Tuesday, October 9, 2007

About my absence last week...

It is with disbelief and a very heavy heart that I write our 11 month old Great Dane puppy, Hanz, passed away inexplicably Wednesday night. [Left: 4 months]

I was so excited to have gotten Loren and I reservations at the first P.F. Changs in our area; we were gone for only two and a half hours and came home to find him dead in his cage. Hanz was a completely healthy and “normal” puppy; he had bounded up the stairs and into his cage when we left. There were no signs anything was wrong. [Right: 10 months]

We had a vet perform a necropsy, but frustratingly, he could give us no medical closure. His airways and exits were not blocked, his heart and lungs looked normal, he had consumed no traceable toxin, nor had he hit his head with the force to cause a fatality. Heart problems are common in such large breeds, but the examination was not performed in time to determine if he had a heart attack. Other possibilities could be an aneurism or fatal spider bite… The only solace the vet could give us was that it wasn’t anything we did, or didn’t do. Also, it wouldn’t have mattered if we were home or not, because it seemed to happen suddenly and we probably couldn’t have gotten him to a vet in time, nor could they have likely done anything. [Left: 2 months]

Since getting Hanz last December I have participated in an online community of Dane owners from around the world; a few of them have shared their unfortunate stories that sudden death in young Danes in not uncommon. These are such lean and active dogs that I have likened it to high school and college athletes who fall to heart conditions unexpectedly. One woman shared that she was playing with her dog and it died suddenly right in front of her; I suppose that would be even harder to deal with. [Right: 10 months]

Loren had two dogs when I met him nearly four years ago, but Hanz was my first puppy. In terms of animals, I had only ever lost barn cats and beta fish, and my last immediate family member passed when I was in fifth grade… So I suppose it makes some sense that I am taking this incredibly hard, yet it is so much worse than I could have ever imagined. A few years ago I would have rolled my eyes at the person who had an autopsy on their deceased pet, but now I get it. Our world has revolved around Hanz since December; when I was at home, he was by my side and when I was gone I had to count the hours to ensure I let him out again in time. I feel completely incapacitated with grief, yet I can not believe he is really gone. He was absolutely fine and not even a year old! [Left: 3 months]

Hanz was such a good puppy; the only troubles were a long potty training process and separation anxiety which lead to bent bars on his cage. He was so obedient and sweet, with the most lovable personality you could imagine. Nevermind that he would have gotten to 130+ pounds, he thought he was a lap dog! I credit Loren and I for training and disciplining him well. He attended puppy kindergarten and I took him with me to everywhere that would allow him. It is so maddening that the people next door have an old diseased mutt living in an outdoor kennel year round, but we lose our healthy, loved, young dog for no apparent reason. Then there's the mayor of Toledo who had to do a p.s.a. about not leaving your dog in a hot car, after being busted for doing just that... I suppose those last comments are because there’s nowhere to place blame and anger. There’s only heartache. [Right: 10 months]

Of course the breeder maintains that their dogs have no genetic problems, nor have they gotten reports of similar situations. Loren spoke with her and said she was genuinely saddened and surprised. She offered us a new puppy, but I have mixed feeligns about that. The people on the Dane message boards say a new puppy does help heal the heart and would once again liven the spirits of our nine year old Dane, Niki. I feel like there has to be a certain amount of time, I guess out of respect, for lack of a better word, for Hanz. What that certain time is though, I don’t know. I’m sure Loren and I will just know. The breeder’s next litter would be “ready” in six or seven weeks… even if Loren and I are ready then, I don’t know that I want to go through the hassle of the holidays with a puppy again this year, or if I even want to get a dog from the same people. [Left: 2 months]

I just can’t believe he’s gone, it just doesn’t seem possible. It’s not even that I miss him yet… it’s that I can’t fathom this reality. Over the past few days when I have had to be out, I have concentrated so hard on not crying in public that the situation becomes surreal to me, but then I come home to only Niki, who still seems to think we’re going to bring Hanz back though the door with us. [Right: 4 months]

