~ Part One
The last two blogs (Roxy’s story) and (Olli who lost his fur brother) have dealt with the loss of the Weimaraner. There are simply no words to cover such a loss. We can agree on this one thing—what we want to do is to push off the inevitable as long as possible.
This heartfelt desire begs the question of what we can do to make a big difference. We have some thoughts. Our suggestions cover the unexpected accidental loss as well as avoiding potential health issues. Our hope is for every OwyheeStar puppy to arrive at the Rainbow Bridge’s door late in life.
Accident Related Loss
Every few months we get a note about a Weimaraner who has lost their life due to an accident. These events vary–by nature each is unique; however, the underlying cause is similar. Some of the standout scenarios are listed here along with suggestions on how to avoid this type of thing. Eating or ingesting various non-edibles is a common theme. There are other dangers too, but we often forget the Weimaraner will eat anything.
1. Toys — Even rubber toys lose their integrity. Depending upon your Weim’s chewing strength, you may need to (always) supervise their chewing. Other toys have squeakers that can become an issue and the rope bones, which are a good choice, don’t work for every Weimaraner. Bits of ingested string can build up in and along the intestinal wall leading to a blockage or irritation. A blockage can happen fast and be hard to discover in time to save your pet. Vomiting and not passing a stool are indicators–but these two symptoms are not a sure sign. The same signs for other ailments and sometimes are just mean it is an upset tummy. It is best to get your Weimaraner checked if this is a prolonged event. Taking their temperature (rectally) might not seem all that pleasant, but it can help you determine the seriousness of the event. (The normal dog temperature is 101.5°F (38.6°C). A rising temperature is alarming –-you need to know the standard temperature for your pet because it is much higher than for humans.
2. Medications and things sink side — One of the most heartrending stories involved a Weimaraner that ate someone’s medication–kept at the kitchen sink for convenience. The counter-surfing Weimaraner nabbed the bottle and ate it, and the contents. By the time they got him to the Vet office, it was too late. The Weimaraner might eat anything it seems–we have had others report sponges, dishrag, food, food-scented trash, etc. Sponges and the dish rag could lead to a blockage. Food has all kind of potential risk–bones can puncture the intestine wall, and some food (even the most innocuous kind like the avocado) are potentially toxic.
3. Around the House –There are many things to mouth and ingest. Some are shocking to us. One such item happens more than you might guess. Certain Weims are so obsessed with you and your scent that they may raid your laundry basket. Undergarments have the strongest scent, and some Weims will ingest these–another potential intestinal blockage issue. More often than not, they will pass, but you might discover something hanging out the back end. A hankie, undies, or the sock that made for a quick snack. (oops)
4. In the Fenced Yard –These are multifaceted. The Weimaraners are known for ingesting rocks; sometimes they pack them around in the mouth, and this is hard on their teeth. Pica (ingesting items such as rocks) seems odd to us, but it happens a lot. Marble-sized rocks to those the size of a large plum (such as river rock) are ideal. Rocks sometimes will travel through without a hitch; other times (all too often) they cause an intestinal blockage. Sharp edged rocks can irritate or puncture the intestinal wall. Rocks are not the only culprit in your yard. There are a plethora of toxic plants commonplace. Ones we would never suspect. Anything in the yard (including your house siding) could be chewed. We have known of a Weimaraner left in the yard that dug up a sidewalk, and she ingested bits of concrete. While we are discussing the backyard, some Weims can open gate latches. Others dig and can tunnel out of the yard. Then there are those that if they want to get out to explore, they can easily bound over a 5′ fence. Another danger is a collar that would catch them and strangle them. One extreme dog lover tied his and his brother’s dog to a tree. They didn’t have a fence, and they were only going to the corner store for a moment. Both dogs climbed the tree they were tied to–the young men came back to find the Weimaraner’s collar had caught on a branch she slipped, and you can guess what happened. This haunting experience will never be forgotten (the young man is a practicing Veterinarian). May this serve as a warning to others who think to tie their Weim for a few moments would be the safest solution. It didn’t work out in this situation.
