Farewell, sweet Newman

months of frustration
turns into gripping sadness
we love you Newman

We put our dog to sleep today. We knew it was coming, it had been for a long time. But it’s still terribly sad. Even with months of constantly being irritated by his funky smell and his bad ears and the billions of dollars we had to spend on raw organic dog food, the sadness is still overwhelming. And even though we all know – even the wee one – that Newman was in pain and that the kindest thing we could do for him was to let him go, it doesn’t stop us from bursting into tears every time we walk past his bed or hear the jingle of his leash being put into the hall closet.

Newman was 11. My husband and I got him from the pound when we were in college. He was our commitment that we would stay together forever. At the time, I don’t think we really looked at it like that, we just wanted to get a dog. But I think deep down inside we knew that buying a dog together was way more serious than even living together. We had a breathing creature who depended on us to survive – both of us. We had to share the costs of buying him and neutering him; we had to decide which vet was best, what medicines to give him when he was sick; we had to choose how he would be trained and what his "rules" would be. In a way, Newman not only trained us to be parents, he trained us to be partners. We learned to give and take, to compromise, to worry, to feel a shared love outside of ourselves.

Of course, taking him down three flights of stairs in the middle of the night, during a freezing rainstorm, in funky town Baltimore, so that he could pee for the millionth time that night wasn’t the most fun thing to do in the world, but we did it because we loved him.

The best part, though, was when we got out of class and off of work. We tossed Newman in the car and he smacked his lips and fretted all the way to the park, but then shot out of the car for leashless fun with a ball and a lake. Those were some of the best afternoons my future husband and I spent. We planned our life together as Newman frolicked with other puppies. While Newman chased his ball into the water and swam back with it we made the decision to move back to Austin and for me to graduate from UT. We talked about getting married and having kids and how in the world we would afford to do anything as an art history major and a painting major.

Newman was with us when we got married. He stayed at my parent’s house during our honeymoon. Then, three years later when the wee one was born, one of our biggest concerns once we saw our new son was getting a blanket from his isolette and having someone bring it home for Newman to sniff.

by the time the wee-er one was born, though, Newman’s health had taken a huge turn. He had constant allergies that couldn’t be fixed with medication. For short periods of time a cocktail of steroids and antibiotics and pain pills would make him feel better, but then a few weeks later he’d be sick again. The vet suggested ablation for his ears – completely sewing them shut. But even then, his allergies wouldn’t be cured. So we put him on a no grain, pure raw meat diet to see if that would help. It didn’t. Then we found out he had a tumor in his belly, and fourteen cysts throughout his body.

So we let him go today. And we’re so, so sad. But we know he’s no longer in pain, so there’s some solace in that.

We love you, Newman.

We miss you dude.


10 thoughts on “Farewell, sweet Newman

  1. I remember when the Wee One was born and we went down to see him for the first time. It seemed like every couple of hours I would leave the cool, shaded apartment to take Newman for a walk. In the seering Austin summer heat. Past the millions of buzzing, hissing locusts (or whatever they were). Followed by an endless game of fetch with his tennis ball.
    He was a great dog; a great part of your family.
    He will be missed.
    Our best to y’all.


  2. Good old New Man will be missed. Of all the things you can say about our canine friends it’s: He was a good dog.
    And he’ll be waiting for you on the other side of the rainbow bridge someday.


  3. He really was a good dog, that Newman. Always gentle and well-behaved, even when riddled with allergies. We’ll miss him too.
    He gave us some good laughs . . . like when Gus had to have all those burrs taken off his coat after every walk in the boonies of Buda, and then Newman would come over and eat the pile of burrs. Or anytime we saw him the car, smacking his lips and perched ever so carefully on the edge of his seat – backwards in the hot sun, the whole way.
    We have a spot on our carpet to remember you by, Newman. You were a sweet boy. I hope you are fetching endless tennis balls now in doggie heaven.


  4. oh my goodness that brought a tear to my eye. im so sorry! but newman was old and you gave him a good, long life filled with expensive dog food and wee ones to play with. i have to say that i had an allergy attack the other day, and i wished somebody would put me to sleep i was so miserable, so im SURE your old dog was exhausted and grateful to finally be relieved. and he knew you loved him.


  5. I am very sorry. We had a similar situation last Summer with our Sammy who was also 11. The book DOG HEAVEN by Cynthia Rylant brought and still brings solace to our wee one.


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