"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
  --  John Lennon

Austin 7/17/97 - 11/23/09

A trip to the dentist for a cleaning was the only thing I was dreading on Monday, November 23, 2009.  The fur kids get their meds at 8 a.m. and Austin's was delivered as he was still in the bedroom (not unusual).  An hour or so later when I headed into the shower while Dave was preparing their breakfast, I realized that Austin was still laying in the bedroom (normally he heads outside to commune with nature before breakfast).  As soon as I saw him, I called to Dave to come here now...he usually has 15 questions about why he should, but he never hesitated...he said he knew by the tone of my voice.  Austin had not moved nor had he reacted to my coming in the bedroom with a butt wiggling.  We called our vet and we got an appointment for later that morning, but after closer examination of his condition I realized that he was fading quickly.  His gums were pale and he felt cold.  I called back to our vet who agreed to see him within 20 minutes...we were there in less than 15.  Blood work and x-rays were taken.  His blood work showed that he was already anemic and although the x-rays could not show the spleen, we could see the tumor.  We had choices...we could take him to First Regional who could do an ultrasound, but we declined.  We did all of that 2 years earlier with his brother Augie...we already knew the outcome!  We opted for pain medication and fluids to help ease the crappy feeling he was experiencing and brought him home.  Dave and I each took turns spending what we knew would be our last moments with him, all the while monitoring his gums and breathing, which was becoming increasingly worse.  Our "job" for that last 12 1/2 years was to take good care of him and never let him suffer in any way...that afternoon, we fulfilled our obligation as parents to the most gentle, loveable child anyone could ever hope for.

When he was gone, we wrapped him in a blanket and took him to All Pets Great & Small Cremation Service, who was awaiting his arrival because Dave had called ahead.  We lovingly placed his body in the furnace along with one of his favorite toys.  Several hours later, Dave brought him home again for the last time.  Austin was such a character and I swear he could see the future, as he dug and refined his foxhole on the side of the house each year as if some unexpected disaster was about to occur.  We decided many years ago that when the time came for Austin to leave us some of his ashes, along with a fitting memorial would be placed in that foxhole that he worked on year after year.  The rest of his ashes will reside in his new urn along with his brother Augie, as well as Kandoo, Midi and Spanky.

We're hoping that the overwhelming sorrow that we feel will eventually dissipate...although at this moment in time, it doesn't seem possible.

Below is the layout for Austin's foxhole memorial.  It is a black granite marker that will be placed on a metal stand to honor his efforts at maintaining his foxhole for whatever impending "danger" he could foresee :-)  His marker should arrive within 3 weeks as it takes time to etch his photo as well as the word engraving.  I will let you know how happy we are with the finished product.  In the meantime, if you are looking to do something similar, please visit Always Remembered Pet Memorials for available options. 

Click pic to enlarge

01/01/2010:  Dave and I spent New Year's Day burying some of Austin's fur and ashes in his favorite place in the side yard.  Although it's rather unattractive to the human eye (just all dirt), it was Paradise to Austin.  He loved to be outside and during the summer, he found a special place at the corner wall where he could dig up the hot dirt and lay in the cool :-)  He worked on it for years and even when we "filled" it back up, he would perfect it again to his liking.  As he got older, we worried about his commune with nature, especially in the summer, so we would check on him constantly.  But that old boy knew when it got too hot...he'd come right in and chill out in the air-conditioned house :-)

While the majority of his ashes and fur reside on our special shelf, along with his brother Augie and our other babies that we've lost throughout the years, it gladdens our hearts that part of him can be where he loved to be...outside!

Here are a few pictures of his outside memorial (click pic for enlargement).  Enjoy!

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