Monday, March 12, 2007

Tribute to a Loyal Friend

SAVANNAH the GREAT and GOOD DANE, 2001-2007

That's the thing about giant dogs. They don't live very long.

We had to put Savannah down today after a short illness -- lymphoma. It had already spread, and we couldn't stand the idea of seeing her suffer, so we reluctantly concluded "sooner rather than later."

Although not known for her intelligence, it would be difficult to imagine a sweeter dog. And although she had a window-rattling bark, she was as harmless as a cow. I don't think she'd have even known how to be aggressive, the fearsome pictures of her goofing with her late brother, Finn, notwithstanding.

She was perfect with the baby, accepting her demotion with loyalty and grace: "Hey, your baby is my baby." I'm glad he's not old enough to know he's lost his best friend.

It's going to be strange being without a dog for the first time in 17 years...

Mrs. G is pretty broken up. Remember her and Savannah in your prayers, and let's hope there's a heaven for good and gentle dogs.

In fact, let's hope there's a heaven with good and gentle dogs.


Aquila said...

Very sorry to hear this, Bob. There's nothing like the love of a dog, and no emptiness like living without it. Prayers to you, the family, and the spirit of this good creature.

robinstarfish said...

My deepest condolences, Bob and Mrs. G. There's no better friend than a good dog and it's never easy to see them pass on.

Thanks for letting us share in your loss.

Sal said...

"as He made animals for innocence"

RIP, Savannah. So sorry for the loss of your good dog.

Gagdad Bob said...

Thanks folks, and by the way, I didn't intend to get all maudlin and put the kibosh on today's discussion, so don't hesitate to carry on below as usual. There's still a whole cosmos to try to salvage.

H said...

Mrs G and Bob,
So sorry to hear about the loss of the Great Good Dane Savannah. We know how very sad it is to loose a precious pal. Recently we had to put down our eighteen year twin dogs who we have cherished from puppyhood. They are memorialized in lovely wooden boxes full of their ashes with nameplates. These boxes are presently serving as bookends for One Cosmos, Meditations and several other books. Even Merlin the parrot grieved for them.
As Will once said( I think in was Will), you only have to look in the eyes of a loved dog to see God
and God spelled backwards is Dog.
Is it no wonder the muzzie's are such a mess - they won't even let a seeing eye dog in a taxi
Our prayers are with you.

Ricky Raccoon said...

Sorry to hear about your loss. Such a noble animal.
Take care

NoMo said...

Very sorry, Bob. In my view of heaven, there is room for every beautiful creature. No more suffering.

Van said...

Aeschylus said "There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief", and it is true, bitter-sweet to be sure... but pictures like that sure bring the sweet back to the fore don't they?

I remember how tough it was on my Dad when he had to put Lassie down (hey, my brother & I were 6 & 4 when we named her, what name did you expect?), I haven't had to make that decision yet with any of our pets, but Zeuss is getting on in years and the time is coming...

It's good to remember that the source files for pictures like that are there in our heads & hearts... and you got to believe they're in Fido's too.

Mrs. G said...

Your comments, thoughts and prayers mean so much.

I don't know how GB always has the right words to say. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful creature.

Thank you guys so much,

Mrs. G

HayZeus said...

My condolences. The pure and simple love of a dog truly lightens our hearts when they are with us and it's no wonder we hate letting them go. They definitely deserve to be known as our best friends.

River Cocytus said...

Loyalty, thy representative is Dog.

A pet reflects some of the characteristics of its owner. Gentleness in a dog, I would think reflects gentleness in the owner. So, a good testament to your family, Bob.

Savannah may be gone, but will always live on where she was to begin with- in your heart.

As James Taylor sung, "Building behind your eyes, safe among your own..."

sawdust said...

mggupIf only all men (and women, naturally) were as true with their friendship as a dog, the world would be filled with Racoons. Always there, good times and bad.

I have three; a Chow-Huskie about 12 years old, a Doberman with a bum leg, and a mixed hound of some sort, I took pity on him and brought him home with me last St. Patrick's weekend. He was lost and starving, maybe 6 weeks old, I believe he is going to make a good companion. Who knows, maybe he'll return the favor someday.

The Dobie, Sadie, did her part about 5 years ago, waking me at 3 AM when my shop was burning. The old lady, Abigail, ran a would-be burglar up a tree and waited for the Sheriff to come.

