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The Life and Times of Ranger, Best Dog in the World

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Matryeshka, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

    Once upon a time, there lived a dog named Ranger. She was born sometime in May and died on November 24, 2012 of lung and kidney cancer. She was the best dog in the world. Other people think they have the best doggie in the world, but they would be wrong. It's OK if you think you're dog is the best, but I know the truth.

    Ranger and her sister Daisy (RIP July 7, 2011) did not have an auspicious start in life. As puppies, they were thrown out of a moving truck into a ditch in Mandeville, LA. She and her sister were the two survivors; I took them home with me on July 3, 2000. Daisy suffered from allergies, epilepsy, and constant ear infections; she was told by many vets she would not live to be five, but she lived eleven long years before having an allergic reaction to a routine shot. Ranger, on the other hand, was never sick a day in her life. Never. Ever. From the beginning, she was a special dog.

    There were many things that made her the best dog in the world, but as as not to make every other parent of a furry child feel too inferior, I will list just a few:
    • She loved her family so much
    • She knew her name within a week
    • She brought me socks every time I came in the door, even if I only went to the mailbox
    • She loved peeled grapes
    • She was always in a good mood
    • She yodeled and had a true howl, and we sang together every night before going on walkies.
    • When you were sick, she'd just know and laid her furry head on whatever part was aching. Right before I had my gall bladder removed, she squeegeed herself on the sofa and lay right next to my stomach, and barked viciously at anyone who came near me. When my mom began having knee problems, she would lay her soft, furry head on her knee and look at her with her soft, brown puppy eyes.
    • At night, she'd jump on the bed and curl perfectly into the small of my back
    • She was a great herder and when our family dog (Pepper, 18, still kicking) began falling down, she would nudge her up
    • She barked mightily at all sorts of nefarious beings, especially squirrels
    • In her whole life, she only ever had one accident inside the house after she was trained, and that was a result of the cancer.
    • She loved her car rides and holding her furry doggy head out the window more than anything
    • She invented doggy games
    • She was psyhcic and always knew when I was coming home. When I called my parents before boarding a plane from Moscow to home, my mom said she stayed in front of the door for 28 hours and never moved because she knew mommy would be home soon.
    • She pulled the best cons for food--she'd stealthily crawl on her belly or hide between the coffee table, waiting for food to fall.
    • She was always alert, excited, and happy until the very end.

    Last month, she had an emergency spleenectomy and we got the good news that she was one of the lucky few where it was not cancerous. Unfortuately, either the biopsy was wrong or tumors in other parts of her body turned malignant. Two weeks ago, we took her to the doctor because she was having trouble walking; they said it was a herniated disc--keep her still for two weeks and she'd be fine. Last week, I knew something was wrong, but it was blamed on her running out of prednisone and being "older." But I knew, because mommy always knows. On Monday, she was a relatively healthy, barking, yodeling dog. On Tuesday, she grew lethargic. On Wednesday, she couldn't eat and could barely walk but she rallied when my younger brother came home, even going for a walk and snapping at another dog. On Thursday, I knew the end was near when she refused to eat her special Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Yesterday, we took her to the emergency clinic and got the horrible news, which I think I always knew--she had lung cancer and kidney cancer, and it was spreading to her brain. She panted heavily and was clearly not herself, but they gave her some shots and said it could be a few days or two weeks. Cancer in dogs moves amazingly quickly; she got an all-clear not even a month ago after the spleenectomy.

    I woke up this morning, unable to sleep and could hear her panting from the stairwell. I laid down with her, looked in her poor eyes which now had a film over them and she was trying to focus on me, but couldn't. I knew it was time, and she "told" me she was ready. We called the vet, she said bring her in right away.

    On the way to the vet (in Mandeville), she laid down on her bed in the back of her van--we'd cleared the seats out the day before. It was her favorite bed and her favorite activity--a ride on a cool, clear, sunny day. She picked her head up and looked around and I started to question it, and so I petted her and told her about how she came home with me in a van, much like this one, from Mandeville. We talked about how much she loved horsies and about evacuating for Katrina and stuff, and she gave me one last doggie smile, sniffed an old chicken nugget she found on the floor...and died. Right there. She did me one last, wonderful service by taking the decision to put her down away and telling me at the same time it was the right decision, solidifying her place as Best Doggie Ever.

    It was very hard, and it was very sudden, and I am one of those people for whom pets are children. They are all my furry babies, and we've always had dogs, but both Ranger and Daisy were just special-er. It's dramatic, but I really feel like all the light has gone out in my world, but I'm glad I had one good month and they did give me the wrong diagnosis; I would not have enjoyed these last few weeks as much if I were aware they were her last few weeks.

