Thursday, July 10, 2008

It Wasn't Supposed To End This Way




Gumbo and his big brother,Bear.

We lost Gumbo Monday morning. I dreaded telling you, because so many of you cared about the little pup. I had to hold the sad news for a few days anyway, as Emma was out of town and I did not want her to hear the news indirectly.


Gumbo had been making such progress, and although there were still some concerns, we thought we had made it.


I have never lost a puppy before.

All the dogs I've had as an adult have lived to a ripe old age. In fact, they've lived long lives that I couldn't have dreamed of as a kid, before heartworm prevention, when your Florida dog was almost guaranteed to die by 6 or 7 with a hacking cough and a heart full of worms.

The Roll Call:
Ranger = 16 years

Lady = probably at least that, her rescue status makes an exact age impossible to determine.

Flounder and Feather = slowing, but going great for 12 years.

When an old dog dies, you can console yourself with the knowledge that it was a good doggie life, probably as good as it gets with much love, food, and play. They prep you for their leaving with a slow winding down somewhere in their teens so that the shock is not too much for you to bear when time runs out.

It's so different this time and to be honest, it's very, very difficult to deal with this puppy's too short life. I think, because he was so ill for about half of his time with us, that we all gave him more attention than sweet, goofy Bear. Not that we loved him more, but Gumbo had the underdog thing going on.

Gumbo was such a fighter, in the best sense of the word. He went through so much ... a twin, a runt, an autoimmune disorder that made it touch and go too many times, a spine that wasn't quite right ...and yet he had such a spectacular last month. That makes his leaving all the more difficult to accept.

Something, not his spirit, but something broke in Gumbo Sunday night and he went downhill fast. At first, we thought it was an episode like he had gone through before, but in the wee hours, things took a turn for the worse.

We held him close and kept him comfortable, planning to be at the vet with him when they opened the doors the next morning.

He died in our arms around dawn.

I can't shake the feeling that I failed him.

I'm not cried out yet, so I'm going to take a little break from Pure Florida for a few days, ... play with Bear a lot,hug Flounder and Feather's big old necks, go to sea, and try to get on with it.

I'll be back when I feel witty and semi-interesting again.

I'm just not there yet.








Note: This post would have been published early this morning, but sweet, goofy Bear chewed the phone line. God bless his furry head.

79 comments:

Susan said...

You were given the honor of helping this special pup through a difficult time. You did an outstanding job.

Anonymous said...

So very, very sad to have heard about that, Mr. FC. He was a sweet little pup and he'll be greatly missed. But please take comfort in knowing that wherever he is now, he's not in any pain at all. You did all that you could do for him while he was with you. We're all here for you and the rest of your family as usual.

-Jonathan

David said...

:( He was lucky to have such a good family

ImagineMel said...

my sweet, thoughtful little boy said it all. :(

Anonymous said...

It is tough, and our prayers and thoughts are with you. You loved that Pup, and that is a lot in this ol' world!
Chris

swamp4me said...

I'm sitting here crying like a baby and I never met Gumbo in person -- I do know he was loved and cherished and had a chance, at least for a brief time, to be a true member of your family. Peace.

Suze said...

I'm crying as I read this, too. If you hadn't taken that puppy, he would never have been taken care of as lovingly, as wonderfully, as carefully and as completely as you did. You gave him the love and care necessary to give him some wonderful times. He wasn't stuck in some old house in a city. He had the great wonderful rural Florida to run around in with his brother. He was loved and he knew that, I'm sure. I know his time was very short, but his short life was the best it could be because of you and your family.

My heart goes out to you. I'll be looking for you soon - heal, my friend.

SophieMae said...

........ *choke* ........

Wren said...

oh, no! How very, very sad. My heart goes out to you losing your young pup like that.

While he did not have a long life, his life was better with you than it would have been otherwise.

May you be comforted, along with all others who mourn.

Deb said...

