My phone rang last Thursday, and as soon as I heard my friend Gail Churchill’s voice, I knew something was wrong.
“What is it? I asked.
“I had to let Rosie go this morning,” she said, choking the words through tears.
Rosie was her golden retriever who was only two weeks away from her 14th birthday, which is a pretty respectable age for a golden, and it was something we had feared for months as we watched her audition go by. first, followed by a check on it. back paws.
“As long as she still loves to eat and isn’t in pain, I’m not ready to let her go,” Gail said.
Thursday morning, however, Rosie crashed. She couldn’t get up, she didn’t want to eat and Gail knew it was time. Rosie was too heavy to carry to the car to take her to Alameda Pet Hospital, so vet Dr Karen Buchinger sent vet tech Cory Clayton to Gail’s house to help. He was there in less than 10 minutes. He carried Rosie to Gail’s car and followed them in his own car to the hospital, where he gently transported Rosie into the building. Dr Buchinger gave a humane injection and Rosie left quickly and painlessly. Gail was with her when she died.
So ended the remarkable life of the best dog I have ever known. The Goldens are famous for their gentle disposition, but Rosie was gentle even by gold standards. She loved everyone, and everyone loved her. Her whole life was brimming with zest for life, and just being around her made you happy to be alive too. Every time she saw me again she practically exploded with happiness, and it’s a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.
We can have it on dogs intellectually, but morally they are our superiors in all respects. As Mark Twain observed, “If you go to heaven, keep your dog outside. Heaven goes by favor. If it was out of merit, the dog would come in and you would stay outside. I believe dogs are angels sent to teach us the simple but very deep joy of loving and being loved. And that doubled for Rosie. She was beautiful inside and out.
There were two other things Rosie loved as much as she loved love itself, however. One was the food – surprise, surprise! – and the other was kittens. Gail welcomes homeless kittens for a wonderful rescue group in Alameda called Island Cat Resources and Adoptions (ICRA). One of the beauties of ICRA is that it has no shelter, which means all the kittens they rescue are housed in private homes. Some homes have children, which allows kittens to fit in nicely in homes with young children. Others are housed in homes like Gail’s, which have dogs and cats, which means they’ll be comfortable in homes with other pets.
Rosie loved her kittens. She comforted them and played with them and let them crawl over her and use it as a bed. Whenever a new litter arrived, Rosie would desert Gail’s bed and sleep with the kittens so she could keep an eye on them. If one of them moved away, she would gently roll it towards the others with her nose. He missed them when they were adopted, but it never lasted long as there was always another batch coming.
Why was she so nice to them? I think part of it was because she was raised by Gail’s cats, so she considered herself part of a cat. One day Gail came home to find her standing on the kitchen counter. The expression on his face said it all, “What’s the matter? Cats do, don’t they?
As a result, the kittens she raised turned out to be sweet, friendly and charming, like little golden retrievers. I should know: my cat, Sally, and her late sister, Pepe, who passed away last December, were two of Rosie’s kittens, and I saw a lot of her in them.
Rosie finished raising her last batch of kittens just days before her death: a small black female named Rose and two small Siamese: a male named Simon and a female named Gracie. They are currently at the vet being vaccinated and spayed or neutered, but will be available for adoption next week on the Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter website, alamedaanimalshelter.org. And since we are in the middle of kitten season, there are also plenty of other adorable kittens on the ICRA website. icraeastbay.org. If you’ve ever wanted to adopt a sweet and affectionate kitten – or better yet, two sweet and affectionate kittens – now is the time.
Tell them Rosie sent you.
Martin snapp can be contacted at [email protected]