View Full Version : The best friend I've ever had

Jack Heinlen
11-27-2004, 03:08 PM
I've been missing Sheba the last few days. The first snow always makes me think of her, because she loved the snow so. I know, I know, I'm supposed to have a new dog by now. The lack is not for a want of looking.

Sheba was uncomplicated. She loved, fully and without discrimination, everyone. I'm not sure how she made me feel special in the midst of it, but she did.

The love between a man in his late youth, middle age, and a dog is unique. I've seen it, lived it. There will never be anything quite like it in my life again. I still call for her some mornings.

11-27-2004, 03:13 PM
For goodness sake Jack! Get a dog and put us out of your misery! ;) :D

11-27-2004, 03:19 PM
Jack...I thought you got a dog.
No one can replace a previous dog...I sit there and think of the times my golden spent with me...Snow, ice..20 below...a dip in the lake...retrieving balls way beyond the point I wanted to throw them.
Memories are great...hold on to them but get another dog.!

Art Read
11-27-2004, 03:21 PM
Cherish her memory, and appreciate the fact that you were able to allow her to go gently, in your presence. We've been missing one of our cats, (we raised a pair of siblings since weening) for over a week now. It's hell not knowing whether he's just gone "walkabout", been picked up by a stranger, killed somehow, or worst, just lying under a bush somewhere, suffering.

11-27-2004, 03:24 PM
Two points. I would hate not knowing...My old dog had a stroke at 14...not bad for a retriever but I was there.

11-27-2004, 03:33 PM
Art; If kitty wasn't fixed, he/she may have gone walkabout. It's a bit early for it (usually happens about mid-end January/early February), but it's getting to be the season of kitty love. I had a very genteel (never sprayed indoors or got into major fights) siamese tom who came to the end of his unfixed days for having gone caturwalling about during a -20F coldsnap one winter in Colorado. Worried me half to death and, once retrieved, was taken to the vet forthwith. :D

11-27-2004, 03:37 PM
I fixed my dog because he kept on going to Agway for a handout..Saw a picture of him once with Agway's store cat and the neighborhood chicken...all looking for a handout..In some ways, it stoppped his straying except for the Agway trips..Food, I guess was better then sex.

[ 11-27-2004, 03:37 PM: Message edited by: uncas ]

Art Read
11-27-2004, 03:48 PM
Fixed, but not declawed. About seven or eight years old. Jamison has ALWAYS been "independant". Can't stand to stay indoors too long. In a way, of our three pets, (him, his sister, Bailey, and the dawg) he's the one who was "mine". Bailey's a "homebody", the mutt likes me fine, but is obviously "imprinted" with SWMBO. But Jamison and I seemed to have an "understanding". In fact, I envied him his freedom... Not a "lap cat", but when he felt like it, he would come join me in the moaning chair while contemplating the current state of the "MELINDA" project... Trusted me to open the door and let him go when he was fed and ready. Sometimes we wouldn't see him for a few days, but this "feels" different...

11-27-2004, 04:00 PM
I am now looking at 9 cats out my window which are heading my way...or the way to my trash cans...All act wild but I have seen that some wear collars...I guess I will have to head out and shoo them away...They are driving me nuts tipping over cans and throwing stuff everywhere. and I have no idea where they come from.
Sounds like a previous thread...I know...sorry

11-27-2004, 05:41 PM
You're not going to do anything but sit there and wallow in your own misery and try to gain the attention of those of us on the forum. You have posted one dog picture after another and have not gone to get a single one. What else are we supposed to believe? If you want another dog, you are not going to find it browsing the internet from the comfort of your armchair. Sheba was special and you never will have another like her. Get over it and go to the pound or where ever and pick yourself out a new pup.

Jack Heinlen
11-27-2004, 05:57 PM
Thanks for your sympathy Mike. I've applied to adopt two different dogs in the last two months, one which I drove three hours to visit. Both were adopted to others.

I don't intend to be maudlin about it. This is the six month anniversary of putting Sheba down, and I've just been missing her terribly the last few days.

11-27-2004, 06:00 PM
Jack...no need to apologize....just keep trying and get another dog.
From what I hear...there are thousands out there...just waiting...If at first one does not succeed, try try again.
Been there...I have not gotten another pet because I don't think it is fair...on the road a lot.

[ 11-27-2004, 06:01 PM: Message edited by: uncas ]

11-27-2004, 06:27 PM
I'm sorry Jack. I wasn't very sympathetic. I just think it's time you did something.

Jack Heinlen
11-27-2004, 06:31 PM
Thanks Uncas. I need to guard against a somewhat maudlin nature, and writing about her, hearing people's stories, helps.

Art, I hope your kitty finds you again. I had a longtime kitty friend go missing, and it was hard not ever knowing. I'd hear reports every once in a while, and go look. One time, driving, a cat that looked just like Shadow ran across the road. This was at least a mile from the nearest house, mine, and knowing that cats do odd things I got out and spent fifteen minutes in the woods, calling. No Shadow.

Sheba's and my relationship was very special. Aside from the occasional plane trip I took, we were inseparable. I worked as a counselor the first six years of her life, and she was by my side, a fine therapy dog because she had unlimited love and joy to share with anyone, no matter how wounded. The clients loved her.