Oh FC, I am so sorry. I know what it's like to lose a too-young dog, but not that young. Sending comforting thoughts to you and your family.

Dee said...

I'm so sorry. Gumbo brought so many smiles and not just to you and your family. All of us out there in blogland enjoyed his antics right along with you.

Take comfort in knowing that you gave him as much happiness too. He had a good home with you.

You have our sympathies. It's always hard to lose a furkid --- even harder when they are just so darn cute and goofy.

Dr. Know said...

They say only the good die young, so he must have been a good 'un. Sorry to hear this, FC, I know what a soft spot you have for your fury friends, and how much effort you expended in his behalf. I know his short time was far more enjoyable due to your presence. I'm sure his final resting place will be a veritable garden of flowers and wildlife -- I believe he would have liked that. RIP, Gumbo.

threecollie said...

Oh, FC, I am so very sorry for you and your family. We never knew him but I can feel the tears trying to get out now. Take care of yourselves and hug Bear for us New Yorkers please.

Mungo said...

Very sorry to hear this - wish you well.

north florida mary said...

I've never met you, FC, and likely never will, but your love and gratitude for sweet dogs lets us all have a glimpse of who you are, and what we see is so very good. If a faceless crowd of blog readers had the power to control nature, that shiny black pup would have romped on for many years in your care. I'm sure we'll all be here when time has done the one thing it's really good at. Peace soon.

billg8tr said...

FC,
I don't have the words to console you for your loss. I know you did everything you could for the little fella and you should not feel guilty or that you failed anyone. Losing family members is as tough as it gets in this life and when we adopt a pet it becomes a part of our family. Take all the time you need, I'm sure we will all be here when you get back. I will keep praying for you and your family.

Billy

Sharon said...

:( I'm so, so sorry FC. A wise, wise man once said to me (when I lost my 8 yr old dog) "Every puppy is a future heartache, but the time between is so fine" :)

You certainly didn't fail that pup, you put your wallet where your heart is, and did for him where others would have said it was just too much. Hugs to you and your family.

SwampAngel65 said...

You were meant to come across Gumbo and Bear that day. The Big Guy Upstairs knew what was going to happen and decided that you and your family would make Gumbo's short life as happy as possible. You did not fail him in the least. You showed him happiness and love. He'll be with you guys forever in your hearts. The memories you have will always keep him near.

pablo said...

I was afraid when I read the headline that this was going to be the sad story I feared.

I've been through that situation, and that feeling of letting your dog down is very real.

Come back to your friends when you're ready.

Moultrie Creek said...

I feel your pain - literally. We lost our Maggie last week and are still mourning. Our Sugar died last November at 16 so we are adjusting to a world without cold noses.

Fortunately you'll have a bit of Gumbo with you in Bear.

LJ said...

How achingly sad. I am sorry for the loss of your sweet pup.

Smilin-buddha said...

I am tearing as I write this. Yeah a softie all 300 pounds. It is not our choice how long they are with us. But it is our choice what a life they lead. I feel for your loss. I wish there was some way to convey what I feel. But you gave him the best months of his life that he could have hoped for. I hope you find peace in that Buddha.

kevin said...

Sorry to hear about your loss. I know how much the dogs mean to you. I always wish I had some way to make things better. Your care probably extended what time he had by several weeks. I guess that makes things better and worse at the same time.

Laura said...

I am just stunned. If anything, I thought he was on the rebound, too.

But you have got to know that inside, you did everything you possibly could have done and despite that terrible illness, the love and care of you and your family may be the main reason he responded to treatment as well as he did. Dogs know when they are loved and wanted. And for every setback, he seemed to come back with a fighting spirit.
I guess some diseases are just too much for the little guys to deal with.

My heart goes out to all of you at this time. I'm so sorry. :(

(And Little Bear, you had to chew the phone line? ) ;)

Anonymous said...

