Monday, August 15, 2016

Farewell, Thurman

Snow day for Thurman
On Saturday, August 13 we said farewell to our beloved family member, Thurman, our beautiful Golden Retriever.  He was almost 11 years old.  It was unexpected and we are heartbroken.  If you read this and you are a person who believes in prayer, please pray for our family's hearts.  A dog is an important member of a family, ours was no exception.  I wanted to write a short remembrance to Thurman. Writing is so therapeutic to me...I am hoping this helps me.

When Elliot was a young toddler he was a handful.  It's just this summer that he's become a pretty good sleeper.  Close to 13 years is a long time to wait for a kid to sleep well.  Elliot was rambunctious.  He stopped napping before he was 4 years old.  Most days Elliot was awake at 5 am...for the day.  When the head of this then stay-at-home-mom hit the pillow I was out like a light.  Elliot on the other hand would come into our room many times during the night to report to John and me.  He would tell us things like, "I'm hot. I'm thirsty. I had a bad dream."  He also would report less important details like, "Mommy, my sock came off," or even "I hear a whisper sound coming from my closet."  I recall many predawn mornings slugging down coffee.  In those foggy moments I vowed not have another child.  I did however have the opinion that Elliot needed a companion.  Perhaps the sleep deprivation led us to think getting a dog was a good idea.  

I had dreamed of having a Golden Retriever since I was a kid.  In my opinion, there isn't a breed that combines good looks and disposition into a dog better than Goldens.  We found a small breeder in Stafford.  Jan, the owner of Stormy Point Goldens, was kind and knew Goldens well.  We were able to meet the dog mom, Dixie, while she was expecting.  She was sweet and loving.  We visited the puppies when they were just a couple weeks old.  Jan allowed us to have "pick of the litter."  We took Elliot with us to choose our dog.  I'm not sure who had more fun, Elliot chasing the 10 puppies or the puppies chasing him.  Our puppy was playful and fuzzy.  We decided to call him Thurman.  The Thurman Cafe is a famous hole-in-the-wall burger joint in Columbus, Ohio.  Naming our dog after a cheeseburger was both cool and unconventional. We kissed Thurman goodbye and fastened on his little collar.  He licked us and nibbled us with his tiny puppy teeth.  We were in love.    
Thurman at 6 weeks old
Elliot at the breeder

The weeks of waiting went by quickly and soon we brought Thurman home.  He and Elliot were inseparable.  I however did not anticipate the energy level of a puppy added onto the energy level of a kid that was just shy of 2 years old.  Whew!  John and I quickly decided it would've been "easier" to have a baby than a puppy/toddler mix (enter Sydney--but that's writing for another day).  

After a short run
With persistent training and love, and age, Thurman grew into an amazing pet.  He became Elliot's roommate which lessened the amount Elliot reported to our room at night.  Thurman was patient, always full of energy, and the best listener I have ever known. The kids have used him as a headrest while watching movies, a brave knight, a secret keeper, a leftover eater, a shoulder to cry on, a protector of whisper sounds coming from the closet, a snowball catcher, and the best friend they could ever have had.  He was my running partner when I first started running.  When I thought I couldn't run a mile without walking, Thurman believed in me.  No one will believe in you like a dog.  

A birthday treat to celebrate double digits last year

Thurman was a good looking dude.  People would stop us on walks often to comment on how handsome he was.  Kids would rush from their yards to ask to pet him on our nightly walks in the neighborhood.  He loved kids.  He answered to many names other than Thurman.  Most widely used was his nickname, Dug.  We called him this because he so much reminded us of the dog, Dug, from the Disney movie "Up."  Thurman was just like Dug in that he immediately loved everyone.  We always joked that he would make a terrible guard dog.  Thurman loved, loved cats.  Lucky for him the cats we've had over the years loved him back. 

It wasn't unusual for the cats to lick and groom Thurman's head while he happily wagged his tail.  They all shared a water dish and he would even let the cats drink first.  

Thurman hated rainy days, never wanted a bath, and was nervously afraid of thunder storms.  We often wrapped him in a blanket and hugged him while he panted until the storm had passed.  His favorite phrase was "road trip."  Just the sight of a suitcase had him prancing around the car.  He LOVED traveling to Ohio. Taking walks on the sidewalks of Grandview was like hitting a slot machine jackpot to Thurman.  It's miles of new smells, trees, and fire hydrants.  

I think Thurman is resting his paws on Grandma Mary's lap (something he loved doing when John's mom was still living).  I think he will have days and days of snow days, his favorite kind of day.  I think he will have many cat friends and bowls of popcorn instead of just a few random pieces Sydney and I would share with him.  I picture him napping under a shady tree just like he did on our deck.  

Paws on Grandma Mary
This is going to hurt for a long time.  I would do it all again though.  Seeing my kids weeping over the loss of their pet is heartbreaking, but the memories we have with Thurman are some of my favorite memories I'll ever have.  

I read yesterday that dog spelled backwards is God.  I like that a little. It makes me think perhaps some of the best attributes of my higher power were what I saw in Thurman.  It is my hope and prayer that I can become as generous and loving as Thurman. 

To those of you who knew Thurman, know that he loved you.  Thank you for reading.  

A roadtrip

Homework helper
Guarding Cora the cat with love
Long walks at sunset

More snow days

Sharing secrets and game plans