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Thread: Sherman, that once in a lifetime dog

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    Kennel Cleaner mcardle3's Avatar
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    Default Sherman, that once in a lifetime dog

    -1524465_10151922660679370_196155072_o-jpgThey say that once in a lifetime, every dog owner gets to live with, be with, love with their dog soulmate. Sherman was my dog soulmate.

    We lost him to cancer and Cushings disease this past October...his passing was devastating to us, although at 10, and with his illness, we knew our time was becoming limited with him.

    I decided to put a quote in my signature line this week...and it brought him to the forefront of my mind and heart again. Sherman...he filled a pocket of my soul that will forever whisper his name to me when I see the things that he loved. He was a gentleman, slightly aloof, and knew, somehow, when I was very sick. I have scleroderma and some days are hard. Sherman knew. He knew those days were hard and his devotion to me was something to behold in those times.

    The quote in my signature, by Dean Koontz is "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished," says it all about my Sherman, the Shermanator, Shermy Sherm, the Shermonster...my friend. He came to us as a foster, lived with us for 7 years, and left us as a huge part of our happiness and home.

    My husband's blog about Sherman's passing is below. Sherman was.................loved.

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    Today I did one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

    I had to have our beloved bulldog Sherman put down.

    Sherman was really the first dog I've ever had.

    Actually -- or literally, take your pick -- Sherman was a package deal. Karen had him when she and I met. Sherm was a rescue filled with medical issues. Karen tells me he was round as they came when she got him, because the former owner indulged him too much at meal time. But Sherm also had an ACL in need of repair, alopecia and was in need of surgery to prevent his corneas from being scratched to blindness by his eyelashes, something I've come to learn is called double entropion. So yea, Sherman had an eye job.

    Sherm was never going to win Westminster. He had a roached back, the aforementioned eye job, ears that tulipped and sundry imperfections that ruled out a career as either a show dog or a breeder. Yet, what he lacked in physical beauty he more than made up in personality.

    One might think that with all these maladies, Sherm might be a little testy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He was the sweetest, kindest, gentlest dog around whom I've ever been. If he had a fault it was that he liked to be petted. He never met a hand he didn't like as long as it was touching him. Sometimes he made a slight nuisance out of himself with this, but if that's the worst that can be said about him, it's nothing at all.

    Sherm liked to eat. He probably felt that he was getting starved by us compared to the buffet he had been served by his original owner.

    When I first met him, Sherm was very active. This was only six years ago. He would do this thing that we termed Belushi-ing, which was from Belushi's role in Animal House, where he stood in the middle of the living room and just jumped and turned, awkwardly. There was nothing awkward about Sherm's movements. They were lightning quick and playful, Sherm wanting to be chased as he zoomed around furniture in the living room. He went so fast we started calling this running the zoomies. It was great fun to watch Sherm when he had the zoomies.

    We played tug of war relentlessly. He'd grab my fingers in his teeth and gently gnaw on them as if to claim them for his own. He loved being brushed. Especially when his allergies started making him itch all over, he'd get giddy when he saw me break out the brush. Custer would run for the high hills, thinking I was going to beat him with the brush (he'd been beaten by his former owners), but Sherman relished the pampering that was to come. If I stopped and Sherman thought I hadn't brushed him enough, he'd paw me to remind me to continue. It soothed him so much that it could put him to sleep.

    Sherm loved to take rides in the car. When he knew he was going for a ride he'd get all excited and jump around, pawing our legs and virtually begging to be put in the car. Once he was in the car, he slept. I don't know why he enjoyed being in the car so much since it probably bored him to death. But boy, he did love going for rides.

    He didn't care for rain much, or baths, for the matter. He would run outside and do his business in the rain and then run back under the soffit of the house where he was drier. When I'd bathe him he'd grump about having to sit with the medicated shampoo on. He learned to tolerate it but he never came to like it.

    Almost paradoxically, Sherm loved snow. One year we had a horrible blizzard and he ran through the drifts like a snowplow. He loved colder weather, it being easier for him to breathe. He also hated grass. Sherm was a little finicky in that regard. There were times he looked like an elephant trying to avoid a mouse the way he'd step over grass.