FC-
Our most sincere thoughts are with you and the entire family. Thunder, Dude and I are a few of the fortunate ones that go back as far as Ranger. (If I'm not mistaken, Ranger goes back further than Dude) Please give Flounder and Feather and Bear an extra hug from the "Nati" family. Again so sorry to hear about your loss.
Love Lightnin

Miz S said...

Aw, no. My heart sank when I saw the picture and the title, before I had even scrolled down to read the bad news. Poor little guy. I'm glad that it happened when you and your wife were there to hold him. I send my most sincere sympathy, and I hope you all are holding up okay.

edifice rex said...

I'm very, very sorry FC. You didn't fail that dog, sweetie; few people would have gone through the trouble and expense that ya'll did.

cndymkr / jean said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I wish I had something more to add but after reading the other comments, it has all been said.

Lynn said...

Oh I'm SO sorry to hear abt Gumbo. However you did NOT fail this little guy. You gave him more than most people would have, you gave him a very happy life. Just because it was short doesn't mean you didn't do enough.

Hugs to you and yours.

Aunty Belle said...

WAIL!!

Ah, Sugar, I'se jes' so sorry fer yore loss.

They ain't much a body can say fer encouragement--only know he was a lucky pup to have had ya'll for family. Ya' done well by him.

who wouda thunk it?? said...

I currently have six dogs, all rescued. My "youngest" Chuckie, is a pitbull dog. He is immune deficient and has been fighting one thing after another, including generalized demodex that took the entire first year of his life to resolve. His latest was an ear infection that took FOUR rounds of treatment ! His highest vet bill was for the removal of a frisbee he ATE at 1, 1/2 yrs old. It cost me $6,000. I would spend my last cent to keep him healthy. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your pet, and salute your battle to keep him going

jojo said...

So sad! So sorry! nothing we say will help right now. but please don't think you failed him. That's just not right. So snap out of that kind of thinking. He was only destined here for a short time. He picked you to carry him over! And you did a noble job! hope you come back soon...:)

Rurality said...

Oh FC I'm so sorry to hear this. Of course it wasn't your fault, you didn't fail anybody. Just the opposite. You gave him much more of a chance than 99% of the population would have.

Sending hugs to you all.

Cathy S. said...

YOU DID NOT FAIL! You won a victory over those who did not see the potential in that little runt, who would have walked right on by him. You stood up for the weak and ill. You stuck with him faithfully until the end and gave him a life of joy in the midst of his pain. That is not a failure though the loss leaves a great hole in your heart and in ours. I am so very sorry.

LauraHinNJ said...

So very sorry to have read this.

nina said...

So sorry to hear about Gumbo.
I think the passing is all the more difficult when we've seen a recovery from the past--our raised hopes fall just a bit further.

Wishing you time to recover.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dude, what can one say. So many good comments that pretty much covered it all. I am a firm believer that all things happen for a reason even if we don't understand the why. With all of his problems early on, maybe this was to keep him from suffering later on. I'm sure he knew how loved he was. Hang tough, ya did good by him. Bro J

caroline said...

Hard to know what to say, so sorry, you tried so hard.
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." Yours was not small.
Caroline in South Dakota

Alan said...

So sorry to hear that. It's certainly tough. Our prayers are with you.

kathy in alabama said...

So very sorry for your loss. I am glad for the time he had with you. Who knows what would have happened to that little guy if you hadn't taken him home that day.

freste2715 said...

WHAT???

I am so sorry to hear that Gumbo has left your sight, but he will never, ever leave your heart, your family, your friends or us.

You were there at all the right times when he needed you to be strong for him. You cared for him, you nursed him, you slept with him, you played with him, you needed him. He knows that.

That kind of caring is never forogtten and he forced his bouncy body to hang on as long as it could because he knew how important he was.

Through you, we all got to smell puppy breath, see him play, feel his thick coat and look into his innocent eyes. He's done alot for everyone in such a short time.
Sometimes life is like that.

God bless all the critters at PFHQ.
Peace.

Thunder Dave said...

I can only repeat what Lightnin said, so very sorry to hear about the sad news!