5. Road Dangers—
A six-acre yard and a well-trained Weimaraner should not be a problem; however, the devastating loss of their family member proved them wrong. A deer or something spurred the Weimaraner to give chase. Later they found him on a road even though they lived in a remote Northern Idaho location. The inherent desire to give chase (also known as the prey drive) is always lurching in the background–even when you have achieved the seemingly unfailing recall. Traveling with the Weimaraner is not without risk either. Some folks believe it is OK to have them ride in the back of their pickup–some tie them in, so they won’t fall out. Others let them roam free. More than one Weimaraner has seen something that sparked their sudden urge to give chase, and over the side, they went. Not everyone lost their life, but some did. One Christmas Eve in warm Arizona a woman was traveling with her Weimaraner. She had the windows down–the breeze blowing in their faces. She was on the way to a family dinner when her Weimaraner jumped out the window. He rolled down a bank breaking several bones. He lived, but they spent the night at the Emergency Vet Office instead of having a family dinner. He had traveled with the window frequently open; she had no reason for concern until this happened.
Others types of accidents happen but are less commonplace. Day two–we will discuss the other random things that may well shorten your time with your beloved friend and family member. The Weimaraner’s human must look out for their well-being on every level. A watchful eye for the seemingly puppy-like nature and the dangers to this breed are required. We thank you for your vigilance.
~ Shela and Cliff
PS: We bemoan the lack of photos; however, we were at a loss for which one to put here. We also didn’t cover things like Holiday Mishaps–and the dangers posed by the 4th of July and such. It was a lengthy post, and we have written on these topics many times.
~ He has never known life without Rudi
Yesterday we made the difficult decision to put Rudi down. He was 14 and his back arthritis was worsening. It was the right thing to do and one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. It was our turn to love unconditionally and he is now stalking rabbits with his buddies.Olli has not yet figured out the permanence of the change. He knew something was going on and that Rudi was not doing well. He wanted to snuggle with him on Rudi’s bed but Rudi was not having any of it. Re picture below is one we took several months ago in the distillery. Two very different temperaments and we love both of them dearly for their personalities and joy that they bring.Hope you and Cliff are doing well. ~Mary
PS – when we got Olli we started both dogs on Nuvet. Rudi had horrible allergies but they steadily improved over the last 2 years to the point of not needing any medication. Coincidence? I think not. We are sold on the benefits.
Eventually, something is going require us to let them go. This gut-wrenching experience is a personal one. A loss is never easy–it affects each of us differently. We process it in our way–honor them in a way significant to us. Some folks grieve for a long time and cannot entertain the thought of getting another. Others feel free to move forward. They are almost driven to find another and begin a new journey. Their take is the departing Weim would want nothing less for them.
Most of us want to extend the journey together as long as it is feasibly possible. With insurance knee replacements, hip replacements, and other major surgical procedures are within reach.
How Long Do We Have?
That is a good question. No one can guess. There simply is no guarantee you will get 14 years, or even 11. The only way to approach this risky relationship is to count every day as a special blessing.
From Our Side
If you sat where I sit you would feel what I feel. I read notes from people all the time; ………not always OwyheeStar people. In fact, these are usually not from our clients but people who are seeking and searching for other than what happened to them. They look to avoid whatever health issue took their fur baby away. I am quick to tell them that anything could happen. It scares me when we place a puppy with someone who writes me that they lost their last Weimaraner to a rare form of cancer. I secretly fear that rare cancer could strike again—even many years ago when it had never happened. Honestly, I only remember once it happened –cancer of larynx took a client’s six-year old Weimaraner. She got another from us, but it didn’t replace the first OwyheeStar in her heart.
This concern of someone having an untimely loss is only one of the many stressors in my life—I do care. I think when you adopt a rescue anything can happen. Also, when you bring home a puppy things can happen as well. The risk of loving our beloved Weimaraner is huge but worth it.
It is Just a Matter of Time
~ 14 Years is Not Enough
I’ve been thinking of sending you a few pics of this year. She’s such a strong girl – as soon as we start to think this is it, she bounces up like a puppy and proves to be as healthy as ever.
The Beach is Out!
~ This is the Last Trip
This trip to the beach will probably be her last, as she could hardly move when we got home. The vet says it’s that nerve in the hip area that’s ready to give out, so we know it’s just a matter of time before she won’t be able to walk at all. Thank you for staying in touch all these years – you gave us a gift for over 14 years & we’re so grateful.