    So thank you my baby Ranger for bringing me so much joy these last twelve years. I don't believe in an afterlife and take no comfort in notions of the hereafter, but I am glad she's no longer in pain or suffering and if I am wrong, I hope she and Daisy are together, prancing around, the scourge of squirrels everywhere and eating Popeyes biscuits together. :dog: :dog:
    Buzz, my little pony, Kasey and 5 others like this.
  2. skipaway

    skipaway Well-Known Member

    Your Ranger had the best family ever. RIP. :(
  3. Christina

    Christina Well-Known Member

    I'm crying right now for you and Ranger and Daisy. That was a beautiful eulogy for a wonderful family member.
    Matryeshka and (deleted member) like this.
  4. rfisher

    rfisher Will you rise like a phoenix or be a burnt chicken

    May Ranger's spirit live forever in your memories. :dog:
    Matryeshka and (deleted member) like this.
  5. taf2002

    taf2002 zexy demon

    That was wonderful Matryeshka. Thanks for sharing. (((Matry))
    Matryeshka and (deleted member) like this.
  6. Katoomba

    Katoomba Member

    That was a beautiful tribute. I'm so sorry for your loss.
    Matryeshka and (deleted member) like this.
  7. suep1963

    suep1963 Well-Known Member

  8. Kasey

    Kasey Correcting President Trump's grammar on Twitter :)

    Damn you for making me cry!

    ((((Matry, Ranger and Daisy)))))

    It's so hard to lose our furbuds....I'm glad Ranger did you her last service, of taking the decision out of your hands. Happy running around in the land of eternal chicken nuggets, cutie pie!
  9. BelleBway

    BelleBway a monkey stole my title

    (((matry))) thanks for sharing that.
    Matryeshka and (deleted member) like this.
  10. Jimena

    Jimena Well-Known Member

    This was so beautiful. I'm really sorry she's not with you anymore. But I'm very sure she felt loved and cherished until the very end.
    Matryeshka and (deleted member) like this.
  11. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow Dancing

    Tears. Sniffle.

    (((Matry))) (((All of us who love our fur kids)))
  12. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

    One of the loveliest tributes I've ever read---you were all so lucky to have one another and I firmly believe you will meet Ranger and Daisy again one day.
    Matryeshka and (deleted member) like this.
  13. victorskid

    victorskid Skating supporter

    I agree with those who have said that you had the best family - human and canine. Daisy and Ranger were both very lucky dogs to have become a part of that family. Ranger showed that in a very special way, even at the very end.

    Each of our fur buds becomes a family member and they leave a hole when they pass but they also leave behind wonderful memories like those you have enumerated.

    I'm off to give my 14-year old feline companion a special cuddle in Ranger's memory.
    Matryeshka and (deleted member) like this.
  14. rjblue

    rjblue Having a great day!

    It sounds like Ranger had the best owner in the world. I'm sorry for your loss, and I'm glad for you that her passing was so peaceful.
    Matryeshka and (deleted member) like this.
  15. AragornElessar

    AragornElessar Well-Known Member

    What a lovely and beautiful tribute to what sounds like was one heck of a special four legged furry buddy. That Ranger took the choice of what to do out of your hands and left after hearing just how loved and special she is to all of you... Proof of just how special she was.

    I am so sorry this happened at all, but especially sorry it took place during the Thanksgiving weekend. Losing a Family Member's tough period, but for it to happen during Thanksgiving which is a time for Family and being together... :(

    ((((Matry and Family)))) I am so sorry and will be keeping all of you in my thoughts. :(
    Matryeshka and (deleted member) like this.
  16. sk8pics

    sk8pics Well-Known Member

    {{{Matry}}} What a beautiful tribute. What a lucky dog she was to have been welcomed into your home.
  17. kimkom

    kimkom Two Pot Screamer

    Oh, Matry that was so beautiful! :wuzrobbed

    RIP Ranger. :(
  18. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

    Sorry for your loss, Matry. It's never easy to lose a dear friend and member of the family.
  19. CynicElle

    CynicElle Well-Known Member

    Beautifully written, and I'm so sorry for your loss.
  20. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry for your loss, Matry. It sounds like Ranger was an amazing dog.
  21. Sarah

    Sarah Well-Known Member

    That was a beautiful tribute. I'm crying here. I'm so sorry for your loss.
  22. mkats

    mkats Well-Known Member


    I know how you feel - our beloved bunny passed away after almost ten years just a few months ago, shortly after I left for grad school. The way it worked out it was very sudden and I'll always regret that I never got to say goodbye to her. I didn't get to see her spot in the backyard until I got back for Thanksgiving a few days ago and whoever said that it's so hard around the holidays is right.

