Losing Henry

Henry changed our lives. I know it was time but I still regret letting him go. Now 14, a brain tumor had all but eliminated any joy in his life.

Our last few years together were hard. Slowly our amazing once-in-a-lifetime dog began leaving us.

Henry had been my dog but so much of his care fell to my wonderful wife since I was so often on the road for work. It was an incredible amount of work too. As if I didn’t already owe her so much, I could never thank her enough.

What Henry should have had was 10, 000 sheep. But his life went another direction. We adopted this crazy border collie from the Birmingham Humane Society shortly before he turned one.

He’d been abandoned there twice. Being naive we didn’t recognize what were getting into. It was a learning experience for all three of us. Henry was lucky we lived where we could walk and walk we did.

I’m sure my wife walked him well over 8 thousand miles. He was walked at least three times a day 365 days a year. And the early, usually pre-sunrise, walk was near 3 miles. He kept us in shape.

He loved to ride in my 66 mustang. He loved Blue Bell Ice Cream. He loved going to George Ward Park to play disc golf. He was the canine Mayor of George Ward.

He was…

45 pounds of Sagacious, Steadfast Courage.

Big hearted, Stern and commanding.

Brilliant and didn’t suffer fools lightly.
Generous and calming with lesser dogs (and people)
An enemy of chaos.
Cat hating-water loving, hard working, ice-cream worshiping, highly observant but rarely playful.
Contemptuous of stupid commands.
Self aware reasoning and strategic
Protective and patient and absolutely the most handsome dignified dog ever.

Our deepest thanks to Dr. Arthur Serwitz and his great staff at Riverview Animal Clinic for the great care over the years. Especially for Dr. Serwitz kindness and compassion yesterday as he came to our house to help with Henry and ease his way. There aren’t words enough…

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23 thoughts on “Losing Henry

  1. Art, I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry for your loss, but honestly, I’m sorry for my loss, too. Despite never meeting Henry, you surely know that I had a fondness of your Facebooking journaling of Henry happenings. As you mourn the passing of your friend, know that he brought joy to others many miles away, as well. Thanks for sharing…farewell, Henry.

  2. I am so sorry for Barbara’s and your loss Art. Take good care of each other and that special girl in your lives. I pray the three of you find consolation in one another and in his spirit still living within you. All my love, Paul

  3. Art, I wish I had the proper words. But there are none adequate for the loss of such a companion. What joy they bring us. What love they leave with us. I’m thinking of you. Wanda

    • Art, Paul said it more eloquently, but yes, there’s a huge void after a beloved companion dies, which I well remember. Go ahead and cry, but don’t forget to share Henry stories with each other, which should stanch the tears and start the smiles.

    • Art, you and Barbara are not crying alone. Sue Falls and I were online yesterday reading this about the same time – she directed me to this; but I was already here…she said she couldn’t stop crying because she could “feel” how much you guys loved Henry. I was doing the same. Like a wise child once said, “I know why dogs don’t live as long as people – they already know how to be kind and love everyone…people take longer to learn how.”

  4. Art I am sorry to read this, Henry was so special. I did not think I could possibly love another picture more than the car picture but the ice cream truck made me laugh out loud through my tears.

  5. Damn, Art. I’m so sad to hear this. Henry was surely one of the coolest dogs to roam this planet. I know Christi and I conspired almost nightly of a way to dog-nap him! I went through something eerily similar a few years ago with my 15 year old shepherd, and it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It will eventually get easier and the memories and stories are something you’ll have forever.

    Thinking of you, my friend.

  6. Henry is a part of all of us who have been graced by his antics, his zest for life, and his love for his humans. Thank you so much for sharing him with us. He lives with us always. Sadness for your loss and celebration for the love you all shared.

  7. Sorry for your loss. What a lucky dog and lucky owners. Love the photos of Henry — especially the one of him and the kids in line for the ice cream truck. Our Lucy the lab also was returned twice to a shelter before we adopted her. She made it to age 13 before a brain tumor made her life unbearable. We will take Hershey on a long walk in honor of Henry.

  8. Art, I never had the pleasure of meeting Henry in person, but I have fallen in love with his beauty and grace through your amazing photos. You absolutely rescued Henry and he returned the favor. And when the time came you did exactly what you should do, as difficult as it was. Henry’s memory will forever be preserved through your photos; thanks for sharing him with us. Comfort and peace to you, Barbara and Annie.

  9. awww! awesome pix! what a sweetie pie. Wish i could have gotten to know him when i was in Bham.
    Time helps but you’ll never forget your trusty companion. They are our teachers for sure…

  10. Art, I am so sorry for your loss f Henry. I enjoyed all the pictures and commentary your would add. My sympathy goes outo you and your family. i understand how difficult it is to lose an animal you love so dearly. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time of mourning for your trusted frien.

  11. Oh, I’m so sad to read this! What a tremendous loss, but you obviously gained so much. He was a very special dog – surely, a result of the love of his amazing human parents. The sheep would have been very boring compared to what he had!

  12. What a great tribute to your friend! And what a handsome fellow he was! I have 3 beautiful Border Collies in my life, and you have just described them to a “t”. As my girls are 9 now, I am beginning to dread the same ordeal through which you just went.

    After this, I could never have a stupid dog. They’re as close to human as it gets (except nicer).

    Condolences on your loss.

  13. Oh, Art! My heart hurts for you and Barbara. I know how much you loved him, and what a special dog he was. I loved seeing your photos of him, because you have that special gift for capturing the essence of someone or something. I could feel your love through each photo. I’m going to take Riba, our rescue pup, on a walk in honor of Henry, too.

  14. He was beautiful, as is your storytelling and captivating images. Thank you for sharing his life with us. I’ll give my crazy Day-z rescue pup an extra hug in his memory and to honor you my friend.

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