UPDATE: The vet was able to determine Truth had a mass on her spleen that ruptured. She also had suspicious spots on her liver the vet believed to be cancerous. No intervention would have prevented the outcome. Sharon is relieved to know there was nothing she missed or nothing she could have done to prevent this...but is still missing little Miss Truthietoes tonight.
This afternoon, I received a call from Sharon to let me know that Chelsie's very best dog freind in the whole wide dog world, Truth Ann Schmidt, left us today. It is unclear as to what happened - she was ill last month with what appaeared to be the doggie flu, but seemed to recover and be back to her old self (and her antics). This morning, Sharon left for work as usual and got a call from Larry about 11 30 to say Truth was panting and had collapsed. She passed shortly after that.
Truth was Sharon's second guide dog and her second golden. Her first golden Sheridan had cancer, and never made it to retirement. Although the decision to retire Truth was difficult, Sharon was adamant that Truth would have a few good retirement years.
I met Sharon when Chelsie was just over a year old and Truth was about to turn three (she would have been 11 on March 10) The weather had been miserable and on this particular day, it had broken enough that I took Chelsie out. I remember seeing someone walking a golden and thinking to myself....if God loves me, that lady will bring that dog over here and she will play with Chelsie. Sharon called out in my direction and asked if I minded if she let her dog off leash. I said no and walked that way. When I got to her and saw the harness on her shoulder, I asked her how she knew where I was. She said that she heard the dog tags to her right and figured that whoever was with her was that direction. That was eight years ago this month.
We had not seen them in awhile...Forsythe is a 2 year old male that has lots of energy after a long day of resting like a good guide should at work. With Chelsie's knee still very much in the healing process, I thought it too risky to take her over there, so it had been months since the 2 saw each other. Sharon moved into her new house in anticipation of a bigger house and a bigger yard for 2 dogs.
Chelsie and Truth were very special friends. We only ever had to separate them once...and they really were not playing that hard. Chelsie always had to walk next to her friend while she was in harness, but knew not to bother her when the harness was on. When we stopped to let Truth potty on our walks (Guide Dogs are taught not to relieve in harness) Chelsie waited quietly and patiently for her friend - any other time we stopped on our walks she often acted like a screaming banshee.
Watching these 2 was something. Chelsie was jealous when I petted Truth and Truth knew this. She would get a toy that she knew Chelsie liked, play with it so Chelsie would pounce on her and take it and then come back to me when Chelsie started playing with the toy. She never barked just once - always 4 successive barks in a row. I never got to see her face first...usually her back end so I would scratch the golden booty as she threw her entire body weight into me. Always hungry, she knew just how much food she could snatch and swallow before someone could pry it out of her mouth. The risk was worth the reward - she knew she would get in trouble but knew we could never stay mad at her. When Sharon was really mad at her for something (usually for her food antics) she would tell her "I am not happy with you" - Truth clearly had a look on her face that said "Yeah, lady, whatever". She was fiercely loyal to Sharon and was always looking for her when they were not together.
Nothing I say will ever do Miss Truthie any justice. All dogs are special, but Truth was a notch above the rest. I always used to tell her that if there was not enough love at her house, she could come to mine. But there was more than enough love for Truth at home, at work and just about anywhere she went. She knew how to turn it on and play the "look at me and how cute and smart I am" card - and everyone ate her up. Some of my favorite Truth memories:
- 4th of July when I sat and watched her eye the plate of brownies, thinking to myself...that dog is going to go after those brownies. No sooner than I thought it, she had snatched up three of them.
- The night Truth snatched the last bite of hamburger from Sharon's plate as she was sitting on the couch
- How "vocal" she was when she was not satifisfied with the amount of attention you were giving her
- Like her friend, she could belch like a trucker.
- The day we were in Target after a long day of shopping when this kid started screaming at the top of its lungs....she turned and looked at me as if to say "Lady, get me out of here".
- The day she took up the whole back seat of my accord...so much that Chelsie had to lay on the floor
- The day she first went for a ride in my Pilot and got pissed about being put all the way in the back...she squeezed herself around the tiny opening in the cargo net to get in the back seat. Two seconds later, Chelsie did the same thing and neither of them rode back there ever again.
- The look of pure dog happiness when her Aunt Nicole showed up to take them to work...when I was working downtown, I would take them to work. Truth hated the public transportation Sharon used to get to work, so when I could, I "saved" her. Sharon would open the door when I got there and Truth would run out and greet me and get in the car and lay down...as if to say "Oh, thank you for saving me from Mainstream!!!"
I could go on and on...but you get the point. We are all heart sick...but I am greatful that whatever happened seem to happen quickly. Please also think of Larry, Sharon's BF, who was wtih Truth when this happened. They had really bonded in her retirement and I know Larry is devastated as well.
Truth Ann Schmidt - 3/10/99 - 2/16/10. We will miss you.