Caleb (Good Boy) 12/06/03-12/26/09

Well, to say this Christmas  season was craptastic would a bit of an understatement.  Binh was sick on Christmas. sick. Like we found out our kids had swine flu sick. Then, we lost one of the most loving dogs ever on Christmas night. At least the day itself went well.

Well, here’s the story of what happened to my Caleb Good Boy. See, it’s almost impossible to say his name in reference to him without saying “good boy”. It became almost like a part of his name. Calebgoodboy. Anyway, everything went fine on Christmas, well, with Caleb anyway. Binh was sick and had fever, but opened his presents and played a little. Caleb was his normal self. He followed me or Ash around like usual, stood in front of me as I cooked, etc. See, Caleb was a complete velcro dog. I think I may have told this before, but Caleb followed me around absolutely everywhere, all the time, no joke. He’d follow so close that if I stopped short he’d goose me in the heiney with his nose, so close that he often stepped on the back of my flip-flop- while my foot was still in it, thus tripping me. Yes, that close, all. the. time. And you know what? I loved it. He was literally my constant companion. He waited on me outside the bathroom, followed me through the halls, laid outside the kids’ bedrooms while I put them to bed, stood with me in the kitchen while I cooked. You get the idea. 

Caleb was fine ’till Christmas night. He and Sydney got a few presents for Christmas (new beds, frisbees, a raw hide). I went to put Ava to bed and when I came out Caleb was not laying in the hall outside her room waiting for me. I went into the living and asked where he was. Ash told me he has wanted outside. I looked and he was standing looking in the back door at me so I let him in. When I did, he came in whining and whistling through his nose. He walked around the living room like he was very uncomfortable and kept up the whining. I told Ash something was wrong so he took him outside again and looked around to make sure he hadn’t hurt himself out there or gotten into something. A couple of minutes later Ash came in and said he was sick and that his stomach was hard. That’s when I looked and knew. Caleb was bloating.

Large breed dogs sometimes have what is called gastric torsion, or bloat. It usually occurs without warning in male dogs between 4-7 years old. Caleb was a six-year-old German Shepherd, a classic case. I took one look at his stomach and my heart sank. I felt his stomach and told Ash I thought he was bloating. If he was, we has to get him to the vet ASAP or he would die. Remember, this is about 9:00pm on Christmas night. So, I called the emergency clinic to tell them we were coming in. I had to stay with the kids who were sleeping, so Ash took Caleb to the animal ER. I walked outside with them and gave Caleb a hug before they left. Thank goodness I got to do that because it was the last time I got to see my Caleb.

They ended up trying to do surgery on him, but there were some complications (his spleen was ruptured, the stomach had a lot of necrotic tissue, swollen lymph nodes, etc.). They called at 12:45 am to say it would be difficult and his recovery would be longer and harder than what was initially thought. We made the decision to let him go. Afterward, the doctor called us again and we found out she had found two masses inside him that she was “80% sure was cancer”.

So, after six years of having a dog stuck to my side, I’m trying to adjust to life without my Big ‘Un. Caleb was the sweetest dog I have ever met. He looked very menacing, and strangers were really afraid of him. I mean, he was huge. He only weighed 86lbs. but he was a tall, big dog. So people who didn’t know him were wary which was kind of funny if you knew Caleb because all he really wanted in life was to be loved on all the time. He would walk up to you and put his big ‘ol head on your lap and snuggle in while you were sitting on the couch. He would have loved to have been a lap dog, if he would have fit. Even though he was such a lover, he was very watchful of our family and we always said he was our “security system”.

So, this is why I haven’t written on the blog since Christmas. I knew I had to write about it, but I just wasn’t up to the job. It’s just so strange not having him here- one minute and everything is fine, then in an instant everything changes. The kids were in bed asleep during this whole thing, so Ava really didn’t understand what happened. She kept asking why he couldn’t come back and why he didn’t want to be her friend anymore. Heartbreaking. I don’t know if a 35-year-old woman is supposed to be so sad about a dog, so sometimes I feel kind of stupid and then sometimes I just feel sad. Things have gotten better in the last couple of days. I mean, it’s not like I’m wearing black around the house and crying all the time or anything. Things just have felt a little “off” around here.

Well, I do have a few funny stories to tell from our holidays, so I’ll try to lighten things up in my next couple of posts.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sarah
    Jan 04, 2010 @ 16:26:06

    I am so sorry! I wish I could say more, but sorry is the only thing I can think of. I am positive this is a really tough time. And I don’t think you should feel odd for being so sad. It is normal.

    So sorry.


  2. asmalltowndad
    Jan 04, 2010 @ 17:03:34

    Sis I’m sorry to hear about Caleb and I know that your animals mean the world to you and to your family. That’s the hardest thing about letting yourself love something or someone so much, is the knowledge that someday you might have to let it go. But the sad thing is, because some are so scared of losing that love, that they miss out on the memories and the return love that a person receives for taking the chance of love. I know that you have so many great memories of all your pets, and to me memories are worth more than money. Love ya


  3. Tracy @ My Minivan Rocks!
    Jan 04, 2010 @ 18:06:55

    I’m so sorry. Losing pets is such a hard thing. Thinking of you.


  4. Matthew
    Jan 04, 2010 @ 18:52:35

    He was so sweet….and that tail….always wagging. All wagging all the time. Knocking crap over. We’ll miss you Caleb!


  5. melinda
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 04:34:17

    Oh, I am so sorry.


  6. leanne
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 17:59:32

    this post brought me to tears. So sorry for all of you.


  7. Bro
    Jan 06, 2010 @ 14:38:13

    Hi lil sis,
    my sincere condolences. You have always had a special connection with the animals of the earth, something I have always admired.
    It is comforting to know that all of God’s creations that walk, swim, and fly on earth are filled with our creator’s love – and Caleb is eternally loved.
    luv ya,


  8. Terri Anne
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 01:12:37

    Oh Char, I’m so sorry, and it’s not silly at all. Our pets become such a part of the family. Ten years ago we lost our 16 year old dog, and I still have dreams about her from time to time. I remember pulling in the driveway the night we lost her, and I just sat in the car crying forever b/c I couldn’t go in the house knowing she wouldn’t run to the door to greet me.


  9. Elaine
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 15:59:53

    I am so, so sorry, and fighting back tears. We lost our dog to the same thing right before last Christmas. It was sudden, and horrible, and so very sad.


  10. Christina
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 18:35:50

    Oh I’m so sorry. That is just awful. The timing is especially awful but really there’s no good time to lose a best friend. And I think you have every right to grieve Caleb – he was a dear loved family member.


  11. Cheryl Dunakin
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 01:23:29

    Hi Charlet – just learning about Caleb now… sad 😦
    I’ve often wondered about him and how he was doing. Bloat is a terrible thing. Makes me wonder if I should get my Charlie’s stomach tacked. Never had a problem when we had Shadow, and he was a big boy too.
    I just happened to cross paths (online) w/ your former dog sitter Lori – that’s how I happened here to your site.
    PS – Your kids are adorable!


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