When All Is Said & Done!
Anyone who has ever had a dog knows what they bring into the lives of a family. If you care for them from their puppy days it can often feel as though you are raising a newborn and toddler. From the barking and whining keeping you up at night, constant feeding and having to discipline to set the house rules almost mirror one another. However, once these rules are learned and everyone settles into a routine, life goes on in a wonderful way.
This happen for us in late 2007. Lynden’s mother and I drove to the local shelter and prepared to pick out a pup for Lynden who was four then. The moment we walked into the kennel area every dog jumped to the fences and began barking loudly. We looked and looked but was unsure what canine would make the best pet for our family. Then I noticed that one lone puppy was not jumping against the fence and barking. This golden pup was sitting at the back of the kennel as quiet as could be with a look of confusion of what was going on with the commotion.
Right then it hit me, this was the dog for Lynden! We picked out this beautiful golden colored puppy and paid for her adoption. When the owner of the kennel placed her in our hands, the poor girl trembled as she tried to wag her tail just a little. We climbed into the car and headed towards home to surprise Lynden.
All the ride home, this puppy said in the floorboard as quiet as a mouse and almost too shy to look up and around. She was furry, had the saddest eyes a dog could have and was as docile as a teddy bear. We had Lynden close his eyes and sat this new addition in front of him with no idea what his surprise was. Lynden opened his eyes and loved this puppy. Then came time to give his new puppy a name and after some thinking, decided on the name Raskel (Rascal spelled Lynden’s way).
Being that our house was small, Raskel became an outside dog as she grew. We fenced off a portion of the yard, built her an insulated dog house and settled in with a routine and new way of living with her.
Raskel would become a full grown golden retriever mixed with whomever her other parent was and became just another part of our family. Then came the walks, car rides, vet visits and baths that comes with owning a dog. Raskel did not like water, in fact she almost refused to use the restroom outside if it was raining and when winter time would arrive, would only come out to take care of her business before returning to her house and staying there until the snow was completely gone.
Four years later, Raskel would become my responsibility after my divorce and we moved her house to my new home. No matter how much this dog lived with me, she always lit up when she heard Lynden’s voice or seen him come around the corner. There has always been a bond between them that has lasted to this day.
After six years as an outside dog, it was the winter of 2012 that was quite bitter it was decided that Raskel would become an inside dog and I have to say that with no training of any kind, she took to being a house dog right away and with almost no issues at all. I had an old couch in the spare room that became her own bed which she would use for two years before wearing it out. Then she would claim a large ottoman as hers and began taking long naps on it.
Fast forward eleven years as 2007 became 2018 and the once gold and fluffy young pup became
an eleven year old senior with thinning hair that had turned dark brown. Still not one to make a sound, Raskel became such a part of our day to day lives that we nicknamed her Rumple Stilskin because she come to take long naps throughout the day, only to wake up to eat and go outside.
Raskel began to slow with age, yet was still the same pup we always knew. She developed arthritis with slowed her more but yet she charged onward. Then one day a couple of weeks ago while having her nails trimmed, an exam of a growth revealed that Raskel had developed cancer. For the first time, I had to speak with my children about Raskel’s time ‘getting up there’ and that our time would run out someday. Little did we know that that someday would be closer than we thought.
Not quite one week ago, Raskel began to whine and stir on her bed. I decided that the growth might be causing discomfort and looked to have it removed. It would not be 24 hours later that I woke to take her out and discovered she had difficulty walking. Raskel went to the restroom but almost could not walk back inside to her bed. I helped her up and she would go back to napping. This would be the last time Raskel could walk on her own and as the next day went by she began to fall out of bed in the night and need to be picked up.
The time had come but being this pup was Lynden’s pup, it had to be his decision as her owner. Not wanting Raskel to suffer, he made the choice and I made the appointment the following day. I broke the news to Ethan and Rylen who were said and both had a good cry. The appointment was set for noon the next day and when eleven thirty arrived, the boys arrived to spend Raskel’s final day with her. We cried, hugged her and placed her in the car and drove her to the vet. Laying her down on the blanket, I kiss this pup for the final time and left Lynden to say farewell to the friend who had been in his life since he was four. When all was said and done, Lynden and I laid Raskel to rest next to the pond on my parents farm and said farewell.
One day it will be time for each of us to be part of our own ‘Said & Done’ and as Raskel left us memories we will carry to that day, we can make memories for those who will live beyond us. When all is said & done, what will your life say about you!? Rest in peace Raskel 2007- 2018.
“Death smiles at us all, man has the same right to smile back!” — Maximus