Merlin - My German Shepherd Soul Dog
Merlin, our gorgeous and loyal 14 year old German Shepherd best friend has been gone 30 hours at this point and I haven't stopped crying. I feel like I never will. I am devastated beyond words. The emptiness and loneliness are brutal.
I know he loved me as much I loved him; heart and soul. I slept with his collar in my hand last night and have it around my arm as I type this. Hearing the tags jingle as if the collar is on his neck is music to my ears.
We got him at 8 weeks old and weren't supposed to keep him as we were to be his foster parents for a year. He was from a very well known seeing eye guide dog school in the Northeast that breeds, trains and places German Shepherds with the seeing impaired. We even got to name him with a name that started with an "M" for his litter designation. I thought long and hard for a great name befitting such a magnificent creature, and Merlin it was. I so love his name.
At a year old he was evaluated and it was determined he didn't meet the long list of criteria to be a guide dog. After evaluation by the police, they determined he was not aggressive enough to be a police dog. So, he became ours and that was one of the happiest days of my life. He was perfect for us. And the love affair between dog and mommy and daddy human parents began.
Everyone who met Merlin loved him. His name was always a huge hit. He was black and tan and coated. His long fur was so beautiful and his feathers were something else. He was also a big boy, always protected his mommy, was great company, was loyal and used to look at me with such love in his eyes. He just loved to stare at me. That was his true calling and official job, as GSDs need a job.
About two years ago he started having difficulties walking with his back legs. His paws started to make a shuffling sound, and things worsened. With chiropractic adjustments we kept him going a long time but the tough Northeast winter this year was too much. It was hard for him to walk around the house in all the snow and ice. The use or lose it scenario came into play. We just couldn't keep him walking and eventually he couldn't walk.
Due to his good breeding - Pure German bloodline age from Bavaria, Germany - he did not have hip displasia and he tested negative for DM. So it's maddening as we just don't know what was wrong. Maybe nerve problems in his spine. We ended up getting acupuncture, PEMF treatments, and physical therapy. We wish we had heard of all these options sooner because perhaps that would have made a difference and we would have gained him some mobility.
Saturday night I told him if he wanted to go he could do that because I sensed he was hanging in there for us. I have heard German Shepherds will stay for their loved ones, which isn't fair to them in the end. I think he had enough of all the treatments we were trying. Sunday he showed us what he wanted and we did what we had to do.
The picture is of Merlin when he was younger, but he looked like this at 14.. He had only a very small amount of grey under his chin. That made it harder because he looked so young. He loved to sit on this big boulder in our yard which we dubbed "Merlin's Rock."
I hope he knows how very much we loved him and did everything we could think of for him throughout his entire life. Our house is no longer a home. The emptiness is profound. I have to believe we will meet again on the other side or I will lose my mind. I will never have another dog like him because a soul dog comes once in a lifetime, and that he was!
We hope everyone who has posted about their dogs on this site finds peace via their beautiful memories. Thank you for this site. I also started a daily journal to write to Merlin because I want to speak to him this way and to jot down all my memories from our 14 years together. Maybe others will find this helpful.
Merlin, we love you to the moon and back and will think about you every day for the rest of our lives. Looking forward to seeing you in Heaven,
Love, your mommy and daddy