Ramsey was our Francis Street drug-money rescue puppy. When we had purchased our first home, I had found an ad at the grocery store for Rottweiler puppies…. $125. Bargain! (if I’d only realized). I called and the guy (obviously “inner-city” type) told me “Yeeeahhhh, dis guy owned me sum muney so he gave me some ‘rockweiller’ puppies. I gots me 6 kids so I aint’ got no time to take care of a puppy.” YEIKS. So, we went to see her, the last puppy left. She was scrawny at 14 weeks old, and we fell in love instantly. We took her home. We joked that she must have been drug money trade… I’m sure there was more truth to it than we liked to think.
We immediately enrolled her in a puppy obedience course with a trainer we had researched from out of town. We loved her methods and training philosophies and it was the calm, pain-free, shock coller/pinch collar free training that I’d seen in town. We signed Ramsey up for lifetime training. Ramsey completed 2 or 3 training courses, and we practiced diligently at home. We knew the stereotype that Rottweilers had and we were determined to squash that and show people that Rottweilers were amazing, loyal, sweet dogs.
Ramsey was everything we hoped to prove to others. By her second round of training we were working her off leash. She knew to heel, stop, sit, lay down, stay, come from a distance etc all off leash. She waited patiently, for minutes even, before accepting a treat from our hand- waiting for her release. She was calm and sweet and obedient and an absolute love.
The only issues we’d ever had with her were 1) She developed incontinence around age 2. She required a daily (twice a day) medication to control it. 2) She was very much “alpha dog” and while she was great about welcoming dogs into our home and always warmed up to them after a day or two, it made those “few minute meetings” of other dogs at the park, on walks etc a little nerve wracking. I always worried she’d butt heads with another alpha dog. She never fought with another dog, but we never allowed her to be in a situation where she may fail in that aspect.
When the boys arrived, Ramsey reacted as if they had always been there. She never seemed jealous or bitter towards them. And honestly, for about the past year she actually had become very protective of the boys. Especially with Duncan. If the boys tried to play or rough house with Duncan, Ramsey would run across the room and literally put herself in-between Duncan and whomever he was trying to play with. She would often give Duncan a little warning growl/bark and he’d back off.
Ramsey fit in so well with our family. She was patient with the kids, great with visitors (though wary of new people until she realized they were welcome in our home), loyal, loving and so sweet. We never thought she would be gone this soon. She was 10 in February, and we assumed we had a good 2-3 years left with her as she seemed so healthy.
The night she died will forever bear guilt for Ryan and I. Occasionally Ramsey would eat something that upset her stomach and it would give her diarrhea and a bloated stomach. On Tuesday night, Ryan was over at his dad’s watching a show. I was going to bed and Ramsey came in to lay down. She looked at me kind of weird, and I noticed her stomach was really bloated. I sighed and told her to come with me and go outside. I took her downstairs, let her out with Duncan and that was the last I saw her alive.
I texted Ryan to let him know I’d put them outside and that Ramsey was bloated (assuming she just had to go to the bathroom). Ryan tells me he got home and had walked around the back yard with her for a bit to see if she’d go to the bathroom but she didn’t. She just followed him around. He laid down an old furniture blanket in the garage by the mudroom door and left her outside. In her 10 years of life with us she had never slept outside.
Wednesday morning we woke up to no power and the boys were upset there weren’t any lights. In the midst of trying to get ready by lanterns and flashlights, Ryan went out to feed the dogs. I was trying to get Porter set up with a movie on my phone in his room and I heard Ryan call me to the stairs. Something in his voice told me not to act annoyed… that it was important. I got to the stairs and looked down at him… and he said “It’s Ramsey.” I knew immediately. He took me to the garage and she had died lying on the blanket by the back door. We both cried and cried. I couldn’t help but feel so awful that her last night was spent outside- somewhere she’e never in her life slept.
We decided to tell the boys because Ryan had wanted to stay home from work and bury her. Now, I could have handled her death. Its heartbreaking but I’m 29 years old and I know its just the cycle of life. She had a good, long life and she knows she was loved. But… to have to tell your children their beloved pet had died? That broke my heart so badly. I felt like I was leading them into a haunted house as we walked down the stairs to go to the mudroom. We told them we had something sad to tell them and that Ramsey had gone to heaven that night. That her body had gotten too old and didn’t work anymore. Porter was sobbing before even getting to the garage and he bawled and hugged her when we got there. The rest of the morning was terrible. Porter told me he wanted to tell his class about her so I found a picture of him with Ramsey to take into school.
It was a rough morning to say the least. When Samson had to be put to sleep 4 years ago, I thought that was terrible having to make that decision. But now after losing a pet to (what we assume was bloat— which we should have taken her to the vet immediately though we had no idea how serious it was) something so sudden I can’t say I would ever want to do that again. With Samson, he was 14. He was old and it was his time. He couldn’t use the bathroom… the vet suspected prostate cancer and it was just his time. But with Ramsey… I hate knowing we never got to say goodbye. I hate knowing we could have attempted to save her if we’d only known. However, I know this is God’s plan and this is the way it was supposed to be. Rachael had some very helpful words… the one night she was outside does not negate the lifetime of love and care we gave her. Ramsey knows we loved her. She loved us dearly. And I am positive she left this earth with a happy, fulfilled heart.
“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.” -unknown
“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe, we are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.” -Roger Caras
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” -Billings
“He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea. He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.) When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags. Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself. He has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant. His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me… whenever… wherever – in case I need him. And I expect I will – as I always have. He is just my dog. (Author: Gene Hill)