Although for a second there when you were talking about old dogs in their later years it hit a little too close to home! ;-)

Dani said...

I'm so sorry FC and family. Big hugs to all.

Doug Taron said...

FC, I'm stunned and saddened by your loss. You did really well by him in a tough situation. I'll look forward to your postings again when you're ready to re-enter the blogworld.

Anonymous said...

FC,
I am so sorry about Gumbo. You did not fail him. He was a happy pup for the time he was here.

Patti

amarkonmywall said...

oh. no. This is a heart break. I'm so sorry, FC and with all the others, what a blessing that you all had the pleasure of each other's company for his short life. Take good care. The sea has restorative powers.

Just the Right Size said...

FC, oh no! I'm so sorry for your loss. He was sent to you for a reason and you were an angel.

(((((HUGS))))))))

thingfish23 said...

Well, I am late as usual, and it's all been said. I was incredulous when I read the first few paragraphs of this post (I always read the body before the title on weblogs, for some reason).

So sorry, man.

robin andrea said...

My heart goes out to you and your whole family, fc. I know how much you loved Gumbo, and how much we all believed that that and medicine would do the trick. I am so so sorry it didn't work out that way.

Hurricane Teen said...

Aw, I feel terrible for you. Gumbo was lucky to be with you and your family for the time he spent on this earth.

The Troll said...

Very sad. Hope you and the family and ESPECIALLY Big Brother Bear find solace.

Juli said...

Very, very sorry to read the news. Allow yourself all the time you need to let your tender heart heal. He was one lucky and loved pup.

lej619 said...

I don't know what to say. I know there is nothing that will ease the pain you and your family are going through right now. They say "time heals all wounds",not for some. If you ask me,it just makes it more bearable.
Knowing he is in a place that there is no pain. A place where he can run,jump,and chase those chickens all day if he wants to and not catch a single one, makes my heart laugh.

Sandcastle Momma said...

Very sad news. My family became attached to Gumbo through your posts and we were praying and rooting for him. I'm so sorry he didn't make it. Gumbo knew he was loved and he lived his short life in paradise - all because you were willing to take "the runt" as well as Bear. You did a good thing and Gumbo's life was better for it. You did not fail - you filled his short life with love and happiness and no one could ask for more.

Donna Mc said...

God bless you, brother. It's so hard to loose a loved one...even if that loved one has 4 legs instead of 2. You did your best, you gave him love, and he had a good life while he was here.

Anonymous said...

FC there is nothing that I can say that has not been said already. It only took two paper towels to get this far. You and your family have my deepest sympathy. These challenges are sent to us for a reason. When you and I get to meet the boss perhaps we can ask why:-( S T E B

Brenda said...

I am so sorry.

JoAnne in CT said...

FC - I've been a lurker for a while now an thoroughly enjoy your blog. I sit here in tears now, having read this incredibly sad post. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and your family at this horribly sad time. He brought many a smile to my face in his short time on earth, and he bore the name of our eldest cat.

Rest in peace, Gumbo - the rainbow bridge will take good care of you.

Anonymous said...

I know how you have always been with your dogs, and he could not have received more love or better care.
With Sympathy,
Woodie

Cara said...

Oh, I'm so sorry FC. You took great care of Gumbo while he was with you, and that's all you can do. I'm glad that you did the right thing and ended his pain when the time came. That's a hard thing to do. I'll give my furkids an extra snuggle tonight in Gumbo's memory.

Stacy said...

I don't usually comment, but I do read PF on a regular basis and I have followed Gumbo's story from the beginning. What heart that little guy had.

I am sorry for your loss and hope that you can find comfort in knowing that his short life would not have been half as sweet had he not had you.

crackercowlady said...

