November 7, 2009


Today begins the way I like Saturdays to begin. Out of bed and jogging by the river with Rory while the sun comes up. Not always easy when my bed is warm and the temperature outside is hovering only slightly above 0.  Made that much more difficult by the realization that when we come home for breakfast, I’ll only be setting out one of the dog bowls. Today is Rory’s first day as an only dog.

This week, Norm and I made the heart-breaking decision that it was time to help Seth on to the next part of his journey.  I think we were hoping that maybe Seth’s weakening heart would take him in his sleep before his painful hips and joints forced us to make the decision for him. Warm weather, a warm room and pain meds only work for so long.
It’s a hard realization that your companion of more than eleven years is simply existing, hanging in there and relying on you to do the right thing for him.

He was a charmer who eked himself out at least 4,200 extra days on earth. I was graced with his companionship for almost all of them. Charm school began at an animal hospital in Edmonton where his breeder left him as a tiny puppy with instructions that he be put down because of a congenital problem particular to Ridgebacks.  Turned out the vet techs couldn’t do it. They named him Calvin instead. By the time the breeder came in again a few weeks later, the puppy had insinuated himself into the heart of the place. One thing led to another and after some surgery to remove a dermoid sinus, the now four-month-old healthy puppy was back in the hands of his breeder and waiting on an acreage near Edmonton for me to come and pick him up.

 Calvin became Seth. In Hebrew, loosely translated it means ‘chosen one’.  He joined our family of three children and another Ridgeback and fit himself right in.

Those children are now grown, and I’m certain they carry my same memories of Seth – he was everywhere – playing in the snow in the back yard, chasing them down a toboggan hill, camping, hiking, sleeping under the coffee table.

When I was going through the photo album, one thing that struck me was the tolerance Seth displayed. He was forever imposed upon to share his bed and blankets. A lot. With cats, dogs, and people. Secretly, I think he liked it. 

Seth saw the tail end of my twenties, right through to the first year of my forties. For as long as I have the good fortune to look back in time, I’ll always remember him as an ever present companion in my thirties. He was my pillow during some tough times and always my guardian.

Anybody who knew him will know that Seth was a willing love sponge who put up with nothing less than his fair share of pats and scratches. That’s the part I’ll miss the most, and the thing he was doing right up to the end. The muzzle nudge looking for an ear scratch.

March 18, 1998 – November 6, 2009

                             ….doGspeed, old man

More photos of Seth


The Boss Bitch said...

That heart wrenching decision cannot have been easy and my heart goes out to you and your family at the loss of a dear old friend. It will be hard to imagine you without Seth trundling along at your side. Rory has big shoes to fill(good thing he has big feet) but I know he idolized Seth and will do his memory proud in the name of Ridgeback. I know if Seth could he would thank you for being his family and for making this final important decision. doGspeed Seth.

Just Brenda said...

What a beautiful tribute to a loyal companion! Thank you for sharing your experience of friendship and love. It's a wonderful reminder that love is found where ever we decide to allow it.


Traci said...

Kathryn, my heart goes out to you and your family. Such a difficult decision to make, I know, we were forced to make one two years back with my Chubbers. Your tribute to the ever-loyal Seth was beautiful and gut-wrenching. I feel grateful that I got to meet him and give him a few scratches. They are with us for such a short time, but I always find comfort in knowing that dogs truly live each day to the fullest. Please let us know if Rory needs his bro to help get over such a difficult time. We would love to meet you for a play-date. doG speed Seth!

Dog Examiner said...

Well lots of love and tears for another soul gone far too soon. They come, they help, they love, and then they go. They are needed elsewhere, and we are blessed to have had them even for a day.
RIP Seth.