Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Preacher falls silent...

Preacher has given his last sermon; His big voice will no longer echo through the forest.

A few days ago, Preacher stopped eating, a most unusual thing for him. Dinner was always the highlight of his day. Yesterday he went to the vet. A barium enhanced x-ray showed a blockage in his small intestine. He was to have exploratory surgery this morning. His blood work was excellent. No complications were expected. He was supposed to come home tonight after they removed what he had eaten. Preacher did like to eat the stuffing out of squeaky toys.

You know when the vet calls again in under an hour that the news is not good. The blockage in Preacher's intestines was a large tumor. He was full of cancer with tumors on his spleen, stomach, abdomen wall and throughout his GI tract. He had been fighting this battle for a long time without showing any signs.

He became symptomatic this week when a small piece of his Sunday dinner got stuck on one of the intestinal tumors and punctured his small intestine. His prognosis was bleak, less than a 10 per cent chance he would ever recover from the intensine damage and the cancer would have taken him very soon even without this incident. We chose not to let Preacher wake up. He would not have been Preacher anymore and he would have had no quality of life. It would have been selfish of me to ask him to stay any longer. I always said that when Preacher stopped eating, it would be time. I desperately wish I had been wrong about that.

I am grateful that he waited for me, that he let me be with him as he crossed and that he made it very clear I had no choice. I am not sure I could have let him go if I had any hope left that my bossy, sassy, goof could have come home.

Preacher was my introduction to fostering and six months after his arrival, my first foster failure. Stuart told me that I should "just adopt him. No one is ever going to love that ugly ol' mutt like you do." He was right. I adored that dog. I will forever adore that mutt! I signed the papers the next morning to adopt Preacher and his best friend, Franklin. They could not be seperated at the time. Franklin couldn't function without Preacher. He was afraid of everything and Preacher was afraid of nothing. Franklin now explores his world with the same confidence Preacher once had. Perhaps Preacher knew his work with Franklin was done. Franky and I will both be a little lost without him.

I will love and miss you forever, big fella. It is so damn quiet without you. It is appropriate that you left on the longest, darkest night of the year. You brought me great joy and love; my world is a little darker without you today.

Rest well, ol' boy. You've earned it.


Anonymous said...

Tamara - I've already written my condolences to you so here's a happy Preacher story!

I remember running that big, barky boy in lead not long after I got to "that kennel" and someone mistakenly told me Preacher was a leader! Well, he wasn't! Not only that, I took him out with his daughter who was about 2 to TRAIN in lead! Brilliant idea!! Um, not so much.

God he was the most distracted dog and after fighting to get across the river with him for like 20 minutes, we finally got across. I thought things were going to be ok then, as we were on a nice trail with no turns, what could go wrong?

Well, a little squirrel capturing Preacher's short-attention span is what could go wrong! He (and his daughter, to be fair) had the 8-dog team and sled wrapped around a tree faster than I could have ever imagined!!! I have never seen a sled wrapped around a tree like that. Ever! Preacher was practically UP the tree!

They didn't get the squirrel, but after all my frustration, and the hours it felt like getting us all out of the tree's grasp, I always remember the happy, satisfied look on Preacher's face at the end of the chaos!!!

I don't think his daughter ever ran lead again - thanks to me AND Preacher...

I know you're gonna miss that guy, and once again - you've made a happier life for those two after they were treated like crap and dumped off at the shelter.

I'll miss ya and I'll especially miss hearing about you Preacher!

Cats~Goats~Quotes said...

I am so very sorry for your loss.
From what you've written about him, he must have been a great friend and companion. I'll miss reading about Preacher.
Thanks for giving him a good life and secure home.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tamara ~

The Tears are flowing again - just like when I read Preacher was called to The Bridge on Pet Talk ...

God will Bless you for giving him a Loving Home - and for Loving him enough to let him go from the shackles of an illness he couldn't recover from.

Painful as it may be - your Telling of Preacher Tails may help to ease your pain ... We'll share your tears.

THANKS for being the Good Mom you are to so many ... they will Never forget your Kindness and Love.

REST In Eternal Peace, Preacher -
and save a snowy trail to show your Mom when she meets you at the Bridge on One Fine Day in the future.

{{{Hugs}}} to Tamara and Stuart.

/s/ Phred

Wandering Spirit Kennels said...

Thanks for the smile, Stacie. I tried him in lead a couple times too. It didn't go well. He never ran me up a tree, but he did help get us so lost once that some stranger drove us all home! We were a very long way off the trail we should have been on!

He was happier yelling at the team from the yard than he was running with them. He was happiest on his pillow with a treat. He was a character.

Thank you all for your kind words. It terribly quiet around here today. Seems odd to be able to walk through the porch without announcing myself(Preacher didn't like to be startled) and without having to step over him. The porch was his and he saw no reason why he should have to get out of anyone's way!


Anonymous said...

Hi Tamara,
I read about Preacher's passing on Stacie's blog and had to come to your site to see pictures of the handsome devil. I'm so terribly sorry for your loss...he and Franklin are so lucky that they found someone who understood their need to finish some work together. I can completely believe that Pman was waiting to make sure that you and Franky would be okay without him before moving on...

I just wanted to say how sorry I am for the sadness you are all experiencing and the loss of such an incredible soul.

Bless you and Preacher both for finding one another...
Sue and the Yahoos

Janet Whitesell said...

My condolences. I also lost an older dog this week to what sounds like exactly the same problem as Preacher.

Woofwoof said...

I am very sorry. I am glad that you gave him many happy years.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tamara,
I saw your note on Maladopters and popped over here to see Preacher's pic.

I am so sorry for your loss and I know those quiet dark nights. We lost the first Mal we rescued 9 years ago, Reily, the week before, on Dec 13th. Like you, we promised him that we would never allow him to suffer, no matter how hard it was on us.

Never doubt that you did the right thing for Preacher. After so long in the shelter, you gave him something that he would never otherwise have had, Tamera.

It might be darker for you right now, but the halls of Heaven are going to get a whole lot louder --
I'm sure he's just bursting with song - a song of love and hope - a song only you could teach his heart to sing.

He was truly blessed to have you as his guardian on Earth.