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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Clifford

Clifford has passed away.  Two weeks ago he had a stroke.  For a week, it looked like he was going to make a full recovery.  But it was not to be.  The second week he steadily lost ground, until it was plain to all that there would be no happy ending.  Our vet helped us to do the kind but so hard thing. 


It's impossible to tell you Clifford's tale without talking about my mother, for he was her dog first.  My parents retired to western North Carolina so my father could hike and explore the Smoky Mountains.  Salamanders, frogs and turtles were his passion as horses are mine.  The downside of the area was the profusion of starving, abandoned dogs.  Clifford was the last in a long line of dogs my mother rescued.  She would catch a glimpse of him in the woods, and she began to leave food out for him.  But she could not get near him.  One winter day when he was soaking wet and covered with snow, she was able to touch him.  I was able to get him into her house on my next visit.  We took him to the local vet and found that he was riddled with heartworms.  He almost died from the treatment to get rid of them.  By then he was my mother's dog, and she loved him.  But she was in her eighties, and she had cancer.

Mom, David and I decided that Clifford would come to Colorado and live with us.  At that time, we were living in suburbia and boarding our horses.  Clifford made the transition from woods dog to city dog, no problem.  He enjoyed walks and toys and hikes and dog parks and sleeping on his own bed indoors and treats and and and.  But I think moving to the ranch was the best part of his life.  He had it all - walks and toys and hikes and his own bed next to ours and treats and horses and coyotes and ground squirrels and girlfriends and the great open spaces.

The last thing I want to say is that I know there are a lot of wonderful dogs out there, but Clifford really was the best dog in the world.  God bless you, gentle Cliffie.  Tell my mother that I love her and I miss her.

26 comments:

Mare said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Terry:) Clifford sounds like he was a dog in a million. Rest in peace sweet boy...

Louise said...

My heart sank when I saw the title of this entry. I was so afraid, knowing that Clifford had a stroke a couple of weeks ago, of what I would see. And, my fears were realized.

Terry, I am so sorry that you have lost this wonderful dog. Every time you wrote about him, I could feel the love you had for this beautiful, sweet faced animal. Your family gave him his life back, and he rewarded you all with his steadfast love. I think that love will be with you always. And, I thank you for giving him the care and love that he so richly deserved.

Dave said...

Our Clifford was a true gentleman and an important part of the ranch. No stranger, coyote, or vole ever got close to this house without us knowing it. I will dearly miss him, our family walks, and his soft nuzzle each night before we both went to sleep.

Sharon said...

When I saw his name on the title, I knew, and already the tears were coming, I get very emotional when someone's pet passes. I didn't know Clifford's story till now and I see that he was a very special part of your lives. Thank you for telling us. Good-bye, to your special friend. I hope he is keeping your Mom company.

Jim said...

Terry, I am so sorry for your loss. Clifford was very fortunate to have been rescued by your Mom and then live with you guys.
Yes I know, you were the lucky ones.
Jim

sophie...^5 said...

Sweet thoughts for Cliffie...wonderful story...you kept me so engaged...The passing of a loved one is one of the most difficult decisions and processes to go through. Sounds like you managed and we are all thinking about you.

Dreaming said...

I am so sorry to hear this sad news. Losing a fluffy family member is so darn tough. May all of those great memories bring you happiness as you go forward.

Texan said...

I am very sorry for ya'lls loss. Our furry family members just mean so very much to each of us.

I was very worried for Clifford after reading he had a stroke. My first Boxer Major (my soul mate in fur) the one you know you will never have again. You will love more dogs but I do believe we can get that once in a lifetime furry friend. He had a stroke, then a day later he had another. We too were helped by our Vet to see the kind/right thing to do. I do know and understand exactly how hard that decision is to make and then live with. You know its the right thing, but your mind and your heart scream NO!!!!!!

It took me a long long time to get over the trauma of it. I wish you guys a smoother recovery. I send this wish with a big hug. You did do the right thing.

Lori Skoog said...

Terry...so sorry to read about your boy. I'm glad he was able to live out his life at your farm, feeling all the love. You have my deepest sympathies.

Kate said...

Very sorry for your loss - another good dog has gone on ahead. Glad you knew him and were there for him when he needed you.

Dream Valley Ranch said...

Dearest Terry and David,
I am so sorry for your loss. What an incredible story...I had no idea about Clifford's past and his connection to your mom. I agree-he is the world's best dog!
Sending so many healing thoughts your way-my heart is very sad and I can't help but think that he somehow knows how much he is missed.
Hugs to all,
Sue and the crew

OnTheBit said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

Flartus said...

We all understand and empathize with you over the loss of such a great, good spirit. What a beautiful picture of him you have up there. You did so much for Clifford, and I know that your happy memories of him will last the rest of your lives. You're right, there never will be another one like him. How lucky you were to spend so much time with him. Rest easy, knowing you did the all the right things.

Dom said...

What a beautiful story and what terrible news. I am so sorry for your loss. He was beautiful.

Sally said...

So hard to lose a good friend. Glad he was a part of your life, and so loved.

Janet said...

Sending you a huge hug ! Clifford had a wonderful life with you after such a rough start- never easy to say goodbye to a much loved pet but take comfort in the fact you gave him a brilliant home where he was loved to bits.

Tracey said...

I'm so sorry Terry. Poor old Clifford. Lots of love to you...xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Funder said...

Oh, I'm so sorry Terry. I know he left a very large dog-shaped hole in your heart. What an adventure-filled life he had with you! Hugs to you and David.

in2paints said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Clifford. He sounds like a wonderful boy and will no doubt be missed. Hugs to you and all who loved sweet Cliffie.

Diane said...

Found you via Jan at My Brother Andrew - So sad. At least you had him for a brief while and you made each other very happy. xxxx

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Rest in peace Clifford. He was such a handsome dog. Sorry for your loss :-(

JJ said...

I'm so sorry to hear about sweet Clifford :(

Razzberry Corner said...

This is a beautiful but sad story. Cliffie is with your Mother now... I'm so sorry for your loss.

~Lynn

Sandy said...

So sorry to read this about Clifford - what a beautiful dog he was....and quite a story on how he came to you.

~ Tom said...

Yes, Clifford was that special and that loved. And Terry, that's my favorite picture of Clifford, the sweetest big red dog ever.

Love
~ Tom

Canyon Girl said...

Oh, Terry, I am so sorry for your loss. I had gotten so fond of Clifford and I was worried after he had the stroke. He was a sweet and gentle dog, you could just tell. And you and your Mom gave him such a good life. Take care, Inger