    I'm glad you had some wonderful times with her - she was lucky to have you.
  23. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

  24. centerstage01

    centerstage01 Well-Known Member

    That was a beautiful tribute to your friend and furbaby. I wish everyone could have the same kind of love for their animals.
  25. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

    i had trouble finishing reading your tribute. It brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing.
  26. Jem X

    Jem X Who'll stop the rain

    ((Matry)) RIP Ranger
  27. BittyBug

    BittyBug And the band played on

    I'm truly sorry for your loss, Matry. RIP Ranger, doggie non pareil and pup extraordinaire.
  28. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your kind words. It helps, but I just feel so sad and horribly heavy and empty at the same time. Meal time was hard--just a year and a half ago, I was getting down three bowls, and now we're down to one. There was no furry feet to greet me this morning or excited yips as I came down the stairs. I don't need to wake up at 7:00 to let them out, but I did anyway and it felt wrong to just roll over and go back to sleep without letting a dog out first (the family dog keeps hours like my dad--stays up late, sleeps late). It's also like relosing Daisy. They were a matched set, and Ranger took such good care of her when she had a seizure. Ranger was my link to her, and a promise to continue caring for her, and now they're both really gone. I feel cheated; so much of my time was spent taking care of Daisy, I feel like Ranger was neglected somehwat (though she was more neurotic and active; she was not a pet me, pet me, pet me all the time dog) while Daisy was alive, and Ranger was such a majestic, fabulous dog and I just feel cheated we both didn't get more time together, and I just wish I could go back and just do more--more car rides, more dog parks, more squeaky toys, even if Daisy couldn't go.

    Even though I know it's so wrong, I feel so resentful towards the family dog, Pepper. She's 18, she's lived a good long life and really only enjoys food and sleeping now. She's not very mobile, and the day is approaching where we'll have to make the decision to put her down not because she's sick but because she can no longer walk. Why couldn't it be that dog? Even a month ago, Ranger was so vivacious and full of life and chasing squirrels (or trying to) and bringing me toys and stealing bits of food. I can barely look at the family dog withoug being ANGRY. She also just sits there and sleeps except when there's food like the bottom hasn't fallen out of the world. I know it's irrational, but I can't seem to get past it.

    While I don't have the sense of overwhelming guilt or anger at a vet for Ranger's death like I did at Daisy's, I feel so much sadder and my grief is so much deeper. She was my protector--squirrels, postmen, lawn cutters, but also more serious--drunk frat boys used to try to come into my apartment when I lived in Tigerland, and Ranger would give the most vicious growl (Daisy too) and would throw herself at the door to keep them out (the lock didn't work really well and neither did the dead bolt). They kept me feeling a sense of safety and security when there was a serial killer loose in Baton Rouge and targeting female LSU students. We ecavuated hurricanes together, and they moved with me so many times. They were part of my life in so many ways.

    I can't watch skating because of those damn ASPCA commercials. I can't look at the computer desk because that was Ranger's favorite spot to take a long afternoon nap. Since they followed us everywhere, we had dog beds in every room of the house, and I can't stand seeing all those empty beds. The cat is going room-by-room looking for Raner and meowing horribly.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me rant/be sad here. Currently, the pet thread is just too much for me to go into. I've given myself a time limit--I am having her cremated and we can pick up her ashes next Thursday. We're going to spread the ashes next to the pear tree in the rye grass (Ranger and Daisy loved rye grass; they'd sit and sun themselves on a nice day) and bury her leash there on Saturday and after that I'm going to make a concerted effort to not grieve. Daisy's leash is buried under the pear next to it. We're going to turn both the doggies' collars into Christmas ornaments and put them on the tree this year.
  29. sk8pics

    sk8pics Well-Known Member

    It sounds like you have a good plan. Just give yourself the time to really grieve, whatever you need. The anger and grief will pass and then there will be only happy memories. Aw that your cat knows Ranger is gone and is mourning her. Give her an extra pat when you are able...
  30. rfisher

    rfisher Will you rise like a phoenix or be a burnt chicken

    Matry, let yourself grieve. An era of your life has ended. One thing I can promise you is there will come a day when another pup will call you theirs. The most difficult part of having an animal in your life is the reality that they are only there for a short time and it's painful when that time ends. And then one day a puppy makes you laugh again. I was certain I would not get another dog when my Akita died, but two Poodles are taking up most of my sofa as I type this. But, in the mean time, it's OK to be sad.
    Coco and (deleted member) like this.