    He loved his bed with the bolster. Sherm was all about the comfort. He would get so excited when we put down a fresh bed for him, greeting it almost as if it were his birthright. If Custer made it into a bed before Sherman, he'd pitch a fit until Cus moved and Sherman could take over the bed. How did Sherm pitch a fit? He'd annoy me so much that when I got up to take him out, and thereby cause Custer to jump up out of the bed thinking he was going out, too, Sherm would casually stroll over and take his rightful place in the now-vacant bed.

    When Karen left her ex-husband, Sherm was her companion. She cried on him and he kept her company while she mourned the death of her marriage. In a sense, they both rescued each other, just at different times. I would often take his scrunched up little face in my hand and tell him that I loved him for taking care of Karen. I can only hope that he understood what I was saying. I surely hope he knew how much he was loved.

    Sherm was no guard dog. He liked to make it seem as if he were; when the doorbell rang, Sherm would jump up and bark ferociously at the door as if the Huns were on the other side. But when whoever it was was let in, Sherman (and Custer, to be fair) turned into the neighborhood welcoming committee fully intent on getting their tribute from the visitors.

    Last night Sherman seemed his old self: Tired but with a moment of the zoomies. I fed them late after getting home late myself and then petted them a bit before bed. Then I took them out to do their business and put them to bed.

    When I awoke Sherm wouldn't get up to go outside. No matter how much I prodded him he wouldn't move. He was breathing and alert, his nose was cold, but he wasn't moving. Then I noticed the pile of vomit right by his mouth in the bed. Sherm, being the persnickety sort he was, would never abide that if he were well. He'd sooner get out of bed and lie on the floor. It was obvious something was wrong. But Bulldogs are notorious for not alerting people that they're injured or hurting.

    I lifted him out of the bed and he had trouble standing. One time his right front leg buckled and his head was on the floor, almost as if he were drunk. He wouldn't walk at all and just stood there. I had to lift him outside to do his business and he wouldn't even squat to do it. It just came out of him.

    I called Karen, who was at the hospital for her mother, and we agreed that Sherm had to see the vet. We knew he was getting older and thought that perhaps he had some gastro issue that was making him lethargic. Sherm couldn't even walk to the car, so I had to carry him out there and load him in as gently as I could. I never thought this could be his last ride.

    We got to the vet's office and I carried him in. The vet himself wasn't there yet, so the technician called and it was decided to do blood work and have an X-ray done. Once that was done, Sherman stayed with me in the waiting room, lying on the floor as I rubbed him. I was concerned, but I can't say I worried. If anything, I wondered if I'd have to take off work to stay home with him and monitor him.

    The vet was gentle as he delivered the news. Sherm had a mass by his heart so big that it obscured partially seeing his heart on the X-ray. He also had a build-up of fluid that was adding to his discomfort. He didn't call it cancer; I had to ask him. I suppose people get overly emotional when they hear the term.

    The vet explained that we could take Sherm to a cardiologist but that this was probably just going to come back. He said that Sherm might die in a day or in two weeks; he couldn't tell.

    I called Karen and we both broke down. We'd discussed what it would be like when we got to this moment, but this moment came far more quickly than we anticipated. The humane thing was the right thing, but it was also the worst thing for us. We'd be losing the one thing that we'd had since we've been together, the one being that supported us unconditionally and loved us no matter what when others spurned us. We were about to lose our cantankerous old four-legged man, and there was nothing we or anyone else could do about it.

    We made the decision, sadly, to have him put down. The formalities had to be addressed -- cremation, burial, ashes -- and then it was time. The vet administered the sedative and Sherman was gone, forever.

    I insisted that I carry him to the back where they'd take care of his body. I'd brought him in, he was ours, I'd take him those final steps that he couldn't walk. I gently laid him down on the table and stroked his side, telling him I loved him and thanking him for all that he'd done for us, mostly for taking care of Karen during that hardest time in her life. Then I kissed his cheek and left.

    The vet told me we'd made a brave decision. I don't know how brave it was. It was the right decision, to be sure; Sherman didn't deserve to suffer any longer, and seeing him in that weakened, lethargic state was hard. Perhaps it was a cowardly decision, not wanting to watch him deteriorate at the expense of his life. But the quality of his life was diminishing, so it was the right decision for Sherman.

