with Sue's recent comment, I realized I never responded to any of these wonderful expressions of sympathy. Thank you so much, each and every one of you and my apologies for this oversight.

I know that you have all been through this with your own pets and while we miss them terribly, we cherish the times we had with them and wouldn't trade them for anything, even though we always knew the day would come that they would leave us.

Again, thank you.

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