Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's Been A Year Today - Henley the Great Dane

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.
You are his life, his love, and his leader. He will be yours,
faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.
You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."

-- Unknown

He was all of that and more to the very last heartbeat one year ago today, as we spared him cancer's clawing and ripping at the expense of our own hearts being rent in two. We could have held onto him a few more days, maybe weeks. We could have maimed him and kept him a few months longer. But with everything Henley gave us - the unselfish love he poured into our hearts over seven years - the thought of him in pain meant parting way before we were ready to.

Great Danes don't live as long as other dogs anyway, and we knew that. We knew that sooner rather than later we'd lose him. But as every year past, we pushed reality out a little farther. We nursed him through a sickness earlier last year that had one of the vets giving up on him. Bringing him home, we fed him rice and chicken by the spoonful, slept on the floor beside him for five nights, carried him outside using a towel under his waist to help him stand when he was so, so weak. And he came back to us. We had another four months of joy until the lump on his back leg kept growing. Cancer. It riddled the bone to the point that the next step he made could have broken the leg and plunged him into pain. We laid on the floor again with him at the Vet's office as he closed his eyes for the last time in this world.

One year ago today.

He was the very best dog we have ever known. Henley the Great Dane affected us in ways few creatures that have ever lived on this earth have. Even now, one year later, not a day goes by that we don't miss him fiercely, and tears are not an infrequent sight on Bunny or my face.

He was awesome. I'm praying with all my heart that I will see him again someday.


  1. Beautiful. I looked at the photos and though of my Sasha. She is part lab abn part great dane. Of course she is black with the tuxedo chest. My girl is almost 2 but like you I learned she won't live as long as my other 2. That just means I have to cram that much more love into the 7 or so years she will be with me. I sometimes refer to her as the "Beast" but she is well loved. Just too much puppy for me to handle at her 87 poounds, but we are getting to an understanding. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thinking of you ... & as I told Bunny at her end, I thought of you guys when I posted today.