    I thought I could handle this better than I'm handling it, but I haven't been this inconsolable in years. In fact, I can only think of two such events that caused me this much grief. I keep looking at the pictures of him and Cus and realize that that little face that was always the first to greet me when I got home will never again greet me. The one that pawed the chair wanting to be petted, or the one who got all worked up when he knew he was going for a ride, is gone. The one who took care of my girl during the lowest and darkest recesses of her life isn't here to comfort her anymore.

    There will be those who say he was just a pet, an animal, and in part they're correct. But he was so much more to Karen and me that we now have a hole that no new pet will ever be able to fill. Just as with people, Sherman had his own personality that brought such joy and warmth to our lives. He's not even been gone twelve hours and I ache throughout my body. I go through weeping jags where I look like a five-year-old. I struggle to retain my composure when speaking to colleagues. In short, I'm a mess.

    If anyone wishes to scoff at this, that's his business. This is our life and this was our pet. We still have Custer and Bupkes and, probably, will welcome another pet to our home sometime in the future. But Sherman is the gold standard, the sin par, the best that ever was. We'll miss him terribly and remember him lovingly.

    I will always remember Sherman and smile.

    I just wish I had one more chance to brush him.

    Sherman-11947472_10153187373439370_698368219732341070_n-jpg-13043727_10153677916149370_4124702497193482963_n-jpg-shermanator-jpg
    -snoozin-jpg-sherm1-jpg-sherm2-jpg-sherm3-jpg
    -sherm4-jpg-24884_382080399369_190276_n-jpg-11058573_10153187372924370_7828708350942286953_o-jpg-11923593_10153187372694370_5244065867033558501_n-jpg



    Last edited by mcardle3; 01-10-2017 at 02:58 PM. Reason: typos!

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    Pooper scooper AdorabullHenry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sherman, that once in a lifetime dog

    This is so beautiful. I am so truly sorry for your loss, but it is great to see you living on through his memory. What you said reminded me so much of my Henry. It sounds like Sherman was just as blessed to have a loving family and you were to have his love. Thank you for sharing<3

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    Default Re: Sherman, that once in a lifetime dog

    Thanks for sharing - although the reason behind your husband's blog entry is so sad, it is a very beautiful and comforting text.


    Castor is on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/castorthebulldog/

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    Default Re: Sherman, that once in a lifetime dog

    I have no words, only tears streaming down my face. I know what Sherman was to you based off of your husbands blog post. I know it whole heartedly because that is what Tyson is to me. Tyson is also getting up there in age, I often ponder about how much time we have left together but I quickly distract myself and try to live in the moment. He's healthy, has no health issues, I am grateful for that.

    I am sending you prayers, and hugs - I am broken with you, but oh so thankful for the beautiful life you provided for him, and the love he received. I know that they will all be waiting for us one day when it's our time to go. Until then, rest in peace sweet Sherman, thank you for being you and for giving your family so much love.

    My whole heart, Tyson.
    Whoever said diamonds are a girls best friend, obviously never owned a Bulldog.

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    Texas Carol....put the heart in EBN Become a 4 Paw Member
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    Default Re: Sherman, that once in a lifetime dog

    Such deep love for Sherman and so beautifully expressed by both of you.

    He comes alive in your eloquent words, I see him clearly and love him too.

    Who could resist?


    My 1st bully, Brutus
    RIP beloved boy.

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    Default Re: Sherman, that once in a lifetime dog

    Everything you said was so beautifully expressed.

    As time heals all wounds, please consider loving another being again. Understandably, Sherman left a very big shoe to fill. It is all good. God Bless!
    Hug your bully today

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    Kennel Cleaner mcardle3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sherman, that once in a lifetime dog

    Quote Originally Posted by TyTysmom View Post
    I have no words, only tears streaming down my face. I know what Sherman was to you based off of your husbands blog post. I know it whole heartedly because that is what Tyson is to me. Tyson is also getting up there in age, I often ponder about how much time we have left together but I quickly distract myself and try to live in the moment. He's healthy, has no health issues, I am grateful for that.

    I am sending you prayers, and hugs - I am broken with you, but oh so thankful for the beautiful life you provided for him, and the love he received. I know that they will all be waiting for us one day when it's our time to go. Until then, rest in peace sweet Sherman, thank you for being you and for giving your family so much love.
    It is a hard thing to do, contemplate the end of a life that means so very much to you. We knew he was getting worse, we thought we were prepared for the eventuality...it came while my 81 year old mother was in the hospital after brain surgery! Poor Jim was there alone and had to do this without me.

