Facebook_off Twitter_off Pinterest Instagram_off Googleplus_off Youtube_off Emailnewsletter

Welcome to DogHeirs, Where Dogs Are Family! Log in or Sign Up

Dogheirslogo

DogHeirs Tshirts

A Story of Love and Adventure Between a Girl and Her Best Friend

Img_3693_thumb By Jody Pountain | November 13, 2015 | Comments (0)

created on: 2015-11-13

I made the hardest decision I've ever had to make on Friday 10.30.15. I made the decision to put my sweet boy to sleep and set him free from his old body.

I had been struggling with this decision for quite awhile and everyone told me I would just know when it was time. I prayed they were right. I prayed Gunner would tell me when it was time, though he was such a stubborn, crotchety old boy that I knew he probably wouldn’t. There were a few moments during his last days where he would lick my hands clean, then lay his head on my lap and I knew it really was time. It was such a faint feeling though, because I didn’t want to see it. I didn’t want it to be time yet and I kept my doubts strong.

His accidents grew more frequent and he almost couldn’t get up the ramp anymore to go outside. The nerve damage in his rear end had made it so hard for him to move around. The length of our boat was about as many steps as he could take before he would lay down and rest again. When he stopped eating his food, I knew his body was shutting down.

My sweet boy was 14.5 years old and his poor body just couldn’t keep up with his mind anymore. I know in my heart it was the best thing for him and it would have been selfish of me to keep him here any longer. Still, I wonder everyday if I made the right decision. I’ve lost loved ones in the past, but losing Gunner hurt so much more. He was my baby. I took care of him like he was my child.

I still can’t believe he is gone… I never knew my heart could hurt so much.

created on: 2015-11-13

I want to share the story of our time together.

It was the summer of my Senior year in high school, 2001. I had been wanting a large-breed puppy and had always grew up around dogs. My mom called me one day to tell me about this Weimaraner that needed a home. The breeder had just died of a heart attack and no one had found her, the momma dog or the puppies for three days. The breeder’s friend owned a kennel in Snohomish, Washington where she took the puppies in to find homes for them. Four whole months later, all but one had found homes.

This little boy was lanky and shy. He timidly came out to greet me in the parking lot. I was told that he was the last to get picked because of how big his feet were, meaning he was going to be the biggest one of the litter. How big could he really get? His floppy ears went past the end of his little nose and his little butt was so skinny. His legs were long but he was still so tiny.

created on: 2015-11-13

I just couldn’t leave him there! I just couldn’t bare to see his little sad face turn away from another stranger that didn’t want him. From that moment on he was glued to my side. I crate trained him early on but it only took a few nights for him to melt my heart enough to have him sleeping under the covers with me. Everyone knows weims are like velco, and that he was.

I left this little ball of energy with my grandparents for my first year of college at Western Washington University while I lived in the dorms. I would come home on the weekends to do laundry and see my sweet boy. He was so mischievous! His weim-crimes were frustrating but so loveable at the same time. He chewed a hole in the drywall once. I got him the toughest chew toys I could find and did what I could to train him and get him the exercise he needed. He loved to swim, chase the geese in our backyard and play with his toys. Most of my pictures from the early days are in photo books back in California but I have hundreds of pictures of him snuggled up in piles of clean laundry, on the couch and on my pillows. If you’ve ever been around Weimaraners, you know just how human they think they are. He loved popcorn and Cheetos, especially when my grandpa would sneak them to him.

created on: 2015-11-13

During the remaining years of college, I lived in houses with roomates and Gunner came up to Bellingham, WA to live with me. I remember there was this one lake we would go to and he would swim for hours retrieving sticks I threw for him. He loved every minute. He was like a small pony galloping around. I always felt safe with him by my side. It was a lot of responsibility to have him while working and going to school full time, but I think it was good for me. He kept me in line, as I did for him.