Having always been unconventional as to family, no children, a girlfriend two hours away, Sheba was my family. I guess it being six months ago I said goodbye, that it isn't so bad to cry a little, and miss her.

11-27-2004, 06:57 PM
Jack, you have my sympathy for what you are feeling. I have had one dog in my life whom I loved a lot, sometimes it seemed like he was my only friend, so I have some empathy too.

Get something happening in your life, get that boat, another dog; or take a trip to sunnier climes (its amazing how that can remove the blues), move on, or wallow for the rest of your days, it's up to you which its gonna be.

Good Luck

[ 11-27-2004, 07:01 PM: Message edited by: Stiletto ]

Jack Heinlen
11-27-2004, 07:20 PM

Just because that's your experience at the pound doesn't make it universal. I've actually given up looking for the moment, but quality dogs, dogs you have the right sense about, are not all that common around here. I would expect it to be different in the Hudson Valley, close to NY.

And I'm choosy. I almost feel guilty about it, because there are many dogs that are going to die next week in the pounds of Maine, unwanted. But there you have it. I'd like to give all of them a home, but can't.

The two I'd applied to adopt were basically gone before I got there. Other's had seen the same qualities I had, and gotten there before me.

I've set it on a back burner for now. Sheba showed up, a scrawny little half-grown mutt, one snowy morning two days before Christmas. Kismet, a wildly appropriate Christmas gift from the universe.

I still look, and will visit the local pounds on occasion, but kismet. Que sera, sera.

None of which lessens my mourning of Sheba dead, dammit. :(


Joe (SoCal)
11-27-2004, 08:14 PM
Jack I deleted my post out of dog reverence.
That said just get a dam dog allready, folla ;)

Jack Heinlen
11-28-2004, 08:37 AM


"I was looking through some photographs
I found inside my drawer.

I was taken by a photograph of you.

There were one or two I know you
would have liked a little more.

But they didn't show your spirit quite as true."

Jackson Brown

11-28-2004, 09:06 AM
Hi Jack,
Could it be the real reason you haven't replaced Sheiba is because that would be disloyal to Shebias memory?
When people lose a spouse they loved they often can never bring themselves to have another relationship for the same reason.
Maybe you need to allow yourself to grieve. It seems like you are not emotionally ready to think about another dog. Ironically, you may be adding to your pain by looking for a replacement. As your dissapointment grows your pain increases and that may be what you need to do. I have seen people lose a loved one. Because they have a hard time really truly opening up and allowing themselves to grieve they do things to add misery to their lives. Finally when they hit rock bottom emotionally they are able to experience their pain and loneliness. Sometimes they stay that way. Most often they start to be able to go on.
A few years ago my younger sister died a very painful death from cancer. I held her hand as she passed away. The following year I held my mothers hand as she passed away. The following year I buried my only son. He was the victim of a careless driver. Christopher was a wonderful young man. He was finishing a degree in accounting. He was getting married. The following year my good friend and brother-in-law drowned.
I told my niece "I don't mind a funeral but I don't like sitting in the front row".
Allow yourself to greive. Forget about getting a new dog for a while.

11-28-2004, 09:44 AM
time to get a sun lamp,,winter is coming on,,

Joe (SoCal)
11-28-2004, 09:48 AM
Careful remember what happen to Rex :D :D :D

11-28-2004, 09:52 AM
I'm walking up to the coffee shop with Igby (black lab named by my daughter),,,

[ 11-28-2004, 09:52 AM: Message edited by: LeeG ]

Russell Sova
11-28-2004, 09:53 AM
I had a dog that was 1/8 wolf. The pappa was 1/4 so I know it to be true. Lived outside, never did anything I told him not to twice, loved people, played with squirrels, played with a beaver by going to his stick house to wake him up then swam with him!, ate mice instead of dog food, never lost a fight. There will never be another Rowdy. Maybe the memories are the best thing.

Chris Coose
11-28-2004, 10:05 AM
Throw some meat out into the back yard.
Something fuzzy's bound to show up.
Put on some bright orange before you go to collar it though.


I do hope you find another companion.
What's that song about it's better picking the ugly one? Not coming to me at all. I must be getting old.

11-28-2004, 12:57 PM
Pets...I know this doesn't fit in exactly but...what the heck.
In Cooperstown, there are two very wealthy families...Singer Sewing Machine folks and Busch for you domestic beer lovers.
Anyway, there was a formal ball being held at the ritzy hotel/Rest one night and one of the wealthier girls bought an extremely expensive gown for the occasion. After the party ended, she got a ride home from one of the two taxi services in the area at that time...Driving up the road to her drive...she sees a skunk crossing the road...Knowing that her neighbor's descented skunk had gone missing...she yelled at Glen..( taxicab owner/driver) to stop as Charlie had just gone across the road. He stopped, she got out and started chasing the skunk through the underbrush...
Found the skunk but...it wasn't Charlie

Jack Heinlen
11-28-2004, 01:24 PM
Look at that photo, no, I mean really look. Look at her feet. She is totally relaxed in Ron's arms, but her tongue is hanging out saying more, more.

