Rudolf (1995-2006)

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I got sad news by email today. Rudolf was put to sleep 3:55pm Wednesday. It's been a few hours since I got the message, but it's only now sinking in. My dog is dead.

The last time I saw Rudolf was last summer.

UPDATE: The above picture is from summer 2005. We had taken Rudolf for a 30-minute walk, and midway across a pedestrian bridge he just stopped. His back was hurting, and he didn't want to walk any more. I ended up carrying him another 15 minutes or so until we got to where we were going.

Rudolf remained with my mom after I moved out. He had gotten a older, and his back did seem to bother him a little. He was still the loving little dog I took to obedience classes. My mom had spoiled him over the last few years, but he would still obey my commands, after seeing him only a few weeks for the past several years. When he came into the kitchen to beg for food I only had to look at him before he turned around and went back to the living room.

He would walk nicely next to my leg, without a leash, even several years after the last time we trained. A large part of that was probably because I would carry treats.

Rudolf was a very food-driven dog. One Christmas, he unzipped a backpack, tore open a wrapped gift, opened the plastic wrapper, and ate most of a pack of chocolate-covered nuts. On another occasion, he almost finished an entire loaf of bread (he somehow got it down from a table). That was the only time I was him not finish anything he started eating.

Although he was fearless in his hunt for food, some things did scare him. Every New Year's Eve, Rudolf would hide in the upstairs bathroom. The sound of fireworks would make him shake.

One of my fondest memories is playing with him in a park near my mom's old house, when he was still a puppy. I climbed up on a rock, and I called him. Rudolf kept trying to climb up the rock, but it was to tall. After a little coaxing, he figured out that if he just ran around the rock, he could get to me. Rudolf was so happy when he finally learned how to get to me. It was great to watch him learn and develop.

Rudolf loved laying up on the couch (at least after he had gotten groomed, and his fur was short) and being petted. However, in the last few months of his life, it became hard to get up on the couch. He also needed help getting down.

The pain medication was not enough any more. Muscle relaxant did not help either, and Rudolf was in pain whenever he walked. Occasionally, he had problems laying down.

Sometimes when the doorbell rang he'd forget about his back, and jump up. People visiting my mom could hear him scream out in pain.

My mom has been thinking about this for a long time, but it still feels sudden. How can you be prepared for the death of a pet?

Rudolf was my first dog, and he will always be special. At least he went to sleep peacefully.

He first got a shot of sleeping medicine. My mom and Rudolf got to be alone in a room. He walked around, with his tail slightly wagging, excited about the smells in the room. He got more and more tired, and my mom sat down on the floor and got his upper body in her lap. He fell asleep in her lap.

The vet then put him on a table, and gave him a lethal injection. Rudolf stopped breathing within a couple of minutes.

My mom said it was good to see him lay down and be at peace.

I believe this was the right thing to do, and I hope Rudolf has found a comfortable spot and plenty of treats in doggie heaven.

Rudolf - you will be missed. Thanks for all the good times and memories. I hope you are in a better place.


Hi Kris, I'm sorry to hear about Rudolf. Sounds like he had a good long life, though.
Hobie looks so much like Rudolf. It's uncanny. Are their personalities alike as well? Hobie's little booties are really cute.

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This page contains a single entry by Kris published on August 3, 2006 7:08 AM.

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