My wife Carrie (my girlfriend at the time) adopted Gretchen, an abused and neglected dog (pure Finnish Spitz), from Rover Rescue on March 15, 2002. Her estimated age was 4. Part of her right ear had been bitten off, probably from her days of living on the streets. Her owner, whoever he or she was, had Gretchen's vocal cords surgically removed.
Before we adopted Gretchen, the Rover Rescue founder Cathy Rubin, informed us that Gretchen had several homes the previous six months or so but was always returned because Gretchen was too timid; you'd approach her and she'd squat and pee and just tremble in the corner of the house.
Cathy Rubin seemed relieved when Carrie and I accepted the challenge. Gretchen did the same with me until about a month as I returned from work, the beautiful dog jumped, wagged her tail, and ran toward me. We were bonded now.
Gretchen was always a nervous, anxious dog who didn't play with toys or other dogs. Her favorite thing to do was lie on the bed with me while watching TV and during sleep time.
By the time she was 13 or so, she was having too many accidents and she could no longer sleep on the bed with us. I still pet her under my desk where she'd lounge on a plush dog bed, but I could tell she wasn't as happy.
Having twins in 2010 was another force that took away my attention from her but I always made sure to give her lots of love.
Her health went south a month ago. I could have had her hospitalized, but she would have been miserable without me, locked in a hospital cage and the end game appeared to be prolonging her life for another miserable few months, so yesterday when Gretchen was crying and too lethargic to move two vets came to my house and we made the toughest decision of our life.
I pet Gretchen during the first shot and she made her happy "talking" sound as she fell asleep. One of the vets asked me if I wanted to be present during the second shot, and I said no thanks.
Ten minutes later Gretchen was gone. She was about 16.
As I write this, my feet are under my computer desk where Gretchen spent most of her time. There is a huge emptiness and sadness in my heart.
My daughter Natalie loved Gretchen and loves animals and some time down the road we may get another dog but that won't be for a long time.
Gretchen, my family and I love and miss you more than words can say.