Dagmar’s human dad wasn’t happy to meet her when they were first introduced. He had just met the woman he was going to marry and, unfortunately for him, he hated dogs and Dagmar wasn’t going anywhere. What he wasn’t expecting, though, was how deeply the dog would nudge her way (and her “fuzzy nose”) into his heart.
He shared these photos of Dagmar with Reshareworthy.com and writes:
“I hated dogs for a long time. I was attacked when I was 9, and it made me skittish around anything with four legs and a bark. By the time I was an adult I had pretty much settled into a ‘You don’t mess with me, I don’t mess with you’ vibe. Then I met my wife. She had a dog. German Shepherd/Norwegian Elkhound mix named Dagmar. Dog came with the relationship. Which sucked. But this dog worked on me.”
“She was intelligent, loyal, dead quiet, and I believe possibly the greatest lover of Won Ton soup ever created. And through her general coolness, she got me to move from actively disliking her to eventually loving her.
“When my kids were born, she would curl around their cribs. She would climb on furniture to actively put herself between anyone she didn’t know and the babies. She never moved in anger except once when she backed a flooring guy into the corner of our kitchen and wouldn’t let him go (turned out he had taken some cash from my wife’s purse). Short story long, this dog was crazy cool.”
“Two years ago she wobbled and collapsed. Her eyes were spinning in her head. I didn’t know what to do. I thought she was going to die then and there, and found myself weeping over a dog. A freaking dog. It was then I realized how far she had brought me. From outright hate to liking a whole species.
“Turned out she wasn’t dying… then. She had a condition that screwed up her balance. So she walked constantly on an angle, but was still happy to be with the family. And so she bided her time with us. A bundle of love. Withering, but with beautiful blooms the whole way out. She ate less and less, could get up less and less. Our runs became walks, became strolls, became placing one foot in front of the other just to be in each other’s company.”
“And she kept having seizures. The vet assured us they were just part of the disease she had, and as long as we kept her safe she’d have fun with us. That was until 6 months ago. She took a turn for the worse. Started to ‘lose’ us. Basically became an Alzheimer’s patient. Still friendly, but the kids and myself were greeted like strangers. She only recognized my wife. And I found myself the main caretaker for this aging old girl. Doing things I never thought I would for the love of an animal who had more humanity than some humans.”
“And then of course the endgame. She had had two days that were awful, and we didn’t want her to go out not knowing us. Of course right after, she had two days that were great, which sent my wife and I into loops about whether we were doing the right thing in not just letting her die. But we made our decision.”
“We put her down last Friday. Everyone had thought my wife would be the mess, but it was me who fell apart. Who held this animal as she went out and thought images of hiking with her in Muir woods to give her energy a good feeling to fly out on. Even in death she was my teacher, as I had an epiphany of ‘this is why some cultures ululate.’ The grief was so much, I wanted to yell to let everyone know that a great soul had left.
“She was 15. She was a lover of watermelon and won ton soup, a digger of gophers and an indiscriminate beggar of chicken. I miss her terribly.”
Published on Reshareworthy.com with permission from Dagmar’s human.
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