Friday, June 7, 2013

Good-bye Sweet Spencer

This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life....having to come to terms with the fact that we were going to lose Spencer, my beloved weimaraner.  Though I have always referred to him as "my dog," he was very much apart of Steve, Bennett and Preston's lives too.  We all lost a loving companion today.

Spencer, 3 months old
My life with Spencer started on a cold, snowy day in Illinois.  I convinced my mother to drive with me to a small town south of Peoria to pick a sibling for my older weim, Shelby.  I was eyeing a little pup in one litter, but my mom spotted Spencer in the back of a large kennel, buried behind his siblings, just staring at her.  She grabbed him, and before long, we both were enamoured.  I have always called him my "bargain puppy" because the breeders were selling him for only $250 since he was in the older litter of pups and they wanted to get rid of them.  In addition, I talked them down another $50 because I felt they cropped his tail wrong.  (what a wonderful bargain he ended up being)  As most new puppies do, he was stinky, but he was ridiculously cute with his big blue eyes and floppy ears, we couldn't resist snuggling with him the whole way home.

checking each other out on day 1, Spencer was 8 wks old
One of my earliest memories of him as a puppy was not being able to find him in my house in Illinois.  I kept calling for him, but he wouldn't come.  I walked all over, and finally down to the basement, only to find him INSIDE of the 40lb bag of dog food eating away!  It didn't take long for me to realize I needed to keep his food in a Tupperware container.  He has since been obsessed with food, and had an internal clock for 6am and 5pm. 

Over the next couple of years, the two dogs bonded and became very close.  Spencer was super easy to potty train, and never took an obedience class.  He was a pleaser by nature, and learned all of his good habits from Shelby.
learning from Shelby how to grab a quick sip
saying hello from the top of the stairs

Spencer (L) and Shelby (R)
Flash forward a few years, I was packed up and ready to move to Birmingham.  The moving truck had pulled away with all of my possessions, and my car was stuffed full with all of my "valuable stuff" and live plants.  I didn't realize how full it was until the dogs and I got in the car.  Only the front two seats were free, so we did what we had done many times before....Spencer rode shotgun, and Shelby curled up in my lap while I drove.  I know it wasn't safe, but we were well practiced.  Those two dogs were my children, and went everywhere with me.  My car had become their second home, and they were awesome travel partners.

Once we safely arrived in Birmingham, and got settled....we began socializing.  We ran almost daily, and made friends everywhere.  Ten years ago, weims weren't as common as there are now, and since my two were so well behaved, they were rarely on a leash.  When I first met Steve, he was shocked that I had two large dogs that were house dogs (he was raised with outdoor dogs).  I however, learned from my parents that dogs were part of the family, and I spoiled them rotten, just like my parents spoiled their dogs.

Always by my side

As our dating progressed and we started spending more time together, we had to have a talk.  He was always coming over to my house to hang out, but wanted me to spend more time at his house.  I was okay with that, but I clearly explained that Shelby and Spence were not cats (like his pet, Stella), and couldn't be left alone for long periods of time and would need to come with me.  He wasn't quite sure, but eventually warmed to the idea.  Before long, we were married and the dogs and I had pushed Stella out of the house altogether (thanks Mimi and Papa for taking her in for us), and the four of us were snuggling in our queen sized bed....something Steve NEVER liked!
Giving Bennett a kiss

Spencer loved his Poppy!
We quickly welcomed Bennett, and shortly thereafter had to put Shelby down (another horrific day in my life).  Thankfully, I was distracted with the birth of Bennett, and still had Spencer to keep me happy.  But after having Preston a year and a half later, and deciding to stay at home...Spencer started to change.  He became very dependent on me, and would become anxious if we left him.  Unfortunately, it became harder and harder to get away...I would always worry about him.  These last few years have been particularly hard.  He has consistently been losing weight (going from 90lbs to 42lbs).  We have been running bloodwork, doing xrays and ultrasounds, having physicals all along the way, but he has not been a typical case for anything.  With several vets consulting on him, we thought we could get a formal diagnosis, but we never could.  We knew he suffered from separation anxiety, had at least one tumor and most recently either had a stroke or suffered from vestibular syndrome.  All week, he was not himself...his equilibrium has been off, he has been disoriented, and he just had an empty look in his eyes.  We couldn't care for him at home, and took him to the hospital portion of our vet on Tuesday.
Chilling in Eatonton

he always tolerated us dressing him up
learning to swim at Smith Lake
playing doctor with Bennett


We have visited him daily, met with the vets and watched him stay the same.  We have shed so many tears this week, and have been looking for signs of improvement, but never saw it.  He did wag his tail at me today (perhaps because he knew I needed that), the first time he has done that in 4 days, but he was still the same.  So Steve and I snuggled with him, told him what a great dog he has been, and how he has brought us all so much joy.  We told him to find Shelby in heaven, and then we let him go.  I am completely broken right now, and I hope that time will heal my wounds.  All week, the house has been quiet, and I haven't been greeted by my barking pal who slobbers all over my front door.  I hope I will get used to that.

snuggling with Steve
I have a lot of wonderful memories of Shelby and Spencer to keep reminding me why I am such a dog lover, and love the weimaraner breed.  They are so smart and loyal.  They are definitely high energy dogs, but are well suited for my personality since I am always on the go.  They love to snuggle, and Spencer was no different...he loved sleeping underneath the covers with us!  They can be manipulative, for example Spencer always knew he could sneak a snack from Poppy (my father), Mimi (Steve's mother) or Preston, and never let Steve or I sleep past 6am (he wanted his breakfast).  Spencer was so patient with the kids.  I FULLY trusted him, and knew that he would never intentionally hurt my babies.  He was never interested much in other animals, and therefore walked without a leash until this past week.  He was a lover, and will be missed greatly by all who knew him.
I love you buddy!!!

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