Dear Friends, if you can say a little prayer for Roxy’s family, we would appreciate it. We all know that eventually, we will face something life-ending with our Weimaraner. It could come as a surprise–out of the blue in a shocking manner that doesn’t allow us to say goodbye. Or, it might require a gut-wrenching decision.
Holly Haffey who is a frequent OwyheeStar contributor (and her mother is Terri Robinson who delights us with her photography) faced a decision such as this with her first Weimaraner, Emma. Emma was a rescue Holly acquired that lead her to the breed. She was able to extend Emma’s life through great sacrifice on her part. I won’t speak to what it cost her personally, and it is most certainly not something everyone could or would do, but it is a testimony to what folks do to extend days together.
The crossroad we all reach (when our beloved lives on) takes us a place no one wants to go. It is a place we celebrate all we have shared and how our life was changed in the process. It is a painful decision that leads us through the valley of loss and grief. It is a very personal decision. If you have not been there, don’t even imagine saying to someone what they ought to do. If your travels include the valley of sorry and the rainbow bridge, then we know you can feel the agony.
Atticus in New Zealand
How did Atticus deal with the loss of Squiggle?…
It was a weird time for us, which probably helped him out. At that time I was doing small animal weekend and relief work in Texas, so I had a lot of free time I was spending with them at home. I knew the time was getting close. Squiggle had major muscle atrophy in her hind ends and was having trouble getting up or going for extending walks. She had a couple of accidents while sleeping. She also had several large masses of her spleen and several other health problems. I spent a couple days with them doing their favorite things, and let her eat a lot of people food. I set up an appointment early in the morning on my day off and I decided to take Atticus with me. Atticus and I were in a room with her and a vet tech. Atticus just laid down while I did everything with her. He licked his paws the whole time but didn’t get visually or vocally upset otherwise. We spent about a half hour in the room with her and then we left. He didn’t seem very interested in her; didn’t go over to her to smell or nudge her or anything.Afterward, I took him to the dog park, had lunch with a friend and then just chilled at home. At this time, when I wasn’t home I was taking them to a dog daycare/boarding place every day I was working. So he had no time to be at the house alone. He was either with me or with the staff and other dogs at the daycare center. He never searched for her or seemed otherwise upset.I’m not sure if this is a normal response, or just him, or what. Hopefully, that helps.Marika
I wonder if Atticus didn’t take his cue from you. Maybe you had resolved this, and while you were sad, you knew it was inevitable. Plus you work with this kind of thing (being a Vet) and help others deal with the loss. Each situation is unique. He was busy with his normal life. You were sad to say goodbye to Squiggle. Nonetheless, you knew there was no turning back. It is beyond sad to lose an old friend.
Colby Finds Comfort
I don’t really send much on Colby these days. But I wanted to take a moment to share a couple photos I snapped of our youngest with him the other day.
It’s been a little rough for Colby with the passing of our older dog, Sable. It hit him worse than anyone, since the rest of us were prepared for this to happen. We’ve been giving him lots of loving and he is milking it pretty well. Case in point: letting him on the bed with the baby.He doesn’t know of to be cognicent when she is laying around and stepping on her is a possibility I’d rather avoid. When he came up to attempt a nap, I charged him a few photos. He grumped off shortly after he realized no nap would be happening here.The weim grieves loss just like we do. But a little love can help to mend a broken heart.
I think Weimaraners, just as humans, process loss in different ways. Some seem to go on with life and adjust quickly. Others suffer intensely.
It never ceases to amaze me how most Weims adapt to life changes. I truly believe much of this is due to their inclusion in the family. When some add a baby, they forget that the Weimaraner was the center of the universe before the baby arrived. Others include the fur-family members without expecting them to be relegated to the background.
Many times a pup who comes into a family with children will be fueled by the energy of the toddler and younguns running around. Unwanted puppy nipping and also jumping up are typically the issue. It can be challenging. In the same family, if there is a baby, it may well never be a problem. The Weimaraner often are more careful and found to cuddle in with the baby. I used to have a photo of a baby sleeping on the Weimaraner. The family said it calmed the baby. Our relationships are complicated and amazingly unique.
