Well, we knew the day would come when we would outlive our hound. And it has happened. A couple of days ago, Guiseppe (who is at home in San Diego) slipped a disc/some discs in his back. This is a problem among elderly bassets and we had it happen with our other basset, Tank. Turns out 50+ pounds of dog on 3 inches of leg is bad for the back.

Once their discs slip, they can have a costly surgery with shady results (and Guiseppe was already considered quite geriatric), or they can be carried to and fro, or they can be fitted for some bizarre sling that still does not allow them to easily go to the bathroom on their own. We are firm in our belief that a dog’s life is meant to be running around, barking and smelling things. Our Guiseppe was no longer able to do these things with joy. And so we made the difficult decision to have him put to sleep.

Guiseppe lived longer than 10 years, which is quite good for a dog of his breed. He was mine and Mark’s first dog together, and he was my first dog after my mom died, and quite frankly, my first dog as an adult. (My childhood dog, Deedee lived for an astounding 18 years and died shortly after my mom did–apparently they belonged together.) Guiseppe was truly my companion. We brought him with us to Bulgaria because we are realists and we knew that he did not have many years left. The last year I spent with him was by far the best year. We hung out day after day and I will admit to having one-sided conversations with him.

When Mark told me that Guiseppe could no longer walk by himself, nor lift his back legs at all, I knew what had to be done. But that did not stop my tears. I cried most of last night and a bit today, even now as I write this. I am currently working on about two hours of sleep with very puffy eyes. Last night we lit a candle and recounted all our favorite Guiseppe stories. We loved him very much and we will miss him everyday. We have already planned to put his ashes under a jacaranda tree at our house in San Diego.
Luckily, I spent a good deal of time with him this year and I have pictures to show for it. And so I offer you these memories of the last year of our dog’s life:


His famous prance on the beach in S.D.


Even closer.


And true to himself, once he comes near and seems all lovey, he turns and walks the other way. Such a tease.


This was how he slept right next to me every night. He loved his leopard print blanket. He was so into luxury….


How can you not love those eyes? That face?


In his winter garb, when we had no heat.


Like me, he was a lizard, finding the one sliver of sun to warm up in.


His G.Q. pose.


This was his way of making us choose between working on the computer or petting him. He usually won out.

So, now you can see why we loved him so much! We are lucky he lived so long and we had the opportunity to spend so much quality time with him in the past year. Undoubtedly he and Tank have met up in doggie heaven and are howling their little hearts out….