So sorry to learn about your sad loss, FC. Gumbo was a lucky little guy to have you and your family caring for him. He will be sorely missed by so many, thanks to your wonderful, heartfelt blogs, but even more so by you and your family. And don't forget, big brother Bear too! He will need a lot of extra TLC after this tremendous loss. I applaud you for all that you did (spending money, staying up nights, making trips to vet's, preparing meds, and mostly providing loads of LOVE)to insure that this little puppy had a happy, though short, life. May there be more FCs out there in our world making life better for our lovable critters!
Barb

kathy a. said...

i've been out of touch a few days, and am so sorry to hear that we lost our sweet gumbo. my dad would have said, "he was a helluva pup," dad's highest compliment. me, i'm crying.

gumbo didn't get much time on earth, but he was the luckiest dog -- he got so much love and such a great family, made the most of living the life he had. when our time comes, we all want to be surrounded by love -- and gumbo was.

xoxoxo

bluebird of paradise said...

I am so sorry ! Your news brought me to tears.We invest so much love in our pets. The price is an open heart, open to joy but also pain. my thoughts are with you
marilee

Jen said...

So very sorry to hear of your loss. You were blessed with each other and I really wish the ending were much happier. So glad you were there for him. Healing thoughts to you all.

Paintsmh said...

Poor poor baby puppy! And poor PFHQ and family!

debbie said...

FC & family, I am so sorry about Gumbo. We all came to know and love him in his short time with you. I'm in shock and like the others ... crying. It had to be fate that he came to be a member of your family. You and your family were the best people up for the job (however heartbreaking) of giving a sweet,sickly little pup the very best life that he could have in a very short time. There is no doubt that he knew that he was loved, and that he loved you. Take care of yourselves. We're here for you.

cedrorum said...

Sorry to hear this. Rest assured that he was very lucky to have a family that cared so much for him during his sick days. That may have been the only reason y'all had him. I believe that all things happen for a reason. Maybe that reason was for you to have him so he could be clobbered with love for that short time of his life. You did a great job of caring for him during his short days.

Melody said...

So sorry to hear this. I have been lurking and this is my first post. Gumbo sure did have a wonderful life, dispite his struggle to live. His short time here on earth was made special by you and your family. Bear will be a great comfort to you all as you will be to him. peace

cinbad122 said...

I am so sorry to hear about Gumbo. Let me know if you need anything!

Floridacracker said...

I'm going to make this short as the monitor has gone all blurry.

I just came in from a Gulf trip and a few days hiatus to find 70 wonderful, heartfelt comments.

I can't express how much that means to me, how each comment was read repeatedly, and savored for it's soothing effect.

Thank you for taking the time to comment, for having big hearts, and for being good friends.

I'll be back tomorrow with something to say and a photo or two, or three, or four, or ...

Kathleen said...

I write through tears. I am so sad and sorry. Gumbo and you blessed each other with love. He knows that you did everything you could for him, but even then the love is what matters most. He held on for as long as he could because of your care and love. I wish I had words to comfort you and your family, but I don't. I know it is devestating to lose this special guy.

Sharon said...

We love ya, man :)

Anonymous said...

Glad to have you back!
Bro J

Julie Zickefoose said...

Well, Floridacracker, now you know who your friends are. We are unseen but rooting for you in every arena. Add me to the helplessly bawling, and hugging my own--hairy and smooth--a lot tighter this morning.

I'll leave you with this: I want to walk into Barnes and Noble and find PureFlorida books on the nature shelves. It doesn't matter what they're about. You've got a gift. Gumbo was a gift, too, and through the terrible sense of loss, that still shines through.

Be well and pull the covers over your head for awhile. We'll be here.

Mark said...

I just now got to read this post. Although I did not know Gumbo, I feel an empty place in my heart, too.

Floridacracker said...

Thank you.

islagringo said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Do not berate yourself. You gave this puppy the happiest months of his too short life. Be proud of yourself for that.

who wouda thunk it?? said...

It wasn't too long ago that I commented on this post, and now sadly I am grieving the loss of the same dog I mentioned in my post. He is gone, and the circumstances will haunt me forever. please read Chuckies post