Bandit’s Last Ride

It was no surprise.  Bandit, our little red cattle dog, age 17 had been declining for months.  Like any elderly soul, we dealt with his incontinence and difficulty walking.  We put a doggy ramp on the porch stairs but on his last days put a sling under him to help him outside.

I’ve written about Bandit before in other posts- Stroller Dog and In the Company of Another Old Dog. I’ve loved all my dogs but he was exceptional in so many ways.  When his arthritis got too bad I  had altered a jogging stroller and a bike trailer so he would not miss out on our outdoor excursions.

The day before Bandit took his last breath, we carried him out to his beloved stroller.  I took him for one last ride down our favorite country road to the rushing creek swollen by the recent rains.  Even in his declining state, I could see the pure delight in his face as he took it all in.

We buried him out in a quiet corner of the yard under a big pine tree.  I fashioned a cairn in his honor to mark his grave and hung his collar on top. Bandit basically died of old age, wearing himself out by living well.  If we can only be so lucky.

We borrow the souls of our four-legged friends.  At some point, we have to let them go.  Their passing leaves holes in our hearts but in return, they give us such love and fond memories.

Goodbye Bandit

Rest In Peace

Jan. 16, 2021

Bandit’s final resting place

The following poem speaks to all the dogs that have shared my life’s journey…..

IN MY GOOD DEATH

by Dalia Sheven

I will find myself waist deep in high summer grass.  The humming

shock of the golden light.  And I will hear them before I see

them and know right away who is bounding across the field to meet

me.  All my good dogs will come then, their wet noses

bumping against my palms, their hot panting, their rough faithful

tongues.  Their eyes young and shiny again.  The wiry scruff of

their fur, the unspeakable softness of their bellies, their velvet ears

against my cheeks.  I will bend to them, my face covered with

their kisses, my hands full of them.  In the grass I will let them knock

me down.

Bandit in his youth

19 thoughts on “Bandit’s Last Ride

  1. Oh Alana I am so sorry. I was bawling by the end of the poem because we are in this situation now. Our sweet lab Bruce is almost 14 and in the same condition you described for Bandit. It is a day by day decision and I know we probably should let him go but it is so hard to make that call. I’m not a writer so I won’t be able to do such a beautiful tribute for Bruce but I will be surly be feeling it.

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    1. Edie, I’m so sorry that you are in the same situation. I would not take Bandit into the clinic to have him put down. (Been there before and couldn’t do it again). I made an apporintment for a home euthenasia as I had with my other dogs but he took a turn for the worse too quickly. We saw him through his passing with oral pain meds and being up with him on and off through the night. My advice to you is too make an appointment for a house call ASAP for a low stress passing rather than risk a more stressful experience. All the best to you, Bruce and family in this difficult time.
      Alanna

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  2. Oh Alanna and Raymond, I’m sooo sorry for the loss of your furry family member Bandit. If we didn’t love so much it wouldn’t hurt so badly….. but of course it’s worth every bit of the love you shared. Rest In Peace Bandit 💜

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  3. What a beautiful tribute to Bandit. I particularly liked the line ” wearing himself out by living well”. I have a 19 year old cat that is beginning her decline. I just want to love on her all day while she is still with us. Your post touched me, Alanna.

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting LuAnne. I just want to wish you well with your kitty. It’s so difficult to know you have to say goodbye soon to a long dear friend. I’m sure she has been enjoying a wonderful life with you. I’ll be thinking of you.

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  4. I’m so sorry to hear about Bandit. In addition to his other lovely qualities, he was a very tolerant host to my excitable dog when we visited. Sending heartfelt hugs to you, and a scratch behind the ears to your cat. She must be wondering where her friend Bandit has gone off to….

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