Friday, March 23, 2007

Sigmund Lester 1993-2007

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.
You are his life, his love, his leader.
He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.
You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.



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A Tribute to a Very Loved Member of the Family

Today, we decided to finally put our 14 year old dog Sigmund to sleep. His quality of life had significantly diminished, having severe arthritis, bone cancer, and he was completely blind. He had decided he no longer wanted to eat, causing him to lose about 30 pounds. Mom got him up for a walk this morning and he could hardly move. It was time.

Mom called me on my way into work to let me know that she was going to do it, and to see if I could come along. I immediately called into work, and met her at the house. Together, we got him loaded up in the car, and we headed for the vet’s office. It was really touching. The vet had seen him often over the last few years, so as she administered the euthanasia, she was crying right along with us. He went very quickly and easily. The whole thing probably took less than a minute. I had his head in my lap, and mom was right at his side, and we just loved on him as he went. After it was over, he looked so peaceful. Like he was asleep on the basement floor of the house, like how he spent most afternoons.

We were so blessed to have had 14 years with him, which is highly unusual for a dog of his size. He was off the vet’s age charts. If he were human, he would be well over 100 years old. We knew that this would come sooner or later. It was difficult finding just the right time to say goodbye. Chris’s Aunt, Wendy Crosby, told me last summer when Rosie was sick that they let you know when the time is right. I think he let us know. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we move forward. There is a giant hole in my parent’s house that he used to fill. He was such a wonderful dog, and we will never forget him!

So, who was he?

This is hard. He was so old, that the last few years of his life, he was so tired and weary, he really didn’t do much. He would always wag his tail when you would walk in the room. He was a very social guy!

We named him Sigmund after Sigmund Freud. We had just made a difficult move to Charlotte, North Carolina, and he was a part of the deal of us moving there. So we got Sigmund. He was the family counselor, and he filled his role well. He could always tell if one of us was upset and was the first one on the spot to try to make you feel better. He was always up for a long walk if you needed to talk something out with another family member, or just have room to think. He would snuggle on you, play with you, or just be there in general.

He loved to play with tennis balls, and would play fetch with them for hours on end. It was kind of funny…being a boy dog, by nature, he was always into “marking his territory” rather than just peeing all at once. But, when tennis balls were being thrown for him, it was all business, so he would always make sure to completely empty his bladder before we got going!

He loved to play with his “babies” (stuffed animals). They were so comforting to him, you could almost never find him without one. I remember when I was in college, and would come home, I always tried to remember a few weeks beforehand to buy a baby, and keep it around me to get my smell on it. Once I gave it to him, it was his favorite from that moment on.

He was an obedience school drop out! Siggs was such a social guy, that when we tried to take him to obedience training, he was much more interested in playing with the other dogs than paying attention to learning a few tricks. He went through several rounds of classes before he finally graduated!

He loved to be loved, and was very insistent on when it was “his turn” for a little attention! If he was bored, and wanted his people to stop what they were doing to pay attention to him, he would become very unrelenting. He would nudge you repeatedly, whine, groan, and finally bark at you to get you to focus on what was most important…HIM!

Everyone loved him. All of our family, our friends, the kids in the neighborhood…everybody. I remember one day when I was home from college, I was taking Sigmund for a walk. This huge hoard of kids came running up to us, and immediately flug themselves upon Sigmund. He LOVED it!

He was just a creampuff. He would never hurt a fly. He had a big booming bark, and he loved to go and outside and bark just for the heck of it. But it was all show. My niece and nephew could crawl all over him as babies, and he didn’t care. He loved the attention. A smaller dog could come up to him and kick his butt. He was just a big sweetie. He had the kindest most sweetest heart around. He was a very important part of our family, and we will always have fond memories of him in our lives.