created on: 2015-11-13

After college we moved out to the countryside in Blaine, WA and lived on 20 acres. At one point we had a total of 6 dogs, 21 puppies, and 9 goats. Gunner loved his brothers and sisters – Magnum, Ayla, Missy, Aaron, Gage, and temporarily Remmi and Boone. During these years he learned to hunt and went for several-week long training camps with some other hunting dogs. He got a taste for what he was bred to do. Running through the tall grass and open fields chasing birds was what he loved the most. He could run so fast! He was so lean and shiny and muscly back then.

created on: 2015-11-13

A series of circumstances brought us down to Huntington Beach, California in the summer of 2008. Him and I soon found a little studio apartment in Costa Mesa where we grew to love the warm weather and sandy beaches. Another move to San Diego allowed us to finally meet Peter and Betsy in April of 2011. Ever since, it has been non-stop adventure!!

created on: 2015-11-13

created on: 2015-11-13

We’ve taken several trips to Baja California, Mexico. We went camping in the Eastern Sierras where Gunner ran wild through the cow patties along the riverbed and roamed around near the campsite. We took a road trip up to see my family in Washington. We took the dogs through an Old Gold Mine and Peter had to carry Gunner up a tall rickety ladder. He’s gone swimming in the SoCal surf with his daddy and he went to the office with me to work on the weekends. He always loved going in the car, wherever we went. The adventures were endless.

created on: 2015-11-13

He was 12 when Peter and I decided to buy a boat and sail through the Caribbean. We knew he was getting old and that eventually the day would come when we would have to say goodbye, but there was never a doubt in our minds that he would come with us on our biggest adventure yet. We sold and donated most of our belongings, packed up the rest and drove across the country to our new home aboard a sailboat in Punta Gorda, Florida. It was that year that I first remember noticing his back feet drag a little during our evening runs. After four months on the dock we untied the lines for good and headed to the Bahamas!

created on: 2015-11-13

created on: 2015-11-13

created on: 2015-11-13

We sailed through the Bahamas, past Turks and Caicos, along the North coast of the Dominican Republic, South coast of Puerto Rico, USVI, BVI and all the way down the Eastern Caribbean island chain to Grenada for our first hurricane season on the boat. We returned to the Virgin Islands that winter, back to Grenada this year and back to the Virgins again just a few weeks ago for a total of 5,000 nautical miles. Gunner got to run and swim on so many beaches and he smelled so many good smells on all the islands we visited. He ate fresh sashimi on many passages with us, said hello to some turtles and iguanas, and lived out his retirement by our sides 24/7 as we sailed around Where The Coconuts Grow.

created on: 2015-11-13

Luckily we were able to get him back to USVI where it feels most like home to us. We made a few trips to the vet and finally I decided it was time. For Gunner’s last dinner he got to eat fresh Mahi Mahi and sleep on the bed with us all night long. We stayed at a dock where we could run the air-conditioning all night and I swear he didn’t move a muscle. I cuddled with him the whole time.

created on: 2015-11-13

created on: 2015-11-13

created on: 2015-11-13

In the morning he got a bacon cheeseburger and fries for breakfast. I was so glad he had enough of an appetite for one more special treat. We had rented a car and drove him to a nice grassy place by the water where I let him walk around (only about 20 minutes) until he couldn’t take another step. He sniffed every single bush and tree. Then he rolled around in the grass before eating three mini cheeseburgers and some more fries for lunch. He knew something was different this day. I could finally see that he was ready. Staying was just too hard.

created on: 2015-11-13

created on: 2015-11-13

created on: 2015-11-13

created on: 2015-11-13

created on: 2015-11-13

We climbed back in the air-conditioned car, made a stop at a peaceful place by the beach and drove to the vet’s office. Up in the trees where we parked there were yellow and white butterflies everywhere! It was almost magical. Though I knew in my heart it was time, nothing could have prepared me for how much my heart would hurt from that moment forward.

created on: 2015-11-13

Everyone tells me I gave him an amazing life filled with love but it’s so hard to focus on the love when the pain is so thick. I didn’t want him to suffer anymore than he did already so I keep reminding myself that it was because of the love that we had for each other that I made the decision when I did.