Honestly, I have thought the last year has been a little too good to be true. I finally graduated, and then got a really great job, and things are wonderful with Loren. Between getting in a car accident and breaking my collar bone in July and now this, it feels like life has evened itself out. Not to mention this has just been a bad week. Two of Loren's coworkers lost loved ones, a stylist at our salon passed away, and you may have heard Jane Seymour lost her mother, but still danced with the stars. So anyway, that why I missed several days of blogging last week… Nothing seemed too important, least of all pageants. I know some of my readers won’t get it, especially in comparison to human loss and human strife. A few years ago I wouldn’t have gotten it either, but now I do all too well... [Left: 10 months]


  1. Abby,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I know what it feels like to loose a trusted companion. We lost 2 of our dogs this summer just 8 weeks apart. One had brain cancer and the other developed an infection from inhaling a grass seed. It was and still is hard to believe they are gone, but time does heal. We had our babies cremated and they are now in our flower garden. That may seem morbid to some but I find comfort in knowing they are near. They were the best pets and we miss them very much. I hope that you find solace in your memories and when it is time to get a new pet you will know. We still have not replaced ours. I am not ready, however we still have our 3 other dogs. Erin took one with her and you might remember Coconut from Miss Ohio. He goes everywhere with me. If you need to talk just call, I know how you feel and it is OK. Our pets are our family. My number is 513-367-2399 if you need to talk. You and Loren are in our prayers.


  2. My baby passed in march suddenly as well. I know how hard it can be. It also depressed our other dogs enough to make them physically ill. We did get a new puppy and although she will never replace our angel she loves us and appreciates us just like our Minnie did. Get another puppy. Not only will she make you happy and your other dog happy but you'll be able to give one more dog a chance to have a loving family. My heart goes out to you. Dogs are like children and they are a piece of your heart. Your in my thoughts.

  3. Abby,
    I am so sorry to hear this. I have always been one of those people who takes losses of animals very hard, and I even missed school in high school and junior high when our dogs were put down. My cat, Smokey, ran away for three weeks at the beginning of September and I couldn't even call my mom for fear of hearing 'He's on the road..gone'.

    This is such a hard thing to go through, and at times, people will never understand our reactions to loss (or in my case, physical pain in health) and you just have to take time for yourself to recover. Again, so sorry to hear this, and I know your puppy will be greatly missed. If there is anything I can do, let me know.

  4. Hey, Abby! I am sorry to hear about your puppy! I know that it is like losing a family member. This summer I lost 8 loved ones in a month and it was just too much to process and I think I am just now really grieving. It has been very difficult; right in the middle of doing something I will start thinking of them, especially my father-in-law and a close friend and just break down and cry. I just have to believe they are in a much better place and not suffering anymore.
    Try to have a great week! ;)
    Love and hugs,

  5. I completely understand and am very sorry for your loss.

  6. Abby, I am so sorry for you and Loren and what you are having to deal with. I am sure it is devasting. Although Hanz was MUCH bigger than my litttle 20 lbs. dog, I certainly feel for you. When the time is right I am sure you will enjoy another puppy. A comforting hug to both of you. Lexy Lux

  7. Hi everyone,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appriciate all of your comments and support.


  8. Abby,

    I am so sorry to hear that Hanz has passed. I will sure miss him and his whipping tale when I come over. I hope you three are doing well!


  9. Abby,
    I'm so sorry to hear this. I have a love for animals of all kinds. I know what your going through. My cat Frisky (whom I had had for 10 years and she was my best friend) had to be put down the day before my senior prom and the same day that I was in a performance. It was so hard to perform that night and go to the prom the next day and have a good time. When one loses an animal, it's almost like losing a close relative or even a brother or sister. I'm an only child so I've always been very attached to my animals.

    I hope you feel better very soon. I know it's hard. There's no remedy but time itself. Time heals all things. It's a bit of a cliche but true. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    P.S. Try to think of all the fun things and all of the cute things he used to do. It might make you laugh a little, and laughing makes me feel better. Hopefully it will do the same for you. =)


  10. We are so very sorry to hear about your loss. Being animal lovers we understand all too well what you are going through. Elizabeth & Patti Bauer

  11. I'm so sorry for your loss Abby. I know how devastating the loss of a pet can be. I had my first puppy for only a week and he died and it was very hard to get through.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you!

  12. Abby,
    I am so sorry to hear that your beautiful Hanz died. We are thinking of you!
    Thanks for your dedication to
    MISScellanea. I really enjoy reading it.
    Christy Wilson


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