I don't know how to begin...two days ago at 4:25 PM my faithful co-pilot who brushed with death three times before and was tougher and more resilient than the mythical Soviet soldier crossed over. The last mission we gave him was to meet and tell Once and Taz how much we love and miss them.
I'm crying. Sorry, time out.
He passed on the back seat of our old Mercedes, his favorite place in the entire world. Whenever it was not too hot outside I took him with me in the car from morning till afternoon while driving on business. Sitting in the back and putting his head on the armrest waiting for an ear scratch while I was driving - we always said he was our co-pilot or navigator. He liked it there so much that sometimes we parked the car downstairs in the garage and let him sleep there for hours. Then when we considered it was time to take him out of the car and into the apartment, he wouldn't budge - growling in protest and refusing to stand up. That was HIS place, and that's where I put him to sleep - the vet was kind enough to step out of the office and give him the shot right there in George's car, on his seat.
We won't enter too may details why we lost our big gentle (formerly crazy) boy. What initially was believed to be a spleen cancer after an ultrasound examination earlier today it proved to be a huge liver tumor. Both vets - the one who we used for years and the specialist reached the same conclusion: if we try to remove it he would probably die in surgery and if by some miracle he wouldn't the life expectancy would have been 1-2, maybe 3 weeks. They both agreed it surgery would have been useless.
So with heavy heart we decided to let him go. It is painful for us (you all know from your own losses) but it was better for George. He was 10 years, three months old. Half of his life abused and chained in the backyard by an idiot who didn't even wanted to say goodbye and pat him on the head when he surrendered him to us. My God, how bad was George stinking that New Year evening, we drove back home with all windows in the car open. Then, over the last five years lived with us he managed to overcome his antisocial behavior, to beat his twice-a-week epileptic seizures, to accept and respect our sweet Once as the pack leader, to survive a jump from the second floor or a mountain cabin, two amputations front and back legs in one year because of toe cancer and a prescription medication poisoning that was so violent and ugly for 10 days we thought there was no way he was gonna pull it over. Yet he did it, every time - like the legendary Soviet soldier from my wife's granddad story: under enemy machine gun fire, submerged under water with a cigarette lit in the corner of the mouth and still advancing toward the enemy positions. That kind of dog was George - nothing could stop him. Not even a closed door - you'll have to see the round door knob from the inside of our front door. When we moved in the door knob was round and shiny; now the metal is chewed and has craters in it like the surface of the moon; that's because George was trying to get through the door and be with me, his God - as my wife would say.
Crying time out again.
I don't know what else we can say. He never was intended to be our dog but we took him anyway because we believed if we didn't he would be put to sleep. Little by little he made room for himself in our hearts (at 133 lb he was a big dog, the Giantest Giant we ever saw so he needed lots of room) and when he left he also left us with that big empty space.
It is past 7 PM and about now it was time to take Georgie out for a walk. Sometimes I had to work late in the evening preparing for the next day of business and I was considering the evening walk with George as a chore interrupting me from finishing what I had to do. Now I realize how much I was mistaken. I already miss seeing George waiting at the door, jumping and grabbing the the leash in his mouth and telling me with his eyes "let's go already, what are you waiting for?"
My wife is with me on the phone right now as I'm writing. She's driving home from school and she just asked me "the house feels empty, isn't it?".
From my desk seat I look down on the floor at my feet and George isn't there anymore. The house is empty indeed. I'm going to lit a candle again.
Thank you George for being such a good and faithful friend.
Good bye, see you on the other side. We will love you forever.