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June 07, 2010

Cassady, incredibly loved dog of Richard & Cynthia...

left this world and the pain of her rapidly declining health on Tuesday, April 13, 2010, about 8pm EST. We can't describe the grief we feel at her loss after 15 years of life with her. She was about 18 years old after coming to us from Julie, and before that, Glenn, who we became acquainted with just a few days ago thanks to the marvels of and Google. We can't begin to tell you how much we miss her.

Here is a short summary/biography, of Cassady's life, as dictated to me, by her, for Glenn and Julie, a few days ago:

I write you about our very old and mutual friend who is not doing so well. If she was four on coming to us from you then on April 14, 2010, she will be 19 years old and beginning her 20th year. For her weight that is about 110+ years in human terms.

She went for her last "run" in January of 2009. It was across the street on the athletic field. Maybe 50 yards. But then it was evening and we were on our way back home where you-know- who was making dinner. Late January of this year she began have problems walking and standing because of failing back legs. Its almost always this way with dogs. That almost never reverses, especially for a dog her age. It didn't get better. Then in March she somehow acquired a urinary and intestinal tract infection. Antibiotics actually solved the problem superficially in 24 hours. But two weeks of a very powerful drug was also hard on her.

While she is currently alert and even follows my "lie down" command--which means putting her head on the floor, she can't stand or walk. I don't think she will recover from that. She has stopped eating and doesn't drink enough. But I'm forcing, regularly, small amounts of water and broth into her mouth. She resists but I'm still much stronger. She has bitten me a couple of times. She wants things done her way! Both Cynthia and I sat with her for several hours Saturday evening (its now 1:33am EST) and had some long hard crying together.

She was a beautiful, wonderful, loyal dog. The bestest dog that anyone ever had. Her life consisted of me, Cynthia, and food, and its not clear that I am first on that list. EVERYBODY got barked at, scrutinized, and vetted when they entered our home. There were NO exceptions to that--she even barked at you, although I thought she backed off very quickly when she got a good sniff of you. She had no dog friends, ever, in her life, that we know of. She had no toys, fetched no balls or anything else. There was just the short list mentioned above. No walk at Fresh Pond could be too short. She had business there but wanted to return home ASAP. She and I had many walks there for about four years. I didn't take her on really hot days, and some days we took less than full walks around. She knew where the half-way point was regardless of which direction we went (I reverse the direction of my walk every day, including today--clockwise today, counter-clockwise yesterday). She always walked behind me, hoping to get me to turn around and go home--till we got to the halfway point, whereupon she went ahead of me and would be regularly looking back as if telling me to speed it up, buster! When Cynthia and I would go out for walks and got separated (with me always lagging behind to look at and photograph something), Cassady would try to stay halfway between us.

There was the incident with the bird calls, the very first Friday night we brought her home. It was a Nova or Nature program about birds. Cassady walked all around the tv, ears perked up, trying to see where the sound of those birds was coming from. Another time, when we lived near Porter Square, we were out for an early morning walk and came across a three inch long, half-inch in diameter, bright green caterpillar. She jumped back a bit, took a big breath as though startled, and raised her ears straight up as though those furry, floppy ears were made to stand up. There were encounters with lots of dogs, attempts to catch rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks at Fresh Pond (and one incident where she furiously tried to dig out a large den of mice she found by smell), including an encounter with a large groundhog. There's a photo in the Fresh Pond archive of her chasing that ground hog, then gracefully retreating when it encountered a fence, had no further retreat, and turned to confront her.

As you might imagine, there are a lot more stories from the last 15+ years. There's a book with these and many other stories, in the works, including many photographs.

Here are some favorite photos of Cassady:

All Cassady photos:

Cassady video:

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