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A dedication to my best friend


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Fellow ARC'ers, I have spent the last week grieving heavily for my beloved dog, Coby.   I have never had a dog as fun, as loving, as loyal and as smart as him.  In 2007, I was on a day off and going into town for lunch in South Carolina and he ran in front of my truck.  I screeched to a stop, got out and he was genuinely glad to see me, jumped up with his paws on my chest and I noted the lack of a collar.  However, I assumed he had escaped from his yard and so, I put him over the fence where I thought he belonged and went about my day.

 

Oddly enough, the exact same thing happened the following day in exactly the same way.   I got out again and picked him up and put him in my truck, which he thought was just the best and drove down the driveway to the house where I thought he belonged prepared to scold the owner for being irresponsible.  Well, as it turns out, it wasn't his home.  Faced with a quandary as my lease did not permit having a pet, I drove around for hours stopping at house after house desperately trying to find his owner.  

 

Where I lived in York County, like a lot of places, is very rural and people often would drop their pet off thinking they would be ok or someone would find them and assuage them of the guilt of abandoning their dog.  Well, here I was with a lost waif, having a hoot riding around with me, talking to dozens of people who did not claim him.  I went to Animal Control and that's when the light-bulb came on brightly.

 

They said, "Sure, you can drop him off here; He'll get his five days."

 

My heart sank and in a nano-second I made a choice.  My landlady might find out, she was difficult to say the least and if she kicked me out for having a dog, so be it.  This little guy was but just around a year old or less, was as happy a pup as I've ever met and seemed to like me as if we had always been paired as dog and owner since he was born.  

 

So I made a trip to town, had lunch, got some bowls and food and a collar and leash and the next several days we got to know one another and I found out that he liked to "talk".  He would gurgle little "stories" and wooooo--wooooo a lot and thought the little house I lived in was just the best.  My philosophy with dogs is they are people too, with conditions.  But he was allowed on the bed, the couch, anywhere he wanted to be.  He seemed to be house-trained and would go to the back door to ask to go out.  

 

That was 2007.   A week ago, Monday, at 7:15 in the morning, Coby, my beloved friend of almost 14 years, lost his battle to spleen cancer and left.  He was in my arms on the bed as his spleen ruptured.  The vet had warned me about it and I had been checking his gums and inner eyelids as instructed watching for them to turn gray, telling me that his time to bring him in for euthanizing was due.   Well, he ate supper the night before, we played a little, in spite of his abdomen being more distended and his difficulty using his rear legs.  He was in no pain, wanted to be near me and we spent the last hours of his life sitting on the couch with my petting him and then we went to bed.  

 

This is the hardest thing I have ever faced.  I post this here to help alleviate some of the pain and share with everyone what a wonderful, happy pup he was and how he helped me cope with so many tough times.  I lost my job in 2016, have struggled to find good work, got lucky and found suitable employment but lost it in April due to virus panic.  I was diagnosed with terminal cancer myself and I have to move from here to my mother's house back east.  We lost her in September.  2020 has been brutal but through it all, Coby was by my side and the undiscovered killer his body had was not diagnosed until December 22.  I was heartbroken then and I weep some as I write this now.  I am coping better with the giant emptiness his absence has left as he was with me at all times except when I was at work which, when I tallied it out, seem to have been close to five years of his waiting for me to come home.

 

If you have a pet, please give them a treat in Coby's name, tell them they are good and love them for all they're worth.  You'll be rewarded tenfold for it.   I must let him go as I believe that my grief might prevent his spirit from being free, as it must be.  I am so very grateful for the time was was blessed to have this wonderful animal choose me, of all people.  

 

I will likely have another dog someday.  I live alone and a house is not a home without a bundle of four-legged friendship to greet you, laugh with you (dogs do laugh) and show me what joy really is.  

 

I have had his remains cremated and will receive them sometime this week.  I clasped his collar for the last time forever and hung it on the corner of his photo, a favorite of mine and will forever hold a cherished place in my heart for Cobius Maximus, my little hero.  

 

Coby and me Feb 2019.jpg

Coby Happy crop small.jpg

Coby Keyboard 01.jpg

Coby likes Manny.JPG

Edited by VADM Fangschleister
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Beautiful dog.   Very sad for you, it’s something I’ve been through before multiple times and it never gets easier.   It’s part of the contract when you bring a pet into your life.   
 

Hang in there, it will get better with time and maybe one day you’ll find another dog who will give you equal happiness. 

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Just now, Ben Brown said:

I am so sorry to hear that. We lost our beloved yellow Lab on Memorial Day, so I know what you’re going through right now. Take care.

 

Ben


Sorry to hear that Ben. We lost ours in March just before the lockdown. Sorry for your loss VADM.

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Aw man, a post that's sweet and sad both. 

Sweet in the story of him coming in to your life and living so much of his with you.

Sad in the end of his life.

6 hours ago, VADM Fangschleister said:

I will likely have another dog someday.  I live alone and a house is not a home without a bundle of four-legged friendship to greet you, laugh with you (dogs do laugh) and show me what joy really is.  

 

So much love and life is packed in to those smaller-than-ours bodies that it truly must be a miracle.

