Monday, October 5, 2009

Sorrow

It was a day like today, eleven years ago, that we brought home an awkward, too-big-for-his-feet, loveable German Shorthaired Pointer puppy. I had wanted a GSP for a LONG time so when we decided to go dog hunting after Buck died we looked for one. They are not very common around here in spite of their large litters so we patiently waited until a litter was available for adoption. When we went to see the puppies they had 5 rowdy puppies left. It would have been a tough decision but Gunnar chose us. He stayed by us while the other puppies came up and then romped off again.

We named him Gunnar because of his German heritage and because he was a 'gun' dog. He never officially hunted but he loved to point out rabbits and other small creatures. He was a beautiful dog, from a long line of field and show champions!

He was a daddy 3X and he sure loved those puppies! He would lay with Daisy and the puppies as soon as they were born and he'd let them climb all over him. Here he is with one of his puppies.He was such a charismatic gentleman that when we had people come over to see the puppies, they always asked if they could take Gunnar instead. lol, as if! He had a way of sitting next to visitors and gently laying a paw on their arm. He'd look at them with his soulful eyes and they'd melt and begin scratching and petting him. He was an incredibly sweet dog.

He loved to play fetch and he enjoyed chasing the cats. Buddha was his little buddy. They would play and lay together for hours. He and Daisy were often found cuddled together.
When my husband died of pancreatic cancer 2 years ago, Gunnar went over and said good-bye to him. A short time later he had pancreatitis himself, probably caused by grief and stress.

A few months ago, in May, Gunnar was diagnosed with cancer. He had a small knot on his forehead that the veterinarian said would grow larger at a very rapid rate. He wasn't kidding! All summer Gunnar has had a huge swelling on his forehead, right between the eyes and upwards. It would drain, go down, and then swell up again almost immediately. The last month or so, he has been having difficulty breathing because of the swelling in his throat. His sinuses were affected and he would often have nosebleeds. Last week, I took him in for some exploratory surgery to see if by some wild chance it was all really just an infection or a bone fragment from an injury. The doctor called me during surgery and said that there were many bone fragments. His sinus cavities were disintegrating from the cancer and he recommended "letting him go."
This picture was taken on his last morning, laying right next to Daisy. He loved to play with his stuffed fox. I took a lot of photos of him that morning but most of them show his bulging head and gaping, draining hole.
On one hand, I expected this. But still, I had hoped it was all a misdiagnosis because the vet had never taken x-rays. It breaks my heart that Gunnar is gone now and I know Daisy and Buddha are missing him too. My boys dug a grave out back so that we could bury him alongside our other long-gone pets.

Sorrow - song: Sorrow, artist: David Bowie, album: Pinups

16 comments:

Mrs Mom said...

Oh Val, I am so sorry that Gunnar is gone. But he surely had a fantastic life with you!

He'll be with you always in your heart- just remember that!

Grey Horse Matters said...

So sorry to hear about Gunnar. He sounds like an amazing wonderful character who was loved by everyone. I'm sure wherever he is now he is watching over his family and missing you too.

cdncowgirl said...

Oh Val I'm so sorry. I know there's nothing I can say that would make you feel better.
When I first saw Gunnar's pic I thought he was such a handsome boy.

jane augenstein said...

Val, I am so sorry for the loss of such a gallant dog. He sounds like a one of a kind. What a beautiful boy he was, oh, how is breaks our hearts when we lose a beloved pet, my heart goes out to you and your family.
He will be waiting for you at the rainbow bridge, as will all of our pets.
hugs to you,
Jane

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Val, I'm so sorry. I know how much you love your animals and the death of one always leaves a hole.

God bless,

Dan

cowgirljlynn said...

I am so sorry about Gunner. They really are apart of your family.

Cara said...

My heart goes out to you and your family, furred and otherwise. Animals keep us in the world and make it a decent place to be. When they leave us in it, they never leave us alone.

Sydney said...

So sorry about your sweet boy. He looks like he was a very gentle soul.

fernvalley01 said...

So sorry for the loss of your dear friend .Gunnar must have been a wnderful dog , his photos show such a lovely heart. Hugs to you as I have no words

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

My sympathies to you. I wish cancer would go away and stop taking our loved ones.

Andrea said...

Oh my goodness, what a sweet face he had. Those eyes and those ears.....Gunner sounded like a wonderful dog. Cancer is a horrible horrible thing and I am so sorry you lost your beloved boy. This post had me all teary eyed. Sending you big HUGS! I am so very sorry for your loss.

sue said...

having "just" said goodbye to my dear little Moxie dog back in January... I know exactly what you are dealing with... But I just remember that God loves a good dog, and so, your Gunner is in heaven (with my Moxie - cocker spaniel) running the fields and waiting for us.....

Breathe said...

We lost a pet this weekend (just a lizard, but he was a big part of our little family of critters).

I'm glad he had a loving and happy home for so long and hope he's pointing out all the rabbits in heaven.

I need orange said...

I am so sorry. He was clearly a very special boy.

The Wades said...

What a sad post. I'm so sorry. I bet he had a wonderful life being your pet.

Adventures of a Horse Crazed Mind said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Gunner sounds like an amazing soul and was so lucky to have been loved and cared for by people that appreciated him. Letting go is so difficult and the worst part about havings dogs... if only they lasted a life time.