Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened - Anatone Frances|
The things I remember of the most powerful loving dog I have ever met, Major.
I met Major when he was 7 years old. He weighed in at 100 pounds. He was absolutely gorgeous. He wore his head up high, had a strong body with beautiful large brown eyes. The most wonderful thing about Major was that he never had his ears clipped and that made him look even more beautiful. He was considered a Red Doberman, but looked more like chocolate with very distinctive rust coloured features that stood out. He had a beautiful snout and a beautiful smile. I know it sounds like I am talking about a human, actually, there was a lot of human about him. I was a little intimidated by him because he was a big dog with a big bark and I was new in his territory and he made sure to let me know that I knew that. After knowing Major, how could I have ever been afraid of the most affectionate playful and gentle boy he really was. This came shortly after I moved in.
He howled to his own song: Majee (pronounced -- May Jee) Bodajee -- Bo Day Jee
Majee Bodajee, Fofajee, Rolagee
He loved to dance and his favourite past time was to snuggle on the couch. You could talk to Major and have a conversation and he would look at you shifting his face from side to side as you spoke, like he was understanding everything that you were saying.
One of his favourite people was Grampa Joe. When you mentioned Grampa Joe's name, he would jump up and grab shoes to tell us that we should be now going to visit Grampa. He also loved to visit Baba (my mother). He did this regularly. He also got excited when we were having visitors. One especially, was a client of mine, Susan D, who he jumped for when he knew she was coming over for a treatment. She loved him. He loved her. He loved his veterinarian, Dr. John. I have never seen a dog so anxious to see his vet. When he got there, he was so happy. We were blessed to have had such a great veterinarian who did a fantastic job looking after Major. He trusted Dr. John and never gave him a hard time no matter what his visit was for. In general, once Major met you, he loved and trusted you. It didn't matter who you were or where you came from, he just loved people who loved him back.
Major was one of the most hyper dogs I have ever met. He never sat still and was a little terror when he was a puppy, as Jim would put it, and did as much as he could to get the attention he was looking for. It worked. Doberman's seek attention and they will go to any extent to get it. His demand for it made us love him more.
He loved life. He loved his family. He was a very proud dog who protected his family and friends to no end. He made sure that you knew that he loved you and never stopped showing it. His favourite time of play was in the summer and loved to run chasing the Kong. He also spent countless hours in my mom's swimming pool and could never get enough. He loved to go for his daily walks around the block or to the park and walked like he owned the world. We were so proud to have him as our pet.
After moving in with Jim, I adopted Major. I owned a cat, but Major was not very fond of him. My cat, Alfie, was another 1/2 human and was my best friend. When Alfie passed on, Major started to warm up to me and we became very good friends. He was my front seat driving buddy and I never left the house without him. We travelled the town every day, in and out of stores while he waited in the front seat for me. It was a blast travelling with my best friend. Tim Horton's was his favourite spot. He knew when I mentioned "Timbits", that he was getting a treat. He cried for Timbits in the car and we thought he would jump out the window to get them as we neared the window. This went on for years. He was complimented by the people working at Tim Horton's everytime on how beautiful he was and always got a biscuit. He certainly was beautiful.
In 2003, he fractured his cruciate and suffered throughout the night until we could see Dr. John in the morning. We placed a mattress on the floor in the family room and we all slept together looking after him. This comforted him to no extent. He had his surgery and recovered very quickly and became the same dog that we always knew. He ran after birds and squirrels and barked from the top of his lungs to make sure he scared them all away. One thing I must add, is that even though we had skunks in the backyard, we are very surprised that Major never got sprayed. How he avoided it this, we will never know.
When I was pregnant with Nathaniel, Major would always rest his head on my belly and sleep. I believe he was listening to the heartbeat inside my belly. When our son Nathaniel was born, we feared there would be a little jealousy. There wasn't jealousy, but a little competition for attention. We made sure to spread it out to make him feel as important as he always was. He accepted Nathaniel instantly and sat beside Nathaniel like a guard on duty. We have wonderful pictures to show how quickly the relationship started between Nathaniel and Major and the trust and love between them was obvious.