May the right dog join your life at the right time.

And share his or her joy at simply being.

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Thanks most kindly to all who've replied and also all who've viewed my post.  I genuinely think very highly of this site and have been coming here since the early 2000's...most knew me as Rusty Shackleford.  My life changed dramatically in 2004 and after that, much of the joy had gone out of it, except for this little guy who always made me smile.  

 

Good people here.  Kind and thoughtful and I've watched a great many builds here and some extraordinary skills.  

 

Thank you all again.  

Edited by VADM Fangschleister
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I am so very, very, very sorry for your loss.  My heart breaks for you.  I have 2 Pembroke Welsh Corgis, one just turned 11 and the other is 8.  They are the best things in my life, along with my wife.  I love my doggies so very much, way more than most people in my life, and I will mourn their loss far more than the loss of almost every human I know.  Dogs are so amazing...and I think the thing is that they have no guile, they are so kind hearted and simply loving.  They rely on us for everything, including their lives, and it seems so terribly unfair that their lives are so short compared to ours, which are far too short as well...  I know that no words can really help you, other than maybe to let you know that there are some of us who know the pain you're going through, and how much you loved your very best friend in the whole world.  If there was something I could do for you, I would, believe me.  Thank you for sharing your story with us 😢

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Thank you Curt B.  The pain they tell me will diminish but never go away.  I should hope it never leaves completely for it would lessen the value of this extraordinary animal who would wake me when my blood sugar was low (no training) and who would follow me to every room or find me when I went out of his sight and he didn't catch it.  Fora belly rub, a rawhide chewy, a walk or a ride in the car.  Always just happy to be with, to be "among".  Only dog I ever knew who watched television.  He knew what the day would be like based on what clothes I put on in the morning.  Slacks = work day and he would wait while I was gone but expected reward when I returned in the form of attention and activity which he rightly deserved.  Bluejeans and he would be even happier because I would be with him all day.  

 

How blessed I was.  How entirely unexpected the chance meeting would end up with such a long relationship.  He watched me go through hell on several occasions and kept me from feeling completely devastated many times.  Always within reach and always joyful.  Eye contact resulted in *thump*thump*thump* of his tail.  Or just saying his name.

 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for understanding.  I've never loved anything or anyone as much as my little hero.  His trust in me was complete and I often changed my plans to suit the obligation to him.  

 

Thank you again.   

Edited by VADM Fangschleister
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I did as you asked earlier this morning, gave my dog a treat for Coby, and a hug. He doesn't know why, but sometimes I think they know more than we give them credit for. He's a wonderful little terror, my dad refers to him as a "bulldozer". Staffys will be staffys. It breaks my heart for your loss, it truely does

I can only echo the thoughts others have posted here, 

Andy

Damn sliced onions...

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VADM, 

 

As I type this to you my good friend I too yesterday had to let my go due to cancer that had gone unnoticed for sometime, which she took a completely 180 on us while I was at work this weekend.  She was my modeling buddy got her almost 12 yrs ago always sat with me when I was at the bench.  I just know when she looked at me yesterday at the vets office with my wife and daughter she heard my voice and looked at me and blinked at me saying she was ready.  Holding onto my daughter from yanking the IV and meds out of the Vets hands was the hardest thing I had to do but she Haligan knew I was doing the right thing for her.  Know I didn't get to spend the last days with her since I work as a fireman I was working my 48hr shift this past weekend but I know she was with my wife and daughter.  

 

My daughter asked if we are going to be getting another puppy and I don't think I can do through that again, that was my fifth boxer I had lost in my life.  You are in my thoughts and prayers as you grieve for him.

 

v/r

Stanton

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So sorry to hear about this, VADM Fangschleister.  Colby does look like one fun-loving and affectionate fellow.  It takes a while to overcome the sadness but hang in there.    But that terrible news about your own condition is just plain devastating.   Be strong, my friend.   

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Thanks crackerjazz.  And thank you, everyone.  I took Coby's ashes home yesterday afternoon and they did a paw-print and hair trimmings  that I can look at from time-to-time, along with the nice box that hold his mortal remains.  Will Rogers said, "They tell me when dogs die, they don't go to heaven.  Well, when I die, I want to go where they go."

 

I also noticed that on IMDB, one of the single most popular episodes of the old The Twilight Zone TV show was "The Hunt" where a hillbilly and his dog, Rip both drown when raccoon hunting.  The show examines the pair as they travel a road and almost end up at the wrong place because they wouldn't allow the dog in.  I have been known to drop everything if that episode is on on MeTV late at night.

 

Many here both publicly and privately have shared their stories about their beloved four-legged friends.  It's wonderful to know you all and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  There has been some closure and I'm getting ready to move away but his life will always bring special memories and make me pause for just a moment to be grateful for the time we spent together.  I wish sometimes he could still be here.  And I always will.  

 

 

the hunt hillbilly 01.jpg

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On 1/11/2021 at 7:09 PM, VADM Fangschleister said:

Coby likes Manny.JPG

 

Rusty, my condolences.. I still love and remember our family dog, a smart and energetic boxer. We realized only years later how much we could 'read' her, having so many facial expressions plus multi-position ears 🙂 We never ever found that in other dogs. And the more I read and learn about dogs, the more special our relationship with them becomes to me.

