The hardest part of my job as a dog walker has to be when a dog dies that has been part of my life for many years. I will be saluting some of them over the next few months in future blog posts as they have a very special part in my heart.
Socrates came into my life around seven years ago when he was fourteen months. I was immediately in love as he was a large dog with a big heart. He was a black Golden-poo but a big boy in stature tipping the scales at around one hundred and ten pounds.
His owner Patti and I clicked right away and I knew we were off to a wonderful friendship together. She and her hubby Len adored Socs and their boy gave back in ten fold.
Socs had both hips operated on at just seven months due to level four hip displaysia. So as years went by he needed some assistance getting his hind quarters up into my van as we headed off to the park. I even purchased mini steps to aid in his car entry but he preferred my human touch lifting him up so left it at that.
Once at the park, he would faithfully watch my back over the many years. If someone was coming up behind us he would freeze to alert me if the person was not yet in sight coming around a corner. I always felt safe and I knew his magnificent size would deter any bad stuff that could happen.
He got along with all dogs and had a playful side. He loved to make snow angels or roll in the grass and scratch his back. He would literally stop drop and roll with a thud and a happy moan once down.
Socs unfortunately had Chrones Disease as time went on and skin infections caused by his excessive use of steroid drugs. Patti and Len explored every option for him and gave the best homeopathic and veterinarian care money could buy. This could not make him whole.
Socs, despite these curve balls, continued to make us laugh. He LOVED kleenex so I would always have to be on high alert if one was discarded on the park grass or near a garbage can. He would grab it with lightening speed and then lock down his jaws so I would be “oblivious” to his monkey business. He then would lumber along and chew it later when he thought he could get away with it. Trying to get him to open his mouth was next to impossible but ten percent of the time he would try to “please” me and look at the kleenex and then at me and walk by it not even picking it up.
He had wonderful fresh food to help with his ailments and the only draw back was the oily fish smell that would linger on his beard for a while after eating. When he would drink he would guzzle probably due to his size and the meds and then a small waterfall would dribble from his chin making a new pool on our floor if boarding with us. I would always prepare with a towel to wipe his beard and also place one on the floor to prevent us from wiping out on the spill.
One thing that really made him special to me and his beloved owners were his eyes. They were the size of an adults and could reach into my soul. I think this is what drew me to him as I loved his gaze when down on his level; it was VERY human like. He seemed to be intently listening to your words with his amber eyes.
I often thought he was like Clifford the Big Red Dog, a childhood book that is a personal favorite of mine. Socs had a following in our community, and was much of a celeb himself.
He would often go off to get groomed which changed his appearance. I looked forward to his new looks. The best was when he had his ear fur groomed cut and squared off that made him look very youthful – like small boys getting their summer haircuts. He let some groomers know he had enough standing and sometimes would return for part two half beautified.
I was away one weekend so my daughter was walking Abby, our Lab. Patti told me that Socs pulled her in a definte direction on one of his last walks. Little did she know, he was leading her to Abby, which she saw when they came around the corner. They were happy to see each other and gave one another a sniff, tails wagging, and went on their way. We would like to think that he knew his time was coming to leave this Earth, and wanted to say goodbye to a dear friend.
His owners had a spectacular garden where he would spend many hours to rest or play. It was there he passed away at peace with those he loved by his side on his famous bed. His new sibling Cassy – a small white poodle – was there too. He had time to enjoy her company months before and she his.
I actually felt his presence for months following his death when walking by their house and have never had that happen before with a client’s dog. It was extraordinary. I believe his owners have too.
They posted a tribute to his life on youtube if you would like to see him in action http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4luTSCJWKo
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