Thursday, October 2, 2008

Always Gentle. Always Love.

As Wynn first learned how to treat a dog, she sometimes squeezed Ranger too enthusiastically or didn't look out for him the way she should.  He got stepped on a few times, and I would tell her that the rule was "Always gentle. Always love." Only touch him with gentleness. Always regard him with love.  He patiently tolerated her early, well-meaning shows of awkward affection, and the two of them grew to love one another completely.

Today Ranger had to leave us.  The veterinarians at our clinic and the University of Minnesota did everything they could to give us more time with our precious boy, but pancreatic cancer took him away from us much, much too early. Saying good-bye to our "first born" is devastating to Scott and I, but we take comfort in knowing that we did everything we could for him, that he didn't suffer, and that he always knew that he was truly loved. 

Wynn has been watching Scott and I as we cry at this loss, and she looks empathetic and concerned at how obviously sad we are.  We've explained to her that he's gone, that he was too sick for the doctors to make him better, and that he loved us all. Death is such an abstract thing for her to try to understand; she sees its effect on us but doesn't really know what it all means.

We are glad to have taken some pictures and video of the two of them together. As she gets older, we'll remind her of her first dog and tell her about the things they did together: how she'd hug him when she was mad at us, how he'd plop himself down on the floor next to Wynn and I as we read bedtime stories, etc.  

Anyone who ever visited our house knows about mild-mannered Ranger's one very peculiar habit. A true herding dog at heart, he hated to see the flock (that'd be us) split up. Whenever anyone would go down the stairs, leaving the pack, he'd bark like crazy and spin in circles at the top of the stairs. Scott and I eventually said that Ranger was just "barking you out", much as a polite host would "see you out".  Scott took this video on Monday morning, the last day Ranger still had his full, strong bark.  It's of Ranger and Wynn barking me out on my way to work.

We miss you already, Ranger.


Sarah said...

I am so sorry to hear that, Ann. He knows how much he was loved.

Erin Bennett said...

Oh you guys, I am so sorry. Those who aren't "pet people" don't always get it, but Ranger was definitely a member of your family. Bless you all.