[Warning: Super picture-heavy photo post to follow but I had to many great ones to share.]
Our adorable little West Highland White Terrier (Westie), Harry, has been a member of our family for nearly 17 years. When we lived in Minnesota and the kids were little, we drove down to a farm in Iowa to pick him up as soon as he was weaned from his mother, “Sarah’s Little Sophia” or “Sophia” for short. His father’s name was “Sweet Simon Lars Petersen” or “Simon” for short.
Being a purebred, his registered name is “Sir Harrison of Chaska” but he was just our Harry dog.
My mother warned me that it would be a lot of work to have a toddler and a new puppy in the house. And she was right! (Yes, I admit it, mom.)
Dealing with the crazy Russian who never slept and never stopped moving and trying to housebreak and train a puppy was exhausting!
But we all loved him and it was worth all the work in the end.
Harry has been with us through countless holiday celebrations.
He loved to come to the lake with us and would have a blast jumping from the dock and playing in the water.
He allowed us to dress him up for Halloween…
The only toy he really loved was a plastic dumbbell and he had numerous versions of it throughout the years. I think he liked how it fit in his mouth so perfectly.
He loved to sleep in crazy places…and the smellier the better. The dirty laundry basket in our closet was his favorite.
But he also liked to lay on top of shoes….
or packing supplies for our big move to Florida. I think he wanted to make sure he wasn’t left behind.
He endured years of snowy winters in Minnesota and didn’t seem to mind. In fact, on sunny days, we’d watch him out the window frolicking and rolling around in the snow.
He was briefly engaged to my dad and aunt Sandy’s dog, also named Sandy, but she broke it off when he wouldn’t stop sniffing her butt.
As he aged, he developed arthritis, which made getting up and down stairs difficult for him. In the past year, it’s even been difficult getting up and down from a sitting or sleeping position. We were grateful that Harry could retire to Florida, where he no longer had to deal with stairs in our one-story home.
We watched him age tremendously in the past year, with his mobility becoming more and more difficult. He also had terrible skin allergies since our move which made his belly turn black, clumps of hair to fall out and caused him spend most of his waking hours scratching and scratching. He would even wake us up in the middle of the night with his scratching. And in the past few months, his frequent/daily urinating in the house has become unbearable. I just can’t clean up any more pee! He spent his days sleeping 80% of the time, just waking to eat, scratch or go to the bathroom. So after allowing him one more Christmas so that all the kids could be with him one more time, we made the difficult decision to put him down last week.
It was incredibly difficult but Carl and I did it together and he died peacefully in my arms snuggled in a warm blanket. I’m sure the full impact of his absence hasn’t hit us yet but we are grateful that he is no longer in pain or discomfort.
He was our favorite dog and he will be missed. Thank you for your years of joy that you brought to our family, Harry dog! We love you and miss you already.