We adopted Auggie from the Animal Shelter on August 9th, 1998.
Auggie was a hero dog. When Kathy slipped on the icy deck and broke her leg, she passed out on the ground (meanwhile, Chris was in Australia). Auggie and Moose licked her in the face to wake her up. She had to crawl up the deck and into the house to reach a telephone to call for help. Both dogs stayed quietly with her until help arrived.
Auggie died of liver cancer on August 2nd, 2010. He had been slowing down for three months, but we attributed it to his advancing arthritis and general old age. Perhaps it was. In any event, we took him to the vet and they diagnosed liver cancer and gave him a few weeks to live. The last week was hard, but it gave us a chance to say goodbye over an extended time. Saturday night he was fine, ate plenty of turkey. But Sunday morning he was clearly in distress. Why does it have to be on Sunday? We couldn’t take him to the emergency vet for euthanasia because his enlarged liver made any kind of carrying impossible, and he was shaky on his legs. So one of us stayed with him outside all day; that way he could relieve himself without concern. I dragged out a sleeping bag and spend the night next to him, but he was restless; he was mentally a bit addled and would wander away every few hours. I’d have to get up and chase after him -- it’s a good thing I’m a light sleeper. He kept wandering around as if looking for a place to pee, but could never decide. After relocating my sleeping bag several times, I hit upon the solution: when he got tired and plopped down, I finagled him onto a blanket and then dragged the blanket back to the proper place. Even so, I had to retrieve him four times. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. It was hard because he was obviously in discomfort. It’s hard to say that he was in pain -- Auggie has always been a wuss when it comes to pain, and I suspect he was more soggy-headed than in pain. Still, we cursed the bad luck that forced us to wait until Monday to have the vet euthanize him. I stayed by him all morning, petting him and telling him that it wouldn’t last much longer. The vet showed up at 10:15 AM. Auggie died at 10:30. We lifted him in his blanket into a wagon and wheeled the wagon to our pet graveyard, and buried him in a grave that I had been digging for a week. It proved to be large enough -- a serious concern of mine. We said goodbye.