Seamus, our big guy, our sweet man, our loving lovable magnificent hulk of a dog has left us and gone ahead on the trail that we all will follow someday.
He'd been sick on and off for the last few weeks, given antibiotics, got better and got sick again. He spent the night at the vet's on Friday getting IV fluids, then after coming home on Saturday was sick again - throwing up, incontinent, unable to eat or drink. I took him to the small animal hospital in Lexington and he was given IV fluids and antibiotics again, had more x-rays and labs and was holding his own. But by this evening he wasn't gaining ground and we went ahead with an exploratory laparotomy.
He had an intussusception, a telescoping of his bowel, which was something that could be resected and repaired. There would still be concerns about his recovery, but that was survivable.
What was not survivable were the very large and ugly nodes on his spleen and some other organs. Almost certainly hemangiosarcoma, and fatal. The vet could have removed his spleen and we could have taken our chances with his post-op course, but that would have been a crap shoot and the odds were not at all good for him. So I let him go. He just kept on sleeping, and glided on over to eternity.
Seamus was as happy a dog as ever lived. He had a wonderfully expressive face and you never had to guess about his mood. He'd chase a tennis ball until his legs were wobbly and then carry it around some more. He's bring his rawhide chew to show to me, and wag his tail while I told him how lovely it was, then bring it back to me again ten minutes later so we could repeat the conversation. When we were out in the car and I'd go into a store, when I looked out Seamus would be standing in the car window, staring at the door I'd gone into - never looking away, always waiting for me to come back, ecstatic when I reappeared.
I've never had a dog as devoted to me as that cheerful hulk was. He loved me with an intensity and purity that no other dog has. He would body block all the other dogs so that he could monopolize my attention, have me all to himself. He would stand by the bed and whine, in the dark and for an hour, until I told him to come on up. Then he'd lurch that great frame up onto the bed, stretch out against me and let out a deep sigh, happy to be close to the one he adored.
He was my special buddy and I marveled at his devotion. He wagged all over when I told him what a good boy he was.
Seamus was a star, even appearing on the radio with me with Sue Wiley. There was no one who didn't love his joyous face and didn't think him handsome, striking, imposing. He was the biggest puppy ever, thrilled to be alive and with us.
If there is any sense or order to this universe, I'll see him again when I cross over, along with Sergei and Vanya and Lucie. My pack on the other side of the bridge is growing, slowly and painfully. My heart is sore and now my comfort is the pack that remains, those great warm beasts, the puppy pile I can lie with and hug and caress, wishing that our happy giant was still here, still sharing his joy with us.