Thursday, January 5, 2017

Goodbye Snap dog

Our faithful Snap dog died Wednesday, December 21, 2016. This is one of the very first photos of three year old Noah playing with him in Gburg. 

It was a rather sudden departure. Only a week before he died, on Wednesday December 14, I had decided Snap's Christmas present would be to be professionally groomed. This was actually a gift for me, to get a break since I did it every couple months. He looked great when he came back. He looked so thin and fit and I thought his diet had finally worked. But the more I thought about it through, the more concerned I became. How did he get so thin in only the two months since I'd last groomed him? I decided to make him an appointment with the vet. 

Before Terry took him to the vet, he weighed him on our Wii scale and discovered he was down three pounds! For a medium sized dog, that seemed like an awful lot. I called Snap up the stairs to leave the house and he stumbled as he attempted it. Our house has three half flights of steps and never once  had he had trouble getting up them. Definitely not normal for a relatively young eight year old dog. Terry forgot to mention the stumbling and thought the weight loss took place over three years instead of two months. Therefore, the vet was satisfied with how Snap looked and behaved, said he had good muscle tone, and was at an ideal weight. He seemed in good health and said to contact him again only if he went off his food or lost more weight. Here he is at the vet after eating a treat.

However, Snap started shivering incessantly that day. Initially I just thought he was cold since it was frigid, our house is a bit drafty, and he had just had all his hair buzzed off. But as the weekend went on he was spending all of his time laying down and eating less and less food. We were only able to get him to eat or drink if we put it right next to him. By Monday, he was doing poorly. Our friends Paul and Jana had gifted us a day and night away from our kids for Christmas and Jana was alarmed at Snap's behavior, especially after he vomited some dark substance, which we were worried was blood. We made Snap a vet appointment and cut our date short. We decided to treat what the vet thought was pancreatitis with antibiotics, anti-nausea pills, and pain pills. We took Snap home and continued on with our date. Tuesday he was doing worse, not eating hardly anything. However, on Wednesday, he was even worse. That morning he was jumping at every sound in the house so we put him in the laundry room where it was more quiet. When Terry left the house around lunch time and checked on Snap before he left, he said he didn't think Snap was going to recover. I checked on him and he looked like he had the fear of death in his eyes and his breathing was labored. I snuggled him and then brought him into Noah where we had a talk about Snap being very sick and maybe dying. Noah took it very hard. He bawled. All the kids came in and we talked about what was going on. In just those few minutes Snap grew even worse.

When Terry returned and we gave Snap a pain pill he had a seizure. It was terrifying! We were expecting Nathan and Ana that evening but by the time they got there, Snap was practically at death's door. Right before I went to bed Snap seized three times in one hour, wasn't moving or even looking around, and had terribly ragged, quick breathing. Terry stayed up with him and by 11:30pm, he was gone. The next morning we drove out to the ranch to bury him. It was his favorite place.

Shari brought her girls out too. 

We trekked out the field north of the roller coaster and said good bye. 

Terry wrote out and read his thoughts:

Snapdog. Circa 2008 - Dec. 21st, 2016. We first met Snap as a puppy back in 2008. He was more calm and quiet then the other puppies and Eva was most drawn to him. We discovered his name during our first few days with him when Terry was holding Evie in one arm and petting Snap with the other on a porch swing. Snap decided to jump off. One of his hind legs became caught in a slat and a definite snapping noise was heard. We were relieved it was only a sprain. He was a typical naughty puppy, chewing on shoes and peeing in the house, but he figured it out.
Snap loved to wander and discover new smells. I especially remember him running away from the youth building in Gothenburg. Noah and I drove all over town to find him. Noah prayed that he would go back to the youth building. I told Noah we should pray that we would just find him but Noah kept specifically praying heʼd go back to the building. After a long, futile search I decided to take one last look at the youth building and sure enough, there was Snap at the front door. That was just one of Snapʼs wanderings. Weʼve had neighbors call, walk him home, or just put him on the lead outside of our house. We could never seal up the back yard well enough to contain his curiosity.
We miss Snap. We will miss coming down (or up) the stairs each morning to find him relaxing on a couch or chair. We will miss him begging for any size crumb of food to fall from the kitchen table or counter and our constant tripping over him as he positioned himself for any and all scraps. We will miss his ardent desire to be in the front yard to bark at every dog that walked by. Weʼll miss his enthusiasm to go on a walk when he would see Eva put her running gear on. Weʼll miss him laying on the back of the couch. Weʼll miss him dragging himself up M Hill when heʼs exhausted on a hike. Iʼll miss making a path for him in the snow in the backyard for his bathroom trips. Iʼm sure the kids will miss picking up his poop. Weʼll probably even miss his bad breath, dirty teeth and silent (but deadly) farts.
Snap got sick very suddenly around Friday, December 16th. The Dr. suggested it was pancreatitis and we started giving him medication, but his condition only seemed to get worse. We gave him lots of love and kind words in preparation for his departure and I think he knew he was loved to the end. He died at 11:30 pm December 21st, 2016.
We hope to see him again. We hope dogs do go to heaven because we love him. We donʼt know why he had to die at such a young age, but we trust God has a plan beyond our understanding. He was a wonderful, tolerant, quiet, kind-eyed, gentle, loyal, snuggle-starved Schnauzer. He leaves a void that can never be filled. Goodbye Snap. We love you.

I could have added what a great vermin hunting dog Snap was, like the time he grabbed the enormous pack rat for us. He was so patient with the kids who were always grabbing his tail, just being loud, chasing him, or tying things onto him. Noah even took a bath with him once! Every time I drop something while cooking I have to stop myself from calling Snap over to lick it up. Every time I leave the house I feel the need to check the garbage (which he loved to get into) and say good bye. There's no Snap dog waiting for us when we get home, no one to bark at the passing walkers and dogs, no one to beg to go for a walk. I used to say that the day after Snap died I'd go get a cat whether Terry liked it or not. But no. I don't have it in me. It was actually a blessing to have Nathan, Ana, Theo, Elin, and their dog Thorin staying with us for a week because it distracted us from the loss. 

Everyone gathered around for one last look.

And one last pet. 

We covered him up and then scrounged around for rocks to mark the spot.

Sad family :( 

Walking away. 

The kids played around in the snow for a while afterward. It was a bit heartbreaking when Jerry started gathering up the rope that we used to lease Snap with. 

The kids playing on the drift. 

This is a smaller version of the same drift where Snap once romped in 2008

Cold, sad winter sky.

Noah was very angry. He had a hard time with it that day but is doing much better now. Initially he didn't want anyone to talk about Snap because it hurt too much but now we can. 

No more yellow snow to worry about. Good bye Snap dog. You were such a good dog. We miss you.

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