Several months ago I bought the movie “The Bucket List” - starring Jack Nickolson and Morgan Freeman. Anything with these 2 awesome actors had to be incredible to say the least - it was a no brainer to buy it to have forever. I have no idea why - but I never got around to even opening the DVD, until today.
A little over a year ago my 12.5 year old golden had a small lump on his jowl. Since he looked and acted like a youngster I thought maybe we needed to take this off - which his vet agreed 110%. Bloodwork looked good but we felt we may wish to do an Xray just to check before any surgery.
We were both amazed to see a large mass which we could not tell was on his liver or his spleen. An US also could not distinguish what it was attached to. After in depth discussion, it was decided that it was worth the risk to do exploratory surgery - hoping that the mass would be on the spleen and we could just remove it and hope for the best. Surgery proved us wrong and it was on liver and the mass (which was the size of a grapefruit) appeared to be hemangio. I was right there and could not believe the size of it and especially since the dog had showed no signs of illness, pain or discomfort. He was immediately closed and sent home with the hopes that he would heal quickly so he could go back to doing the 2 most favorite things in life - eating and swimmingJ
That surgery was 13 months ago. The last 12 months 3 weeks and 5 days have been exactly what anyone could have ever asked for. He was happy, wild, silly, fun, ate like a horse, played like a banshee from hell, and swam every single chance he got!!! Looked and acted like a youngster and even came back out to show at the Everglades GR Specialty and the FGCGRC B Match where he won his 12+ veteran classes - and he had not seen a ring in over 11 years. No one told him he was sick -no one told him he wasn’t a show dog anymore - no one told him he couldn’t do things………..we all knew better!
Amberwood’s Tazmanian Devil was purchased from Robin Donahey as a pet for our family. Little did she, he or we know what this silly little blonde boy would do to our lives. He introduced us to AKC events, Golden Retriever clubs - and became a Junior Showmanship dog for my daughter Haley. One of their first shows was the GRCA National Specialty in St Louis in 1997. Haley and Taz took off like wildfire in Jrs and we dove head first into Goldens. Funny how things work? Taz retired from Juniors in 1999 and became the “spoiled rotten prince” around the house as the younger ones came in over the years.
A golden friend was at the house on Thurs and watched in laughter as Taz 13.5, Comet almost 11, and Larson almost 8 played who is king of the couch all over our greatroom. I finally had to go out and wave my arms to stop the insanity before someone got hurt. It will be THIS memory that I will choose to forever stamp in my head and not anything else.
Late Friday evening, Taz did crash on me. As typical as he was - he went from being his normal wild self to laying still, irregular panting, and gums blue. He was very comfortable and calm throughout the night with no pain and no alarming symptoms. When I could get past Comet and Larson - who hogged their best buddie, I was able to lie with him. At 5:45am we made our journey to Dr Brimacomb’s for collection of blood and to say “Good-Bye”.
Taz never gave up - his eyes remained bright and happy. The end of his tail wagged and his larger than life personality held strong until he left this world. Blood and tissue will be used in the GR study. I am thankful that he could give something back to our breed.
His love - Haley was out of state in Va and I know he missed her. I know he also understood. However, all she wanted was to be back here with him - but that was not meant to be. He was “her first” and it will be a long time before those wounds heal.
Tonight I opened that DVD “ The Bucket List” and watched one of the best movies I think I’ve seen in a long time. It’s about what you would do and what would want to accomplish if you knew you only had so much time to live. It hit home - and I laughed out loud, I got all mushy, and I cried “hard “and it made me realize that Taz lived his life according to The Bucket List. He accomplished all he ever wanted and needed in his life and lived it well and full. There should be no regrets and no what ifs……..he definitely covered all the bases before his time was through.
My friend, my buddie, my little wild ass Taz-Man - Goodbye for now. I know you lived your life full throttle with NO regrets and I could not have asked for anything more. Thank you to Robin Donahey who took a chance on a silly family with 2 small girls that drove you crazy every weekend wanting to come see their new to be puppy - I understand how “bad” we were nowJ
Watch “The Bucket List” - and laugh, get mushy, cry and learn from it. Life is short - in people or dog years.
Tell Rusty and Jag we said hello Taz and the 3 of you play ……..Until we meet again. Love you!
Amberwood’s Tazmanian Devil
January 31, 1995 - August 2, 2008