I love to take walks with them, we are in the country, so they run free. It's a good time to ponder Bob's post and do a little communing. So, Bob, do you believe they have a spirit, and if so, how does it compare with ours?

sawdust said...

Somehow the word verification (I had to do it twice) got stuck on the beginning of my post. What did I do wrong? It should begin "If only".

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about Savannah, Bob & Mrs. G.
I dread the day when I'll have to wake up without either of mine. I do believe all good dogs go to heaven; anything else would be inconceivable. I expect, some day, she'll be the first to welcome you Home.

She was a beautiful dog.

Anonymous said...

Savannah, from one Dane to another;
"Farewell my blessing season this in thee" Polonius

will said...

People who've never owned pets have no idea how much it stings when the furry critters move on.

May angels sing you to your rest, Savannah.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

My condolences Mrs. G and Bob.
If, as Jesus said, Heaven is better than we can imagine, then how can Heaven not include the pets that we love?

I have no doubt that this is True.

Thanks for sharing your loss and good memories Bob.

sehoy said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

Farewell, Faithful Beastie.

It's my hope that the mansions come with big front porches and that all the dogs we've lost are lolling on them, patiently waiting.

JWM said...

"The Power of the Dog"


There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie --
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find -- it's your own affair --
But . . . you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit hat answered your every mood
Is gone -- wherever it goes -- for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept'em, the more do we grieve;

For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long --
So why in -- Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?


My heart breaks for you, Bob.


dilys said...

Big beautiful Angel-like Dog. A shared life.

Lisa said...

Each spring I get a new addition to my backyard ecosystem. Last year was a turtle. Yesterday, I noticed a pair of mourning doves and their baby chicks. I will choose to see them as a tribute to both Savannah and my dog, Sabrina (who I also had to put to sleep in Dec. due to illness). They may be gone but never forgotten...

Gandalin said...

Dear Bob,

Your grief is shared. I think the main thing now is to get more dogs. When we lost our perfect dog, we got first one, then another, and now we struggle to manage with three. They are far from perfect, and sometimes serve only to remind us of how perfect our lost one was, but we are at least providing a home for others like her. They are her living memorial.

As far as heaven goes, we know from Scripture that the dog has a living spirit, a "nefesh chaya," so we may be certain of encountering our canine friends on the other planes in which our real lives continue.

The final chapter of the Mahabharata might be a welcome study at this time.

Gagdad Bob said...

By the way, I don't want to discourage anyone from getting a Dane, which is a wonderful breed. They don't usually live this short a time -- more like 10 -12 years. From what I understand, the lymphoma is not breed-specific, but a random and equal-opportunity kiler. We've had two so far. Perhaps we'll get another right away... After all, a boy needs a dog... My son does too.

ms. e said...

I cannot say I've ever lived without one or more dogs. I may have already commented on my favorite version of Genesis which says In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve and when He saw how miserable they were He gave them a dog. Volumes have been written on the relationship of Man and Dog. I have learned from years of getting and losing one that the death of a dog is the price we pay for the privilege of getting to love them.

Mr.and Mrs. G, May your sorrow move through you gently.
To the Maker of the Stars, thank you for giving us Dogs.

Fausta said...

Sorry to hear the sad news. My condolences.

hoarhey said...

Sorry about the loss. It's particularly hard to lose so loyal an animal.

teej said...

"In fact, let's hope there's a heaven with good and gentle dogs."

Hear, hear.

My heart goes out to you and Mrs. G; she looked like a fine dog.

Golem14 said...

It wouldn't be Heaven without animals! I think we humans need them around (apart from the other reasons why they were created), and they will be around even in the next world.

My condolences to Bob and Mrs. G.-- I've been there over and over again, and although I think I'll see my pets again someday, you never really get over the loss...

robert sea said...

reading yesterday's blog entry, and looking at my own dog curled up on the floor, i can only offer my condolences to you three on the loss of your beloved family member.

and that photo of little Bob and you dog, a match made in heaven.

rest in peace, big puppy.

cosanostradamus said...

If there is any justice, St. Francis is introducing Savannah to all the other Talking Animals in the big park right now.

I've got an old dog at my feet who will look forward to a friend when she gets there.

Long live our best friends.

Anonymous said...

I had brindle Danes when I was growing up. I can't imagine there is a sweeter natured breed of dog. I'm sorry for your loss Bob.