While driving in the car, Major was still sitting in the front seat until he decided to join Nathaniel in the back seat where he could watch over him. He did. The pictures I have taken of this are precious. When Nathaniel would sleep, Major would sleep resting his head on Nathaniel's leg. I learned to love to drive.
Throughout the years, Major collected his own stuffies, that he carried around the house proudly. He would also carry our shoes when he saw us or when we came home to show that he had missed us. We were always finding shoes around the house. He never chewed them, only carried them with pride. I don't recall ever getting ready to leave the house, without asking where my other shoe was. They were all over the house. How I miss that.
He loved his food. He never got enough. He would jump on his back legs and reach for any food that was on the counter and eat everything he was able to reach. We would be gone for a short time to come back to a perfectly opened bag of bread with the contents all eaten up with not a crumb in sight. He cleaned up very well like nothing happened. He thought we would never notice. Our only concern was his stomach which eventually became an issue. He earned himself a sensitive colon which put him on special food and was not able to eat human food anymore. This made his cravings for food even greater. He somehow managed to take food from us, the table or grab that delicious ice cream cone from Nathaniel. Nathaniel later learned how to walk with his cone in the air and run from Major. This is one thing Nathaniel does not miss. He still doesn't share his ice cream cone with anyone!
He loved to be with us at all times. He slept with Jim for the first 7 years and then me for a total of over 14 years. This never changed. He felt that he needed to be close to us to make sure that we were all OK even while we slept. He would get up and pace the house if he heard a noise and then come back to bed. He was better than any alarm we could possibly have. It got diffcult for him to jump on the bed and one of us would wake to help him up. Sleeping a full night was not part of our routine anymore. Between Nathaniel and Major, there were a lot of sleepless nights. That is what being a mother is all about.
I needed to add this very important memory: I have never known a dog to accept a hundred kisses daily. He craved more and more and more. It was truly remarkable that he could never get enough. He just sat there while you hugged him tight and kissed his beautiful head. To this day, it still amazes me. I will always miss those precious moments of our life with Major.
In 2008, he broke a toe running in the backyard. We had it operated on and away he went back to his usual self. He started to lose some weight, but we thought since we changed his food due to a sensitive stomach, this was the end result. It was much better for him to be a little thinner.
Then, in 2009, his running got harder for him. He wasn't able to catch the Kong very well and had started falling when he tried to catch it. He always got up and kept asking for more. He never tired. No matter how sore his body was, he never tired.
By the end of the summer, we noticed that he was really slowing down. The walks became shorter as it was difficult for him to carry his feet properly. We didn't know what was happening and then later found out that he was losing the nerve feeling in his legs. He had lost an incredible amount of weight and was down to a mere 54 pounds and we thought this was due to aging. It was obviously more than that since he lost almost half his weight.
Well, the cold winter was coming and we knew that it was going to be a difficult time for Major going outdoors. It really was. He had taken a turn for the worse and his hind legs started to lose muscle mass and in weeks, we noticed a huge decrease in his performance. His eyes were sad. We had stopped all his walks due to the cold weather and it was dreadfully cold for him to go outside to do his business. When he slept, he slept hard. His legs started to buckle as he would stand eating or just standing beside us. We knew the time was near. We embraced him and showed him more love than ever knowing that he would need it to make each day a little less difficult. He knew we loved him. It was unconditional. It was so easy to love him.
We are truly dog and cat lovers. We hope that the pain we feel today will ease in due time. The broken hearts that we are experiencing goes to show how much we loved our most precious dog member of our family. Major will always be in our hearts and minds. He will never be forgotten.
I have learned so much about myself since I first met Major who became my best friend. You can learn so much about yourself from your pets. My tears are many, my heart is broken, but I wouldn't change any of it to have never experienced the true love I got from Major.
With Much Unconditional Love to our fury Best Friend,
I would like to thank Dr. John and Dr. Meredith and the Staff of Caledon Mountain Veterinary Hospital for their loving and professional care throughout the years and supporting our decision in doing what was best for Major. It is never the right time. Maj, we miss you so much XOXOXO.
Major's People Parent(s), Donna and Jim, would appreciate knowing you have visited their Major's Memorial Residency.