She loved physical adoration more than any creature I've ever met. It was her. Since none of you, other than Margo, ever met her, you can't know. How could you?

Dogs are interesting, fascinating, strange. Sheba was special. She was raised abused, I surmise, yet never held anything but love in her heart. Ever.

11-28-2004, 01:37 PM
I'm with Meerkat. My mutt would say hello if he could wake up long enough to do so. Right now we're in a nightly tussle over whose bed the big one really is. I disagree, Uncas. I grieved for Rosie, and turned down several offers after her death, but she had a good life with me and is gone now. I love this one just as much. When he goes I'll grieve too, but I won't hesitate to replace him. Come down here, Jack. It breaks my heart to see some of the fine dogs languishing in the shelters around here. Labs are always the first to go, they're a little fussier about who they place them with, but there are plenty of others that they'd be glad to place, even with you!

11-28-2004, 01:48 PM
Victor...went through my threads...what did I say that you disagree with?
All I have basically said was that Jack should find another dog...and does not need to apologize for grieving a bit. But...find another dog.
Is that off track?
Just curious!

11-28-2004, 02:13 PM
That a previous dog cannot be replaced.

Joe (SoCal)
11-28-2004, 02:14 PM
Jack my handy woman is a big time animal lover and donates her time to a local no kill shelter. She just stopped by and we were talking about YOU ;) She said she has your dog a 9 month old yellow lab mix puppy waiting for you. I will meet you half way email me for her phone number.

There done deal.

11-28-2004, 02:17 PM
OKAY....I see your point.
Did have 2 dogs in 25 years...both complete opposites....one golden bought in England...easy going...smart.a typical golden.
Received a second dog from my students when I lost the above...A stray....Black...headstrong, hated water...Both were different and I loved both for what they were...they did not replace each other..hence my comment.
Thanks for clarifying.

Jack Heinlen
11-28-2004, 06:14 PM
Awe Joe, that's a sweet offer. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to reply.

I write as a process, not a solution. Remembering at the half-year anniversary of putting her down, trying to put words around memory, is a help.

Looking at that photo with her in Ron's arms, in a happy-feet Snoopy on valium pose, makes me smile about her. She was quite a dog; very, VERY busy her entire life. A fart in a whirlwind Rebecca called her; a force of nature. Sweetpea! She became sooo good after about three. A dear companion. smile.gif Margo can attest. What a dog!

I've just gotten my head around being dogless for awhile. Kismet. I think when the time is right, the right dog will show. Jwaldin and Stilleto may well be correct, that doggies haven't worked out for a reason, and that I'm not done mourning.

Maybe I'll call your handywoman and talk. To take a dog I haven't met isn't right, somehow, but I will think on it.

11-28-2004, 07:23 PM
I was offered a large male Lab soon after Rosie died. My cousin had been asked to take care of him by a college friend who had no business getting a big dog like that and keeping him in a little urban apartment. He was really depressed, pacing, not looking anyone in the eyes, real hangdog. I turned him down. There was something in his manner that turned me off. Perhaps I should have given him a better chance. All he really needed was to be treated like a large male Labrador, which he had never had the opportunity to be.

When I was first offered my present dog he'd been heavily abused but he wasn't depressed, he was angry, and for some reason that appealed to me. It indicated a certain amount of spirit which the other dog seemed to lack. Once he realized he wouldn't get the sh!t kicked out of him for misbehaving, he came around in no time, so I guess my sense of his nature was right. Still, I wonder about that other one. He would never have been as lively as this one, but he could have turned out OK.

Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
11-28-2004, 07:56 PM
Jack......The best pets I've had seem to choose me.....not me them. "Fat Bob" is the perfect example. I'd pray for a good pet,sit back and see what God sends you. ;)

11-28-2004, 11:49 PM
"...To take a dog I haven't met isn't right..."

Yes it is.
There are dogs out there who need YOU. It's a two way street.
Besides, Jack, what's the worst that could happen...? You end up with a fifteen year committment to a dog you learn to love. Heck, I've heard of marrages that weren't based on that much.

I once met Margaret Mead's daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson Kassarjian, who commented that we enter into a pact with our pets--we provide lifetime care, and they return to us all of the love, and loyalty, and fellowship that makes the contract an even exchange.

I still sometimes slip and address the current dog by one of the past dog's names. Then Current Dog and I sit down and I tell him about Past Dogs, and Current Dog wags his tail and I dry my eyes and everything is okay again for a while.

11-29-2004, 02:32 PM
My hound dog, Gus, passed away the week before Christmas last year. Made me want to not dive into those waters again. I've got two other dogs, but he was my special friend. Living with four women, I made sure that I had another guy around, and Gus was it. I never felt an emotional attatchment to an animal like that before.

I miss him, but I have to much living to do to do much mourning. I'll see him again someday, I'm sure of it. In the meantime he's getting some rest. That's about what he was best at.

Jack, there are millions of dogs around who just need to be loved. You seem to have that in you. Do yourself and some good dog a huge favor.

Mickey Lake