    I look at the photos of Sherman above, read Jim's very real description of my boy...and it brings me peace. He was a rescue. He was a mess when he came to me. He was a foster failure...and how very happy I am that God planted him in my life...because more than anything, Sherman was a blessing.

    Squeeze Tyson hard tonight for me. WE have a new girl now...Maisie, who is struggling with fear issues. I'm hoping Sherman is here in some way whispering to her that once she lets go of the fear...she'll realize how much fun and love she will have here.
    "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
    -Dean Koontz


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    Kennel Cleaner mcardle3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sherman, that once in a lifetime dog

    Quote Originally Posted by harveyspecter View Post
    Everything you said was so beautifully expressed.

    As time heals all wounds, please consider loving another being again. Understandably, Sherman left a very big shoe to fill. It is all good. God Bless!
    Last month we took a little 5 year old girl into our home. She struggles with fear issues. Jumps at everything. We're working on it. We have Custer as well. Got him at 11 months old, is now an old man of 7. Perpetual puppy! He had been beaten so bad when we brought him home with us that it took us 3 years to get him over that. Maisie (new girl) will let go of some of that fear, I hope, like Custer. She was loved, the new environment is proving to be an issue for her. She does love Custer though (everyone does, he is a gentle clown with a heart of gold.)

    -15380817_10154267231874370_6795304161296875394_n-jpg Maisie is a cutie pie. -12823255_10153543909364370_2918240264085572_o-jpg Custer is our clown. -15672927_10154321677554370_6719293385058567303_n-jpg They love to spoon!
    "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
    -Dean Koontz


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    Default Re: Sherman, that once in a lifetime dog

    Your post brought me to tears... I'm SO very sorry for your loss. I too lost my beloved Roxie to cushings and cancer, she was a boxer and also 10 years old. I also had to take her in to be put to sleep... it was one of the hardest things that I had to do, but of course like you we had no other options.

    Many people here understand the depths of your grief, we have been there... and I do promise you this, it will get better w/time. Don't expect everyone to understand, because they won't and that's ok. Not all life lessons are for everyone, and we have been blessed and cursed to share our lives w/these precious angels that are only here for a short while.

    Sending you lots of hugs and prayers... we are here for you if you need us

    "What we once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." Helen Keller
    RIP Wellie, Bella, Winston & Roxie

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    Default Re: Sherman, that once in a lifetime dog

    Oh gosh, that made me cry. So beautiful and heartfelt and I understood all the feelings behind it. Your love for Sherman will carry through in your memories of him. Some days will be much harder than others as I am sure you know.

    Chumly was that dog for me. The funny thing was he preferred men to women but that didn't matter in the slightest. I loved him without measure. When Chumly's health was failing, I begged him to die peacefully in his sleep when it became time so that I wouldn't have to make that awful decision. Selfish, I know, but the thought was unbearable to me. He did that for me. It was sooner than I expected, he was his normal, happy self the day before, but it was his time. I still miss him terribly and he could never be replaced but, thank goodness, now have wonderful Monty to take up some of the hole in my heart. Hugs to you.
    Chumly 2002-2014 A gentle soul and the love of my life.

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    Default Re: Sherman, that once in a lifetime dog

    Another one who cried reading your post. I knew I would....It was such a wonderful tribute. I have had many dogs and loved them all-but there was one special one,that has never been replaced,and could not be. I am so sorry for your loss,but you are so lucky to have had that one special one. Some people never know that very "special" connection. You have certainly espressed it so well. @mcardle3
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    “It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough,all the components of my heart will be dog,and I will become as generous and loving as they are"

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    Default Re: Sherman, that once in a lifetime dog

    I have been down a similar road more times than I'd like to admit. You can rest assured that nobody could have loved and cared for Sherman any better. You did right by him by having the strength to let him go when the time came. It's all about quality of life and it appears his life was nothing but quality living thanks to you.

    It has always helped me get through times like this knowing that the departing of one means there's room for another...another to spoil as rotten as I'm able.
    Thanks for sharing Sherman's (and your) story. You'll get through this...it just takes time, sometimes lots of time.

    saving as many as we can for the sake of Bullykind

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