Normally, the copy in this space is devoted to you, readers. But this week, it's all about me.
That's because I am not capable at this moment of thinking about anything other than our family dog, Rosie. A few hours ago, we had to put Rosie down. She was just four months shy of her 17th birthday. She was a part of our family since Rosie, a stray, and I found each other when she was puppy.
Rosie was a mix between an English springer spaniel and a poodle. I guess that made her a springapoo.
I still remember the day Rosie and I met at the animal shelter in the Quad Cities in September 1996. For seven consecutive Friday afternoons, I had stopped in at the animal shelter in East Moline on my way home from work.
On that day, I walked in, and the attendant at the counter said, "I think we found the right dog for you, Mr. Jagler."
I knew the drill. We walked into the back room, and the woman released a dog from one of the cages. The puppy scampered over to me on the slippery cement floor, rolled over on her back and looked up at me with her tail wagging.
"How can you not take this one home?" the attendant said.
The next day, we picked up the dog, and she promptly curled up and fell asleep between our two young sons in the middle seat of my late father's minivan. We named her Rosie, as in Springsteen's Rosalita of musical fame.
In those early years, Rosie was my shadow. She never needed a leash or a tether. She never left my side. I'd ask her if she wanted to "romp and snoop" in the backyard, and she'd make a beeline for the back door.
Rosie began having periodic epileptic seizures and became quite territorial. This is quite common among springers. She did not respond well to strangers, and our close friends often found that amusing.
But Rosie mellowed with age and developed an absolute obsession for my wife, Kristi. In turn, my wife developed quite a fondness for "schnoodling with a poodle" on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I often joked that if Rosie was a comic book character, the words in the bubble caption atop her would say, "I go by Mom." Can't blame Rosie for having such good taste in humans.
But it was time. Over the past two months, Rosie was in congestive heart failure, she was blind and deaf, and she had doggie Alzheimer's, which caused her to pace incessantly all night long, bumping into furniture and walls.
I held her tightly while the veterinarian did his thing with the hypodermic needle today. My tears fell upon her as she took her last breath.
Rosie was a blessing for my family and me. My boys can barely remember life without her. Rosie made me a better father. A better husband. A better son. A better brother. A better co-worker. A better leader. A better human being.
There's an old country song by Tom T. Hall about an old man who reflects that three of the finer things in life are "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine." I've never tried the latter. But I certainly can vouch for the first two.
Rosalita is dancing a little lighter tonight. Farewell, sweet Rosie. Your love and your loyalty are two of the greatest gifts in my life.
olderwiser | Sept. 19, 2012 at 11:08 a.m. (report)
Wonderful tribute to Rosie and anyone who has had the pleasure of living with and the pain of saying farewell to a loyal pet. As I can relate, my profile pic has remained as is since 2009. Genuinely supportive thoughts are with you.
Steve, I'm sorry for your family's loss. We have to make the same decision in the next week (hopefully two) with our labrador Kylie. Her mind and heart are still strong but her legs can hardly hold her up. I know it's time but it's so hard to let her go.
What a touching story about your beloved Rosie. (Great namesake too!) I hope you will find comfort in knowing she is no longer suffering and that you gave her a wonderful home and the opportunity for the long life she had in your family. RIP Rosie!
Molly | Sept. 18, 2012 at 8:36 p.m. (report)
Sorry for your loss, Steve. I was there, 4 years ago. Those four-legged folk really have a way of burrowing into yer heart.
4 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Steve Jagler
Published May 16, 2013
I often wonder if public officials give any consideration to the historical lens that will define their current level of enlightenment decades from now. History will show there is a "right" side and a "wrong" side to many of the issues we debate today, including health care reform, gay marriage and gun control.
Published April 17, 2013
Hey Milwaukee, are ya feeling the love? In case you haven't noticed, the city has been receiving plenty of praise in recent weeks from Forbes magazine, which named it "The Capital of Water" and one of the nation's "Emerging Downtowns."
Published March 6, 2013
Steve Jagler's friend Tiffany Weber got tired of the rat race. So she's decided to go into the business of being Tiffany.
Published Feb. 25, 2013
Milwaukee-based development firm HKS Holdings LLC plans to develop an eight-story, 158-room Kimpton hotel in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward, San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants announced today.
Published Feb. 18, 2013
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's plan to reject additional federal Medicaid funding for the state's BadgerCare program is drawing mixed reviews, mostly divided along party lines.
Published Feb. 1, 2013
The common stock shares for Kohl's Corp. rose 56 cents Thursday amid growing Wall Street speculation that the Menomonee Falls-based retailer could be a prime target to be acquired by a private equity firm in 2013.
Published Jan. 24, 2013
Regardless of the impact of the Affordable Care Act, the members of the board of directors of the Council of Small Business Executives (COSBE) are remarkably bullish about their prospects for 2013.
Published Jan. 10, 2013
A September research report by Ceres, a Boston-based business sustainability advocacy organization, was eerily prescient. Ceres published the white paper titled, "Stormy Future for U.S. Property/Casualty Insurers: The Growing Costs and Risks of Extreme Weather Events."
Published Dec. 20, 2012
Not to be confused with THE Christmas story, I would like to conclude the year with a Christmas story. And a lighthearted, silly little one at that.
Published Dec. 19, 2012
As we prepare to discard the calendar of a tumultuous and often nasty 2012 in Wisconsin, it's time to launch into 2013 with a clean slate and try to begin the year with no grudges and a spirit of compromise. Here's one man's Milwaukee wish list for Santa.