Coming to you with a somber post today. There is an empty bed in front of the fireplace, as we have lost one of our pack members.
This morning we had to say goodbye to our 13 1/2 year old lab, Mason. Can't say that it comes as a complete shock, as he was really quite the senior citizen and old for a big dog. Sure, he had some lumps & bumps, but was impressively healthy and active for his age. Mason had some advanced arthritis that we thought had just suddenly worsened; in fact it was an osteosarcoma in his shoulder. With no real way to make him comfortable or mitigate his pain, we made the hardest choice - to let Mason go with his dignity in tact. I believe he was very much at peace with the fact that his time with us was ending, that he had lived a full, happy, and satisfying life.
I've become accustomed to existing amongst exceptional dogs lately. I've had the pleasure of meeting Grand Champions, whose genes will be passed on for many generations to make their breed better. Lucky enough to share space with performance dogs, whose talents and abilities are truly breath-taking. But in a world where letters before and after a dog's name mean so much, there is a something that cannot be bred for or trained: being man's best friend. And THAT is where Mason was truly exceptional.
|Mason asleep with his dad and his "baby".|
Mason was the ultimate "good dog". Not a mean bone in his body, and loyal in every sense of the word. He asked for very little (well, except maybe that sandwich you were about to take a bite of), and gave everything of himself. He was patient. You could leave him alone all day with no worries, and he was as happy as ever to see you no matter what mood you came home in. An uncomplicated dog, Mason asked for nothing other than a pat on the head & and a cookie.
|A hamburger was the ultimate treat for Mason, this one was to celebrate his 13th birthday.|
So many fond memories have swirled though my head today, making me smile despite all the emotions. Like the moment I met Mason, who came bounding to greet me at my future-husband's front door on our second date.
|About a year old in this photo, Mason was happy to share his dad with me.|
Thinking of how gracefully he accepted an endless string of changes - from numerous relocations, to accepting new pack members, and even traveling around the country with us in our motorhome.
|Summer 2010, South Dakota at Crazy Horse memorial.|
His "starvation song (& dance)" when he felt like it was time to eat. The way he could imperceptibly creep closer to you while you ate - never seemed to move but somehow inched right up to your side. The times I freaked out because I though he had run away, when he instead had somehow gotten closed into the basement or closet - and was just too polite & patient to speak up. The fact that he pooped on command (however did we teach him that???) will never cease to amaze me!
You have to agree, he was just an all-around great dog, labradork and all. Or as Paul rightfully calls him, "the best dog ever". Through it all there was never a day - or maybe even a moment - in all his years where Mason wasn't a happy dog.
|Mason always was a cheeseball, just a big goofy guy. Here in the prime of his life, about 5 years old.|
What other dog could possibly put up the with Frenchies as mercifully? I smile to think how he'd tolerate them climbing all over him, even (sometimes reluctanlty) engaging in the rough-housing sometimes.
Haven't gotten quite used to not having Mason here yet - still feel his presence very strongly, like he's peeking around the corner at us. Like he's that ray of sunshine that so strikingly shone on his bed this evening (see first picture in this post), almost exactly in the shape & position that Mason would have occupied if he were there. Guess maybe that's because he's here in our hearts, not truly gone. Goodness knows it will be years before I stop finding "tumblefurs" of his neverending brown & white hair. But I will surely smile each time I stumble upon a little piece of Mason - who really was the best dog ever.
|April 2, 1998 - November 23, 2011|
Love you, big brown buddy - we miss you. Run free up there, you will never be forgotten. I'll leave you with one last photo, one that I have to think could have rightfully been taken right this moment on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. I think he's just looking back to make sure we're all OK :)