Anyone who has known me for a while, knows that I am in LOVE with my dog Baron.
He and I came together nearly 7 years ago on a lovely spring day, when a friend called and asked me to come up and see a litter of golden retriever puppies she had.
The mom had stopped nursing them and the family was going to Italy on vacation and had to find homes for all the puppies before they left. I already had two dogs and hesitated. She sent me photos and my friend Wayne said, "Do it, you'll never regret it."
So I went up to Bethany to check them out. They were all cute, but this one brut caught my eye. He followed me around and pulled on my shoelaces and he was fearless. His name was "Jackson." I thought about the other two dogs I had at home, then shrugged, and thought "always room for one more."
I picked up the little fuzzy puppy and put him on a blanket on the front passenger seat and he crawled over the console and put his head on my lap.
I fell in love with him right then and there.
When we got home Melissa, an Akita, and Remmy, a Pitlab, both looked at him like he would make a nice snack. My daughter said I could keep him if she could name him. I said, "Okay, go ahead."
She called him Baron von Saberwolfe, and that is who he became.
All the dogs soon settled in, often three on a couch while I worked.
The first time I brought him to the vet they asked for his birth date. I called my friend and when she said, "March 1," I knew that he and I were meant to be together. March 1 is my birthday too.
A couple of months later Melissa became ill. My daughter and Remmy stayed with her all night and she died of a heart attack (or something) in the morning.
And then there were two. Remmy wasn't socialized very well. He was afraid of people and would bark at everyone, so I couldn't take him with me when I went to Town Hall or anything, so Baron became my constant companion.
Remmy would stay home with my daughter, and Baron and I would take off in the car to make the rounds, delivering newspapers, visiting the fire marshal's office, going for walks. Everyone knew Baron.
Whenever we went to the Woodbridge Town Hall to see his buddy Lynne, he would get so excited, jump out of the car and run to the front doors then bound up the stairs and run into her office.
Jamie Vincent would always go into the closet and bring him a milk bone or two, or three during our visits and Sally at Town Hall kept a treat bag for him in her desk drawer.
Baron was awesome in so many ways, he potty trained himself on his first day home and never made a mess in the house in nearly 7 years. I could trust him to stay in the yard and walk without a leash.
The one thing Baron loved more than anything was playing with his large plastic play balls. Whenever he could get anyone to throw it for him, he was in his glory.
On Tuesday, I played with him a lot, tossing the ball, and watching him splash through the mud and ornamental grass trying to find it. ... but he always found it.
I gave him some dinner, let him out, tossed him a snack and went to Amity High for a meeting around 6:30 p.m.
When I got home at 9:45 p.m. I unlocked the door and was surprised that he wasn't barking or jumping up to see me.
I called his name, but he didn't come. I thought, did I leave him outside? No, I know I didn't.
I looked everywhere for him bathroom, bedrooms, livingroom on the couch, in the tub and I finally found him hiding under a desk in the dining room.
He was panting, and his stomach was as hard as a rock and distended. He looked pregnant. I called the emergency vet hospital and described his condition.
They told me that it sounded like bloat and it could kill him, bring him in immediately.
My best friend who usually ran out the door and jumped into the car could hardly walk. I couldn't pick him up by myself, the only way would have been to grab him around the stomach and that would have hurt him.
I called my brother, who just got off a 12 hour shift and said, Please come here NOW. The wait wasn't that long, but it seemed forever as Baron collapsed and lay down on the wet leaves.
Ron and I rolled him onto a blanket and lifted him into the car placing him on the back seat and I drove as fast as I could up to New Haven. Baron has always been stoic. If he's hurt, he doesn't complaint, but he let out a couple of yelps on the ride in. I knew my baby was in pain.
They brought a gurney out to get him inside the building, and he looked at me with those big brown eyes as if to say, "What's happening?"
I stayed with him as long as I could, but they asked me to stay in the waiting room while they worked on him.
The vet came upstairs a few times to update me. First to ask if I wanted them to do CPR because he looked like he was failing.
Then she said they had relieved some of the pressure and he was looking much better.
Then she had me come into an office where she put me on the phone with Kim McClure Brinton, a Bethany vet and trusted friend, who was on surgical call.
Kim talked me through what happened, and told me that his heart was irregular at that point the other vet said that blood was coming from the catheter tube they had in him.
Kim and I both cried over the phone and I said, "I have to let him go."
The vet brought me to him and the two techs left the room so we could be alone. He was under anesthesia, but I held his paw and told him what a good dog he was. I stroked behind his ears and kissed his head.
Then, when it was time the vet came in and gave him the needle. I held his paw, told him I loved him and stroked his head until he took his last breath.
After that I spent forever hugging him and saying goodbye.
My house is so empty now. His bed... the couch ... the back yard and all those plastic play balls that he loved so much. Nothing will ever be the same without him.