Tuesday, November 9, 2010

And I said Lord I'm happy 'cause I'm just a walkin' my dog, Singin' my song, Strollin' along - It's just me and my dog

Lord Horatio Nelson Williams
April 28, 1996 - November 8, 2010

Can you tell it was my mom's turn to name our pet?? She was a history major in school, and an avid history buff most of her life, so Nelson got one mouthful of a name. But he handled it quite well really :)

Nelson was the best dog ever. He lived for 14 1/2 years, and brought so much joy and love into our lives and our homes. Monday was really hard, and so have the last few months leading up to his passing. His health has been rough, and he was losing a lot of weight and his hips would give out...I won't go into any more of his issues, but the time came where a decision had to be made, and to do what is best for him, we put him down. That was not an easy decision to come to, but he was really suffering and that isn't fair to keep him alive because of selfish reasons. Especially with the cold weather coming in - it made his arthritis so much more painful.

I don't want to be all mushy and sappy and emotional, but I since he lived for 14 wonderful years, I was to share 14 of my favorite memories/lessons that I learned from him. I know it's cheesy, but this dog saved me in many ways through some hard times and I can't ever repay him for all the love and compassion he showed me.

1) Going to get a dog - I was getting ready to go into high school, and we were going to get a dog! I was so excited. We went to visit this family that had a litter of boxer puppies and it wasn't for sure we would get one, but it was a possibility. When we got there, it didn't take long for Nelson to attach himself to us. We have always said he picked us out, not that we picked him out. He followed us everywhere! It was so cute. And if we stopped walking, he would sit on our feet and when he looked up at you with those sweet puppy eyes, you couldn't help but know he was meant to be with us. It was the cutest and sweetest thing I had ever seen up to that point. I remember picking him up for the first time and him just licking my face and I was sold. Thank goodness the rest of my family was too! He came home with us that day.

2) One of the most amazing things that Nelson did for me was to be there for me. It sounds cheesy, but Nelson got me through some really hard times. My parents got divorced a year after we got him, and it was really hard on me and my brother. I remember sitting on the floor of my room in the basement crying, and Nelson would come and curl up in my lap and lick my tears and stay with me until I calmed down. He didn't just do this once or twice - he did it all the time for me. When I would come home from college and visit and was sad or upset about something (something trival and silly I'm sure) he did the same thing. Even last November when I had a miscarriage, I went to my mom's house to visit him and I sat down with him and started crying. He was so old and his hips hurt him, but he came and sat in my lap and licked my tears and let me cry, showing me nothing but the purest and sweetest love. I know it hurt him to sit like that, but he didn't budge until I was ready. I treasure those memories and that love he showed. I know he did similar things for my brother - we were his top priority and he took care of us. He loved us, and we sure love him right back.

3) I was really lucky to have a basement bedroom in high school. It had a door that went straight out into the back yard, which is where Nelson spent most of his time. Well, I loved my dog a lot, so I used to sneak him into the basement to sleep in my room. I'm pretty sure my mom always knew, but as long as she didn't catch him on the furniture, she never said too much about it... I, of course, had to push the limits though. I loved having him jump up on the little twin bed with me and fall asleep. It wasn't super comfy for him, but he did it (He was a big dog and it was a small bed). He would jump up and sleep in the bed with me until I was asleep, then jump down and sleep right next to the bed on the floor. I could reach down and pet him at any time. Then in the mornings, when I would start to wake up, he would jump back up on the bed and snuggle with me. I remember a few times my mom would come down to make sure I was awake, and she caught him up on the bed. Boy did we get in trouble...but he never stopped doing that for me. I was selfish, letting him get in trouble because I wanted things my way, but he never disappointed me!

4) He hated getting baths. My favorite bath time incident happened about a month after we brought him home - I had on a poncho and was bathing him on the kitchen sink. He was not happy to be getting so fresh and so clean, and wiggled right out of my hands, jumped over my shoulder ripping the poncho, and ran off in the house covered in soap. HA! We finally caught him and got him washed off, and we no longer bathed him in the sink.

5) Cropping his ears. This is not something I will ever do with another dog, but we did it to poor Nelson. The surgery isn't fun for them, and he had to have it twice, because one of his ears fell after the first surgery. Now, having this done to him isn't what I loved - but seeing his ears all wrapped up with a little bowl.cone around his neck - it's pathetically adorable! See for yourself - it's not the best picture, but you can see the general idea. Poor little guy!!! Isn't he the cutest thing??

