Wednesday, November 23, 2011

There's an empty bed

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.

Christmas 2010

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 :)


Hope said...

Mason had a long, full, happy, appreciated life. Knowing that doesn't make it any easier, does it? I'm so sorry for you loss.

Rocky Creek Scotties and Rocky Creek Ramblings said...

Run free sweet Mason - I know you and Java are just having the best time together right now. Hugs and more hugs to your family.

The Rocky Creek Clan

Dexter said...

Run free Mason! What an amazing life and very special guy.

Mango Momma

Duke said...

Our hearts are breaking for you.
Godspeed, Mason. We love you buddy.

Maggie and Mitch

Uji, Angel Izzy, Ziggy, Angel Bean, Angel Hiro and Momma Tea said...

So very sorry for your loss.

You took him in
when he was small
Gave him a home,
your love, your all
A happy life with you
he shared
We all could see
how much you cared

You gave to him
your very best
Now he has gone
to well-earned rest
In spirit he will
stay with you
Your little dog,
forever true

Run Free Mason.

Momma Tea & The Trio

Mollie Jo and Bobo said...

We want to say we are sorry to hear the news of his passing. Run free sweet boy!

Extra Wags and Licks,
Mollie Jo & Bobo

How Sam Sees It said...

I wish we had known him, he sounds like a truly good boy.

Sending hugs to your family.


Maggie Mae and Max said...

We are sendin' you prayers tonight. So sorry for your loss. RIP Mason

Maggie Mae, Max and mom

houndstooth said...

I'm sorry for your loss! As somebody who recently lost an old dog herself, I know how bittersweet it is. I still miss her, even though I know it was time for us to let her go. Mason was a special guy, and his life spans a very important era of yours! He will always be in your heart!

Huskee and Hershey said...

Sorry on the loss of you're best friend.. This is a beautiful tribute to Mason. Sending you a hug from across the miles... Run free, sweet Mason!

ThePainterPack said...

What a beautiful tribute to Mason. As the human mom to 2 Labs, one is eleven years and the other is three months, I know how utterly "good" they are....and the pictures and memories you have of Mason will stay with you forever.

Painter Pack Mom

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

So very sorry for your loss. What a very beautiful tribute to your special boy!

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

Brutus, Ellie, Pippa and Otto said...

We are very sorry for your loss. We think this was a beautiful post in remembrance of Mason.

Pugs & Kisses,

Yoda, Brutus & Ellie

Lucy-Fur, as typed by Dr. Liz said...

Beautiful tribute to a wonderful guy - I mean, he shared his Dad - that pretty much says it all!

-Dr. Liz and Family

Golden Woofs! SUGAR said...

Woof! Woof! Mason had a very good life. Lots of precious memories you'll remember forever. Sending Lots of Golden LOVE n Woofs, Sugar

Sam said...

Oh, Michelle, I am so sorry to hear about Mason's passing. But I am so that that he lived life to the fullest up to the very end, and that you didn't give him the opportunity to suffer. Godspeed, Mason!

Barbara said...

Godspeed, Mason. We are so sorry for your family.

Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley's Place said...

Blogger may or may not let us comment; run free dear Mason....we will be keeping your family in our prayers and we know you are keeping watch over them...

Heaven has a special place for good dogs and you sounded like you were one of the best...


Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley

Two French Bulldogs said...

Oh my goodness we are so sorry to hear about Mason...A day to be thankful he was a part of such a special group
Benny & Lily

dw said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Mason! I think he's there in spirit in that first picture, showing you his light, that he's okay and that he'll always be there with you.

Unknown said...

Mason, you will be missed! You did a great job raising the Frenchies. Rest in peace, buddy.

verobirdie said...

This is sad news, but a beatiful, moving post.
Sure, you all miss Mason

bea's blog said...

I went away
though just a little step
and not very far
and when you come here
were I am now
you will be asking:
Why did I cry...

RIP sweet Mason
Beatrice and Gizmo

Baby Rocket Dog and Hootie said...

Mason sure was a special pooch. We know we'll see him someday when we cross the Rainbow Bridge & get to play bitie face with him then. Our sympathy to you.
BabyRD & Hootie

Anonymous said...

Run free, Mason!

Wilma said...

We all are so sorry to hear of the loss of Mason. What a beautiful tribute to him. His happy soul will be watching over you from the rainbow bridge.

Sweepy said...

Just got in and now he's gone...I guess senior dogs like us have to expect that...

Run free Mason!
You gave good love and I'm sure you saved a lot for the rainbow Bridge!

Wyatt said...

Thanks for sharing Mason with all of us. Run to the bridge big dog!

Wyatt and Stanzie

Kitty+Coco said...

Goodness, now we are getting misty. Mason will certainly be missed. See you later good buddy.


genji said...

So sorry to hear about Mason. We just lost our almost 14 yr old gal last week, so we are in mourning with you.

Nellie, Yuchie, Calvert and Bailey said...

I had just started following Brutus (pre Carmen) and you posted a beautiful photo of Mason, he had a little gray on his muzzle... I just fell in love with that face!

Again, thank you again, for sharing Mason with us.

"Don't cry because it's over
Smile because it happened"

~Dr. Seuss

Shugadogs said...

We are so sorry! In August we lost our 13 year old lab, Hershey, and he, too was, first and best. Six years ago he got a Frenchie little sister. He graciously let her have his bones, chews, and even his bed. We love our little spoiled Frenchie girlie, but we miss our loyal gentleman, Hershey. He will always be in our hearts, as Mason will be in yours.

Baby Rocket Dog and Hootie said...

Where are you Brutus and Carmen?? We miss you.

Oakley and Swisher said...

So sorry to hear about your fellow furry brother Mason. You had many years and many memories to hold on to.

Swisher and Oakley

TimberLove said...

soft husky woooos,


Moose said...

Frenchies, I've fallen so far behind with my pals so am just seeing this heartbreaking news. I'm so sorry he had to leave you but this lovely post shows how he had a long life where he was very loved and that brings a smile to our faces here at the mooselodge. He was an awesome labbie! Run free sweet boy!

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