We had to put our dog Seeger down on Tuesday morning. He was 14.5 years old, possibly older since we got him as a rescue in September 2000 and didn’t really know how old he was. See a copy of our e-mail to friends from fall 2000 about the story of how we got him.
Seeger was a mixed breed dog, probably a lab, rottweiler mix though possibly some Newfoundland. He was listed in ‘Uncle Henry’s as a Newfoundland mix I suspect that’s what Uncle Henry’s lists any large black dog as. He was 90 lbs when we got him but over the years, and after his knees and hips started bothering him, he got up to 125lbs or so.
When we first brought him home he was crazy, running laps in the house, never slowing down. He was just so excited to not be tied outside to a tree and to be with people he just couldn’t relax. We finally kept him on a leash in the house just to keep him under control. We almost gave him away, listing him in Uncle Henry’s as ‘free to a good home’ but by the time the ad ran he had snuck into our hearts and we couldn’t let him go.
In fact when I would walk him and let him off the leash in the woods near our house he would run down the path ahead of me a few hundred feet and then turn around and come charging back at full speed and would run right into me. I cant imagine this wasn’t painful for him but he would get up and do it again. I got very good at bracing myself or dodging at the last moment 🙂
We tried to crate train him for a while but he HATED it. We’d put him in it at night and when we went to work but he’d just bark and bark and bark… and bark and bark and bark. We figured eventually he’d get over it and but he just really hated that crate. Finally one night I let him sleep on the living room floor. No barking. No chewed furniture, just a very happy dog sleeping quietly. So we tried leaving him alone in the house outside the crate. No problems at all. Hallelujah!
He also really disliked thunder. We suspect this was a symptom from him being chained outside to a tree for god knows how long before we got him. But as soon as there we thunder claps he’d started breathing faster and would come over close to us.
When we first brought him home he was very interested in the cats but eventually got used to them and pretty much ignored them. One of our ‘kittens’ we got in Maine, Marcus, even started walking over and nuzzelling Seeger in the morning.
When we brought home Oberon, our newfoundland puppy, in March 2001 Seeger was extremely happy we had brought him an interactive chew toy. No amount of trying to explain to him that this little 25lb puppy was going to (very soon) outweigh him and the two would rough house and roll around with each other for hours. As we expected. Oberon soon grew much bigger than him but they still would play together. They made a good pair, the big black lab mix and the excessively big Newfie.
Ironically, even though he was named after folk singer Pete Seeger he had a strong aversion to guitar or banjo. (Or maybe it was just Matt’s lack of skill on these instruments), but he would get up and leave as soon as either started making any noise.
He was a big sweet dog, very tolerant of having kids climb all over him. After his initial few months of craziness he eventually mellowed down to our speed and became a very calm and tolerant sweet dog. At one point a vet joked that he was so mellow they thought they could probably perform surgery on him without anesthetics.
Sometime a few years ago his knees and hips started becoming and issue and he slowed down. He couldn’t take long walks any more, he’d just wait while I took Oberon ahead. But he hung in there and even started climbing the stairs at night to sleep by our bed. This was no small feat for a large dog with knee & hip problems, it was a huff and puff for 10 seconds. He kept up this pattern of coming up to our bed until his last days, which was very sweet especially considering the effort it involved on his part.
He was our first dog and it’s hard to realize he’s not lying on the floor nearby anymore. While he hasn’t been ‘active’ for years he was always nearby. We were lucky to have him and he will be sorely missed.
This video was from 2002 or so, Oberon is still a bit ‘puppy-ish’ in it but you get the idea of what he and Seeger were like together. The song in it, “He’s a Good Dog’ is by Fred Eaglesmith.
Finally, for the record here’s probably way more photos than anyone but us would care to look at of Seeger.