Betsy is sad too. Her brother was her partner in crime and cuddle-buddy. She loved him so much. In the last few days I’ve found her sleeping in Gunner’s spot on the bed and even sleeping on the ground by the bed where he liked to lay. Just yesterday she was in the galley just standing there facing the corner. I don’t know what she was doing but that was his favorite place to be, probably because it felt like his crate. We are giving her some extra attention, knowing she is just as sad as us.

created on: 2015-11-13

Most of our sailing adventures are catalogued on our blog, Where The Coconuts Grow, along with a slide-show gallery I’ve put together of some of my favorite photos of Mister, my sweet, sweet boy:

"For Gunner, With All My Love"

Thank you so much to everyone that has reached out with love and support. It truly does help to hear your stories – to know we are not alone but also to give us hope that someday our love for Gunner will help the heartache fade away… Even if we don’t respond, please know your words and prayers are appreciated during this hard time for our little family.

By Jody Pountain
www.WhereTheCoconutsGrow.com
Facebook: Where The Coconuts Grow





View more articles in: Community News

You may also like

Rescued fox sings pretty song (VIDEO)

"Kevie sings a pretty song." Kevie was rescued from a fur farm. She is known as a Cinnamon (not a native red fox) and was born with brittle bones among other birth defects and therefore cannot be let out into the wild. She has found a loving sanctuary and she has a beautiful singing voice. :-)   Related: Talking porcupine loves pumpkin snacks (video) Sea otter has a lot to talk about (video) Sweet dog...
Read more

Formerly abused dog finds her way back to her rescuer after running away from new family to find him

Pepper before and after Pepper had a very rough life until Josh Woodyard rescued her in Houston, Texas. Josh had been alerted about a hoarder and went to investigate. Pepper was in terrible shape when he found her, so he took her in. Josh fostered Pepper, nursed her back to health and paid for her rehabilitation. But Pepper's story took several other twists and turns before the Labrador Retriever / Pointer / Jack Russell Terrier...
Read more

Comedian Sarah Silverman's moving farewell to her beloved dog

Duck was rescued from a shelter by comedian Sarah Silverman. This week she had to say 'goodbye' to her constant companion of 14 years. She wrote this touching farewell note to Duck on her WhoSay page: "Duck 'Doug' Silverman came into my life about 14 years ago. He was picked up by the State running through South Central with no collar, tags or chip. Nobody claimed or adopted him so a no-kill shelter took him...
Read more

Inbred dog taken from backyard breeder adopted by woman who rescued her

A shockingly disfigured Chihuahua name Rosie was rescued from a backyard breeder on June 20th, 2012. Her rescuer, Cinnamon Muhlbauer, fell in love with the neglected dog and decided to adopt Rosie. Cinnamon says that given her history, she deserved a lifetime of love and adoration. Rosie's Facebook fan page tells the following story: Rosie was liberated from a Woodland Hills, CA backyard breeder/hoarder on June 20, 2012. Rosie was born on Valentine’s Day 2010...
Read more

Mkombozi the stray dog saved the life of a newborn baby

Felix Omondi an 11-year-old student with Mkombozi in a compound on the outskirts of Nairobi, Monday, May 9, 2005. The nursing dog foraging for food saved the life of a baby girl abandoned in a forest.   Mkombozi's story is legendary in Nairobi, Kenya, if not the world. The African dog currently resides at the Kenya SPCA where she spends her retirement sleeping in a soft bed and teaching school children about animal welfare. It’s...
Read more

Comments on this Article

» View all comments

Add Your Comment!

Log in to leave a comment or Create an account

Spring Sale on T-Shirts

Must See

Follow DogHeirs

Also find us on: DogHeirs on Twitter DogHeirs on Pinterest DogHeirs on Instagram DogHeirs on Google+

Copyright 2015 DogHeirs