Losing a Pet (or the Ballad of Crazy Bob)

Losing a Pet The Ballad of Crazy Bob

Losing a pet — it’s something every animal lover has to endure sooner or later. Last week, I said goodbye to my beautiful black Lab Crazy Bob.

Best I can figure, he was ten years old this spring, so definitely getting up there for a Lab with a life expectancy of only twelve to fourteen years. He aged tremendously this past year, going from the playful puppy he’s been all his life to an old man — white hair around his muzzle, at the tip of his tail, and — adorably — in between his toes.

How I lost Bob

I was prepared for old age, ready to cherish those last few years with him. Instead, last week, he was struck out of the blue by what, by my best guess, was a stroke brought on by a brain tumor. He went blind almost overnight, was off his feed for several days, then suddenly lost motor control in his hind legs — and stopped eating and drinking. He hung on bravely for a few days more before the final decision had to be made to let him go in peace.

Bob was a gift from the very beginning — in every way. He was the most special animal I’ve ever owned, the most beautiful Lab I’ve ever seen, and the most loving, forgiving, and joyous personality I’ve ever met.

How I found Bob

He came to me out of nowhere.

Author K.M. Weiland and Crazy Bob the Lab

One afternoon in late spring, I looked out the window to see a stray dog with a red flea collar in the garden. He was ecstatic to meet me — as he was to meet anyone. He was obviously a purebred, an expensive dog with papers, and he obviously had an owner.

Naturally, he couldn’t stay.

The next morning, I got up, thinking, Of course, he’s gone. But I opened the garage door, and there he was. The first thought in my head was the line from the movie What About Bob?:

You think Bob’s gone? Bob’s never gone!

Suddenly, he had a name. Ads in the classifieds and calls to the neighbors and the local pound provided no clue of an owner. And so Bob stayed. 

Life with Bob

He looked to be barely a year old, still a gangly, insanely athletic puppy who loved everything and everybody.

Crazy Bob the Black Lab Leaping for Frisbee

But his enthusiasm never got the better of him. He was always polite — never jumping up on people, never licking you in the face, only barking when driven to distracted excitement. He loved ear rubs (growling in ecstasy) and hated snakes (shaking them to shreds).

He was a gift. I never asked for him. God gave him to me, for ten wonderful years.

Life without Bob

I still haven’t gotten used to the idea he’s gone. I get up in the morning and go to put on my coat, thinking I need to walk and feed him. But his bed is gone. The bags of dog food are gone. I never hear his claws scrabbling on the hardwood floor. He’s not there to rub up against my legs and give me a brown-eyed begging look for an ear rub.

I miss him. But I’m thankful for the gift he was and that he has gone where he can’t suffer anymore.

Crazy Bob the Black Lab

I know I’m not alone in the grief caused by a losing a pet. Indeed, I have been overwhelmed by the kindness you all have poured on me after I mentioned his passing on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for caring.

Do you have experience with losing a pet? Tell me about your fur babies.

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  1. I’m so sorry, I know how hard it is to lose your pet. My two tiger cats both passed last year. I had them since we moved up here to Maine, from Florida. I always had them with me. I still miss them. Prayers for you and your beloved Crazy Bob.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. Our cat Norman will be sixteen this summer and showing his age. I cannot really imagine being without him (no matter how annoying he can be at times). I do cherish him and enjoy him every day.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Every writer needs a cat (says the writer who is currently cat-less). I hope you have many more years yet with Norman!

  3. Ugh, so sorry you’re going through this Katie 🙁 I’m a black lab girl myself – we have two right now 9 and 7 yrs old. Our older girl is starting to show her age physically, but they never stop being puppies mentally do they?
    I’ve heard them called “heart-dogs”, the special ones. I hate thinking about loosing ours, but having them for a while is so worth it. Even if they’re just on loan.
    Praying for you – for comfort in the healing process and for happy memories. Thanks for sharing Bob’s story.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      I think it’s true–it’s totally worth it. They’re such special animals that they can’t help but leave you better than they found you.

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