January 19, 2017 was the worst day of our lives. Late morning we called the vet, who would make a house call at 7:00 PM. We sat on death row with you all day counting down the hours. You made many trips outside just to feel the grass, see the sky and smell your favorite scents. You said your good-byes to Debbie, your favorite mail carrier, who always left treats in the mailbox for you. We pulled out all your toys one by one, and tried to engage you in play. We know eating was difficult for you, but you still managed to eat some of your favorite Frosty Paws ice cream and apple slices. If I have a choice, my last meal will be ice cream also.
We hugged and kissed you as many times as you and time would allow. How can this be the last time we will feel your heart beating in rhythm with ours? How can we do what needs to be done? How can we not?
Wolfgang, we tried to be as courageous as you. For seven months you battled the oral melanoma that spread to your lungs, and for the last two days of your life made it painful for you to lie down. So painful that you were literally on your feet for eighteen hours each day, your legs shaking in protest. The radiation did not help. The chemotherapy did not help. We knew it was time to help end your suffering. You didn't deserve this horrible disease.
I prayed to God, St. Francis, St. Michael, St. Jude and other saints for a miraculous cure. Perhaps the miracle is that you will be someday welcoming us home once again. Jessica said you were in Heaven playing with your purple ball. So that's where you hid that ball! We've been searching for that little ball for almost ten years.
You brought so much laughter and love into our lives. we reminisce daily about your loyalty, protection, playfulness, intelligence, goodness and love.
The Washington Area Humane Society where we found each other, told us you were an 8 week old black Lab mix. The DNA test that we had done last year, told us you were a Boxer, Chow Chow, Boston Terrier, Shetland Sheepdog mix, with no Lab in sight. You told us you were a Wolfgang.
As Dr. Mary Ann met you for the first time close to 7 PM, you announced her arrival (ever vigilant), raised your hackles until you could determine if she was friend or foe, then wagged your tail in greeting and played with her on the living room floor.
We circled you with our love, and held you in our arms. As the sedative took effect, you were finally able to lie down and rest. And then you were at peace. It brings us some comfort knowing you died in the very same spot that your beloved Grandma Rose died 7 months earlier. She was definitely waiting for you with a treat on the other side of that Rainbow Bridge.
Ed suggested we keep your ashes until one of us is called home, and then bury them in the casket with one of us. I loved that idea, but then told him, "You know I want Wolfgang with me!" He smiled and I think he agreed.
Since you've been gone Wolfgang, on two different occasions, I thought I heard the tags on your collar jingling. I wasn't asleep or dreaming at the time. I thought it was my imagination, but Ed said maybe it wasn't. I'd like to think your spirit is still here with us, ever vigilant.
Thank you Wolfgang for loving us so unconditionally. We loved you just as much in return. You'll always be our good boy.
Sandra Warholic Seeley is the creator and author of Kanela's Korner and The Sandra Seeley Column. She is a lifelong educator whose teaching experience ranges from suburban Bethel Park, PA to Hawaii to urban Pittsburgh Public's Homewood, Hill District and Squirrel Hill communities. She has taught in every grade level from Kindergarten through Grade 5. She has a Master's Degree in Education from The University of Pittsburgh with a minor in English. Her passion has always been the teaching of Communications: Reading and Writer's Workshop. She is now a freelance writer. To contact the author, click the following link.