 

Can you tell us more about Coby watching TV? That's something I've never seen. What did atract his attention? Anything with animals I would guess? I see in the photo that cartoons worked for him 🙂 Could you read his emotional response to what he saw? I see him wagging his tail in the photo, he must have liked that scene 🙂

 

Rob

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17 hours ago, Rob de Bie said:

Can you tell us more about Coby watching TV? That's something I've never seen. What did atract his attention? Anything with animals I would guess? I see in the photo that cartoons worked for him 🙂 Could you read his emotional response to what he saw? I see him wagging his tail in the photo, he must have liked that scene 🙂

 

Rob

Thanks, Rob, you are most kind.  

 

It was completely unexpected the first time I saw Coby watching TV.  I've had dogs all my life but none of them had any interest and I had always supposed that it had something to do with the picture tube and the way the human brain processes visual information vs. the way a dog's brain does.  But this little guy would also watch the large picture tube TV I used to have and that's where "doggie on TV" became a thing.  If I said that, he would run to go see the dog on TV.  Sounds silly, yeah, but like a lot of people I talk "child-speak" to my dogs...so sue me.  Heh. 

 

But when flat-screen TV's became affordable, it became more common and I remember another curious thing.  There is a NOVA episode from years ago with Brian Green talking about string theory and in the lengthy intro to the subject, there's a scene where he says, "You might as well try to teach physics to a dog" where Brian's Labrador Retriever is featured just blinking her eyes while Brian does some math work on the blackboard.  

 

Not only did Coby cue in on the dog being there but....as I often watched the episode, he got trained in a way I did not expect.  I hadn't seen the episode in some years and one night, for something to fall asleep in front of, I played it.  Coby was right next to me, asleep.  But when the part where the Labrador is about to appear, Coby perked up and was sitting up, waiting for it.   The background music and Green's narration is probably a conditional cue.  But I also attributed it to Coby's extraordinary level of intelligence.  He knew many words and commands.  One of which is kind of funny.  

 

He often would align himself on the bed with his butt up by my head.  Many dogs do this...and if you've ever seen a pack of dogs or a family that has a couple of dogs, they often sleep like that, nestled together.  Well...I don't particular care for that and at one point, I simply said, "Coby, turn around." and much to my amazement, he did exactly that.  He got up and turned around to put his head in the same direction as mine.  

 

But he would watch some TV shows...he would wag his tail when Mr Spock appeared which I thought was the strangest thing but maybe he looked like someone in Coby's previous life before I found him. He used to sing to the Star Trek theme.  He was very "verbal" which apparently is peculiar to the American Bulldog breed.  He was very sociable and loved everybody.  Just genuinely affectionate to all creatures to include cats...except he thought cats were plush toys.  So we did not repeat that exercise.  Took an hour to get the cat out of her hiding place.  

 

I have never had a dog so totally engaged with me.  He was always watching me, following me, close-by, and just happy to be with.  This made it especially hard to see him go.  And he departed as he slept right next to me, in my arms, getting strokes as he slept.  Something I shall never forget, to be sure.  Especially hard to say goodbye and still.  I am packing to move away now, I have his ashes and am ready to leave.  I never wanted to move to Kansas in the first place but it was one of the best jobs I ever had.  Thanks to virus panic, like millions of others, the job was terminated along with 130 other people who were hired when I was.  

 

But I'm trying to look forward to brighter times, in the time that I have left and will try to return to a more jovial self as the past several years have been harsh.  But compared to many, I have still been fortunate.  

Coby Ashes 01-13-21.JPG

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I'm sorry for your loss.  I lost my wingman, Niblet a medium hair orange tabby cat, earlier this year in July and I know your pain.  I still miss him terribly but at least I am able to hold back my tears.  Niblet was a dog in a cat's body, he loved me unconditionally and always followed me everywhere.  I was volunteering at an animal shelter and found him in the quarantine area because they ran out of cages in the regular cat hold room.  I just heard this 3-4 week old kitten with a raspy meow crying loudly over and over as they were preparing to close up for the weekend.  I opened his cage and he jumped into my arms, I decided to foster him even if he hadn't jumped to me.  I ended up adopting him as he wanted to be with me all the time. 

 

One of my best memories of Niblet was when I lived in a rural area, we had a 500ft long driveway and every day around the time I was due to come home he'd go and sit in the drive way.  As soon as he saw see me pull in and he'd get up and would walk me down the drive way to my parking spot.  From that day on he kept that daily tradition until we moved.  Though they may cause you pain now, I hope the memories you have of Coby will continue to bring you comfort through the hard times, the tears only reinforce the great bond you had with your best friend.  

 

I'll make sure to give some treats to my other cats tonight in memory of Coby

 

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3 hours ago, Model-Junkie said:

 

 

I'll make sure to give some treats to my other cats tonight in memory of Coby

 

Thanks Model-Junkie.   It's strangely compelling how we get so attached to our four-legged friends.  Thank you for sharing your story about Niblet.  Cool name.  

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