Friday, February 6, 2015

Farewell, Archie, run free good dog.

October 30, 1998 - February 6, 2015

Today my good friend Else said goodbye to her Very Old Dog and best friend, Archie.  He would have been 17 this year, and lived with her for most of those 17 years.

Else adopted Archie from the Cowichan and District SPCA when he was just a young pup.  He had been picked up for running loose and terrorizing his neighbourhood. He could have so easily become a Bad Boy Dog. Else took him to classes, did agility with him, helped him qualify as a Pet Therapy dog and accompanied him on his visits to seniors' facilities, hiked with him, played with him, and most of all loved him. And he was one of the most gentle, laid back, good-natured dogs I have ever met.

Archie was the first dog to welcome me to Crofton, two years before I moved here.  Else and I knew each other online through the rescue network, and she persuaded me to come to the island to meet a dog at the shelter that she thought might be perfect for me.  So in May 2007, my other dog Charley and I came for a visit to meet Toad (yes, he was perfect for me and I adopted him and renamed him Caleb), and Else and Archie invited Toad, Charley and I to join a group of friends on a hike at Swallowfield.  My first picture of Archie - and of  Toad - is one of the two of them together, swimming in the Chemainus River at what has become my favourite place to hike.

Archie and Toad (aka Caleb)
Spring 2007

Archie was my kind of dog - great with dogs, dog-savvy cats, and people;  active explorer outdoors;  couch potato indoors.  In fact, his visits to my house were always a source of laughter, as he would say hello, have a treat, and then trot into my bedroom where he felt no compunction whatsoever about jumping onto my bed for a nice long nap.  If the weather was fine and Else and I sat outdoors, he headed for the hydrangea in the corner of the yard, where he enthusiastically dug himself a comfy hole in the dirt beneath it, and curled up for a snooze.

Who me?
I never dig holes in Auntie Jean's garden!

On our many outings, Archie loved to run and swim and play and then would retreat a short distance to simply sit and watch.  In fact, when I was searching for my photos of him for this blog, I had better luck searching with the words "watcher" than "Archie" - because that was how many photos were labelled:  The Watcher.
The Watcher

The Watcher

The Watcher

Archie had the most beautiful old dog face, the softest eyes, the sweetest demeanor.  In the last few days, we knew the end was very near as he stopped eating, became unable to get up, and then let Else know he was ready.  Today I had the honour of accompanying Else on that final journey with Archie.

As I sat beside him on the floor of the van while Else went in to tell the vet we were there, I chatted to him about the old friends he would see at the Rainbow Bridge as I stroked his head.  When my hand moved away to pull out a kleenex, his head followed it and he did exactly what he has done ever since I've known him - he shoved his nose under my hand and nodded his head up and down to say 'Pet me, please, don't stop now!'

Gently the vet carried him in, and gently, oh so gently, with Else stroking his head and me stroking his back, Archie slipped away.

But forever he is in our hearts.  Forever and always.

Else, thank you for sharing Archie with me.  May memories sustain you through this sad time.

Run free, Archie.
Love, Auntie Jean.


EvenSong said...

Hugs, to both Else and you.

Black Jack's Carol said...

Jean, this left a huge lump in my throat. Such a beautiful tribute written from the heart. My deepest condolences to Else and to you. Our beloved pets simply don't live long enough. RIP, sweet Archie. You were well loved!

Brigid said...

What a beautiful tribute - and such a lovely face, with wise eyes...

Frances said...

This has made me cry. Archie looked exactly the same shape as my first dog, Dillon, who was put to sleep 20 months ago. Dillon was a light brown ( tan) with tiny white touches on his paws and on his chest. We thought he was about 16 plus...I had him when he was 5 ish, and I still miss him in spite of now having had my little fella , Alexi, who is a mini schnauzer, for the last 18 months. So sorry for Else's loss, I know how it hurts!

Ellen Nickerson said...

Oh, so beautiful. Love his old dog face. I have a brother named Archie.RIP gentle one.

Marie said...

A beautiful tribute to a wonder loving dog, rest in peace, Archie.

Roberta MacLaren said...

Thanks for a beautiful tribute for a super dog. Else was very fortunate to have Archie and he was lucky to have her.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jean for your wonderful and touching tribute to Archie.
We both thank you for your support on his journey to the Rainbow Bridge.

Love Else and Archie.

Dom said...

He was so beautiful...

Diane Ronaldson said...

Jean, you are such a gifted writer, and this Beautiful tribute to Archie is just perfect! Archie's loss will be felt deeply by Else and his friends. I am sorry!

Luree Dell-Bryan said...

What wonderful memories of a wonderful dog.

KB Bear said...

You brought tears to my eyes. I have a special place in my heart for old loving dogs... and Archie would have won my heart right away if I'd met him. His photos remind me of our grand old dog's photos, a Lab who lived to 16 and changed us forever.

I am so sorry for your loss - both Else and you. I know that Archie lives on in your hearts. My deepest sympathy to both of you

Anonymous said...

I remember sweet Archie's lovely face from drawing his portrait a few years ago, so this post brought a wistful tear to my eye. I never met him in person, but I adored, his wise expression and unique features, and felt like I knew him. Hugs to you and Else.

Deb S & crew

Sheryl said...

Jean and Else,

I am so sorry for your loss.

Archie has the most magnificent face. What a gorgeous boy!

Pat said...

Help me out, Jean. Why didn't you include my words of appreciation and respect? Were they out of whack, inappropriate, in some way? Pat

Jean said...

Pat, I don't have any unpublished comments showing, and certainly didn't delete any. Are you sure you didn't leave them on the facebook post instead? Or maybe forgot to prove you are not a robot or click the 'Publish' box after your comment?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jean for this wonderful tribute to Archie.
Thank you everyone for your wonderful words of comfort.
Sorry I'm so late with the tank you but every time I look at this I start to cry and all the hurt comes back.