6) Nelson hated his crate. We tried to crate train him, but I think since it was also used for punishment, it didn't really work for him. Trying to get him in there was the biggest ordeal ever - it involved blocking off all doors from the kitchen, trying to corner him and bribing him with meat! Even then, he still put up a fight. On the one hand, it was amusing to watch him do this to other people (my mom or brother) but then when he would do it to me it was so maddening! But he looked at you with that sweet puppy face, and all was forgiven. I'm pretty sure this is part of the reason he ended up being kept out in the yard instead of inside....

7) I will warn you - this is a gross one! But Nelson had, well, awful gas. Like, he could clear a room in 10 seconds flat (I say 10 seconds because there was always a delay between him passing the gas and then the deathly stench.) He even did this at the vet's on his last day. I have some funny stories about this, but I will spare you :)

8) Nelson loved to chase animals - especially squirrels. And he was a fast little guy - he caught them too! I remember the first time he brought his prize up on the porch to show us through the kitchen door windows - we were eating breakfast. EW! However, he was really proud of himself. He was a great runner though, and looked great chasing animals around!

9) Nelson didn't get to go on a ton of walks as he got older. I remember taking him on a walk when he was about 7 or so, when my mom lived off Holly Springs Road. I used to walk from her house to the intersection of Post Oak Tritt and Holly Springs. It was about a 3 mile walk, and it was a nice little stretch. Well, one day I decided it would be nice for Nelson to get to take a walk with me! He loved to run spurts around the yard and stuff, so I thought he was in great shape. Well, it turns out I was wrong. We got to the Post Oak Tritt and Holly Springs, and he was spent. We still had a mile and half to go! It took over and hour just to get home because he kept stopping and laying down every few feet. Poor kid - I felt bad for him!! But it was also hilarious to see this big old dog so tuckered out and me dragging him along (at one point I tried to carry him...but he was over 70 pounds at that point...so that didn't work out as well as I had hoped.)

10) This one is sort of embarrassing for my brother....but my brother would get him to chase him around the kitchen/den areas and they would go in laps. Nelson was fast so he would catch my brother and then he would end up pantsing my brother. HA! Nelson always beat him, too.

11) One of my favorite things about the boxer breed is the personality that boxers have! Nelson had a ton of personality - including letting you know when he was mad and having a special relationship with you and winking at you (I'm totally serious too!) My mom got the brunt of his attitude, especially his angry attitude. He would do things that would make her mad, because he was mad. Like if he didn't want to be left alone, but my mom had brought him down to the basement because of the weather, he would leave her little "presents" (aka poop) on the floor (it wasn't a cement floor, so it wasn't the worst scenario....but it still had to be cleaned up). When Gordon and I would come to see him, he would give us the cold shoulder for a while when we first got there. He would of course let us pet him, but his boxer kisses weren't around for a good while! He sure told us :)

12) My mom and step-dad's house has a great backyard and Nelson loved it. There is a nice big hill that he would love to walk to the top of and sit and look out over his territory. He would sit up there in the sun and just be. Even as he got older and his arthritis was really tough on him, he would take at least a few walks a day up to the top of that hill and sit there. It was sweet to see him up there looking over everything, including my mom and step-dad.

13) The hill also served as an amazing burial ground for ham bones!! At holidays, we always save the ham bone for him and we would take them to him outside and he would get so excited and run up on the hill and bury his bone. Then dig it up and bury it again. The process was limitless! He couldn't handle leaving it just one spot, and it is so cute to see him digging and then filling the hole by moving the dirt back in the hole by pushing it with his nose. We always loved watching him bury and move his ham bones around :)

14) Lastly, I love Nelson because he was truly a best friend to me. I love dogs and the compassion and companionship they give. Nelson was the most loyal dog I have ever had and he loved us so much. I hope he knows how much we love him. It was hard since both my brother and I moved away from home, and he stayed, but we made sure to visit him and spoil him when we did see him. I can never thank him enough for all the joy he brought into my and my brothers life. There are so many other stories I could tell, but I will stop now. The most important thing I can say is that I love Nelson and he came into our lives at the perfect time! I'm so grateful he picked us, because life without him would not have been as happy, as loving or as special. We are all better off for having him in our lives!

That's enough of my ramblings. Here are a few more pics from the last few years...