Honoring Those Who Came First
It has been awhile since I thanked you for this beauty. The sun has shown up a bit this week and she got to explore a lot. If it keeps up this Tuesday we will take her to the beach for the first time. It will be a year since the day we lost our 2 puppies. We thought a great way to honor them was to spend the day spoiling Lily. We can’t imagine life without her now. She is such a huge part of our world. Thank you again ~ Catherine.
In a blink of an eye, through no fault of your own, a loss can occur. The unthinkable is devastating. Eventually, something will come along and claim them before we can fathom letting them go, but a tragedy such as this family suffered hit deeper yet. We were glad to be able to send Lily. She has big paw prints to fill, but she is making a difference. She is not a replacement. Her duties are new and unique.
Lucy Loved going with Us
Bob, I, and Luigi went out to the desert this past Monday. We took Lucy’s ashes with us. They have a great walking trail out there. It is a mile and a half trail. All along the trail people have placed rocks they have painted with names on them. Some have tributes on them, some people make a big saying out of lots of rocks all kinds of things. Well about halfway through the walk they have a pet memorial that people have made over the years.
Now she is Memorialized There
Bob and I have walked with the kids on that trail for years. Lucy just loved being off leash on that trail. We thought it was only right to bring her ashes there for her final resting place. I ordered a nice river stone through Amazon and we brought it with us to place along the trail. We put her rock on the edge of the trail next to a mailbox that someone must have placed there over the years. I have included two pictures. The first one is of the rock I had made. It is a beautiful rock. It weighs 10 lbs. They etched her name the paw and the years. It will last! In the background, you can see part of the love is eternal in rocks that someone made years ago. Under that you see the whitish sand looking area. That’s is Lucy’s ashes. The second picture I thought turned out beautiful! I was just trying to get all the love is eternal in the pic with Lucy’s ashes in it as well but I thought the background was so beautiful!! You can see the desert with the mountains and blue sky with clouds! I just love this picture!!!
Well, Bob, I and Luigi will now start a new chapter in our lives–Dec 2, 2016
We cannot express our gratitude for all you did with and for Lucy. We are beyond sorry for the loss. We know she left a hole in your heart and home.
The taunting birds and critters will miss her. Her toys will feel her neglect as well. Oh, how she loved her ball. Thank you again!
Our Saving Grace
I purchased two puppies that were born on Halloween 2000. We wanted them; one for my brother and the other for me. It was in the wake of a terrible loss that I sought the Weimaraners. My husband had been murdered and our Father had committed suicide afterward within 3 months. These dogs were out saving grace.
My brother lost his Willow lady (Willie) a few years ago due to age, and I lost my Millennium Oakley (Oakley) just 2 years ago now. Best dog I have ever had. I am just reaching out because if I can ever get past the heartbreak of losing her someday. I would be very interested in another but only from you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart; I would never have made it without her….
Euthanizing our beloved pet is sometimes the most loving thing we can do. We cannot let them suffer endlessly with no hope of recovery. Knowing when there is no other choice, and when this is the right decision is best discussed with your veterinarian. This is a painful topic, but a reality for us that love the Weimaraner. Unless a very bad scenario happens, where your life is cut short, they are destined to leave this world before we do. Nonetheless, most of us hope our Weimaraner will be the one to live to sixteen years. In reality, only a few live that long even with the best of care. As with humans, different accidents and illnesses can shorten our lifespan. Each day is a special gift.
Forty plus years of raising puppies means that we have received a number of these notes containing news of the loss. Most are from people we have never met, but some are from our clients who lost their beloved OwyheeStar Weimaraner. There are no adequate words, and phrases to cover these losses. Our heart aches along with the person telling us their story. Whatever the story, the loss is felt deep. There are expenses associated with the loss on every level.
Time can seemingly stop. Many individuals are surprised by the impact on their lives. We never take these notes lightly. One came this week, and it was not easy. Turbo could not continue his work at the fire station, or his journey any longer. Sadly, Mike and Monica had to say good-bye. They could not leave him to suffer. They provided the best for him every step of the way, but at some point in time it isn’t fair. So, as the skies have seemed to weep over the last couple of days, it seems fitting. Turbo cannot be replaced, but he will live on in our hearts. If ever, there was a Weimaraner with the “it-factor” it was Turbo.