This is a picture I took of Bert, at about noon today.

Bert's Last Day 2015.10.27

We went to see the US Womens National Soccer Team play Brazil last Wednesday night (six days ago). He sat in the car for four hours … a long stretch, sure, but not unusual for him. When we got back to the car, he was panicked, and had shortness of breath.  From that point until today, Bert didn’t do very well. Bad bowels, shortness of breath, weakness … lots of weakness. Didn’t want to walk. Probably couldn’t walk much. Loss of appetite. Very shallow breaths and rapid heartbeat overnight. On several occasions, he appeared to be ready to pass out, he’d get really low to the ground, and his eyes would bug out of his head.

On Monday, we sent an email to his cardiologist. His cardiologist recommended a blood test, and an x-ray of his heart. Oh, let me tell you, Bert hated getting blood drawn. Hated having needles put in him. Hated it. HATED … IT!!

I scheduled his appointment … for 3:20pm Tuesday (today).

Twenty-five months ago, our problems started when Bert ran up the stairs to enjoy a sampling of Frosted Strawberry Pop Tart crusts. He collapsed, and we learned his mitral valve was failing.

This morning, I carried Bert upstairs, and he thoroughly enjoyed eating Frosted Strawberry Pop Tart crusts with me … he hadn’t had any in two or three months. He loved eating them! He acted like a puppy while waiting for me to hand him the treats.

This, after refusing to eat breakfast this morning.

We had guests over today, a house full, through late afternoon. So I took Bert to the vet by myself – I carried him out to the car, sat him in his car seat, and off we drove. That was at 3:10pm.

At 3:19pm, we pulled in to the vet. I opened the door, picked him up, and set him on the ground. I wanted to get his leash, so I could walk him inside.

When I looked down, he had slumped over on to his side, and actually had rolled a bit over toward his back. Non-responsive.

I picked him up, and rushed him in to the vet. Had a hard time opening the door. I got inside, I set him on the floor, and I blurted out “Our Boy Is In Trouble!“. The use of the word “our” is appropriate. His vet staff invested a lot of energy and kindness to keep him plugging along through the years. One of the employees, present this afternoon, was one of his favorite friends – she cared for him when we traveled and he had to stay put.

His vet listened to his heart. He was having a massive heart attack. She asked how long it would take for Bert’s Mom to arrive? I said if I called, it would take 15 minutes to let our house guests know that our party was over and then drive to the vet.

Bert’s Mom made it in 12 minutes. Seemed like 1.2 minutes to me.

When Bert’s Mom arrived, Bert was mostly non-responsive. Oh, sure, he tried to knock off the oxygen mask a few times, but interestingly, the needles didn’t bother him. ‘Nuff said there. I asked him to kiss my face. He didn’t. He wasn’t “Bert” anymore.

We said goodbye. As Bert transitioned to being unconscious, a cat strolled into the room we were in, and sat down against my leg as Bert passed. We were told that the cat appears when pets are about to pass away. The cat waited until Bert was gone, and then, the cat moved along.

In less than an hour, we went from a dog enjoying a party to not having a dog.

We frequently asked Bert’s cardiologist how Bert would pass? We both hoped that Bert would have a massive heart attack, or would die in his sleep. We didn’t expect our prayers to be answered, given what the past twenty-five months have been like. But our prayers were answered. He had the massive heart attack that we hoped would make the decision so very easy. And he had the massive heart attack at the vet, one minute before an appointment. Those are impossible odds. All three of us were clearly blessed.

If you miss Bert, go back and read through his adventurous trip to Wisconsin. We had so much fun with him! Until the past six days, he had so much fun, too! I doubt there was ever a dog that derived more pleasure out of life than Bert derived. At minimum, no dog watched as much TV as Bert watched, critiquing animals in commercials with his trademark growl.

He was my friend. That’s a good thing.

14 thoughts on “Goodbye

  1. Happy trails Bert. We loved you as our own. Well done thou good and faithful companion.

    You were one of a kind. Hope there is a big ol’ pile of “rocks” waiting for you in heaven.

    G’pa & G’ma Benz

  2. Bert, you have left paw prints on so many hearts. You are now healthy again and will be running and waiting at the rainbow bridge to greet all of your loved ones. Peace and blessings to you. May your mom and dad be comforted in knowing that their unconditional love for you and your unconditional love for them is eternal. Rather than goodbye, it’s goodnight for now until we meet again.

  3. RIP Bert. You brought much joy to your family who loved, spoiled and cared for you till your last breath. You brought much joy through your blog that made us laugh, cry and reflect on just enjoying the life we have on a daily basis, and for that I thank you. Sending much love and big hugs to your mom and dad, you will be missed, but the love you gave will be with them forever.

  4. You will be missed by all those who loved you and enjoyed your companionship. Mom & Dad are going to miss you a lot but they know you are healthy and happy again. Thanks for being such a good, loyal family member to them and giving them much joy and good memories.

  5. Sweet travels sweet Bert… have given us all so much.

    Kevin and Tori….may the hole in your hearts be healed and filled with wonderful memories and love of us all who were lucky enough to have known Bert and to have shared his journey.

    Eileen and Ken Barrett

  6. So he partied till the end!
    What a lucky dog to have you two as a family. I had a peek of what it took for you to help Bert enjoy these last two years. It was a massive effort. Your compassion and caring was impressive.
    Thank you Kevin, for sharing this delightful blog with all of us. It’s not so delightful today and my heart aches with yours. To love a dog is to open yourself to profound joy., and prospectively, when they are gone, equally profound sadness.

  7. Bert was a very lucky dog to have lived his wonderful life with such loving, caring parents. I think you need to publish a book about him. He is going to be missed by so many people. Our thoughts are with you, Kevin and Tori.

    Bill and Judy Stern

  8. Sweet dreams, Bert. We’ll miss your enthusiastic and loud greetings. You brought joy to so many people, especially your loving, caring, and wonderful “parents”. Kevin and Tori – our thoughts are with you during this difficult time. Hugs to both of you.

    Sue and Ken Whitney

  9. my heart is aching for the two of you………….no matter how much we know in advance of a life threatening illness we are never really prepared………………Bert lived a wonderful and adventurous life with his humans like no other dog ever……………..he was the most blessed to have you both as his human companions……………….blessings

  10. Bert the wonder dog, always an amazing story! Glad Bert was able to enjoy some of his favorite treats and a party, what a way to go. I’m sorry for your loss, hugs to you both. Ali, Lenny & Lucky.

  11. We are so very sorry to hear about the loss of Bert. We have enjoyed so many stories about him throughout his life. We have loved more than one dog and we know how painful it is to lose one.
    Sincerely, Cliff and Patsy Engel

  12. As I sit here sobbing after reading your last post, I am so saddened at your loss. Even though I never met Bert or the 2 of you, (only knew Gma Benz) I never missed a blog. I so much enjoyed your posts and waited anxiously for the next one. These dogs are so apart of our lives and in reading your blog, I felt like I knew him and you. Prayers out to you and sweet thoughts of Bert in Doggie Heaven. 😦 -Lynn Binder

  13. As I sit here sobbing, I feel so saddened by your loss. Even though I didn’t personally know Bert or the 2 of you, only Gma Benz, I am mourning your loss, too. These dogs are a part of our families. I loved your posts and waited anxiously for each one. My thoughts are with you and hope Bert is happy in Doggie Heaven.- Lynn Binder

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