A Loving Tribute to Homer; Part II

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Homer has been lucky to be a very well loved dog. Steve was one of his true loves. I'm grateful for all the camps we shared together.

Homer has been lucky to be a very well-loved dog. Steve was one of his true loves. I’m grateful for all the camps we shared together, and the many times he watched Homer for me. If anything ever happened to me, Steve would have gladly take Homer for me.

I’ve got so many pictures of Homer, I’ve just got to post them. Forgive me while I get this out of my system. I’ll do one more post about him and then move on. But a quick update on our trip. We’ve been in Alaska for 10 days and the weather has sucked the whole time! We had one day when it wasn’t terrible (but still not good). Otherwise. it’s just been raining or drizzling non-stop. More about that in my next post.
I didn’t get Homer as a puppy, in fact he was 4 years old when I got him from a rescue in Asheville, North Carolina. He hadn’t been abandoned though, his owners had a second child on the way and were going back to grad school so having an 80 pound dog like Homer was less than ideal. They were going to be so busy that Homer would not have the best life so they turned to the Rescue to find him a good home where he could get more attention. But they loved him and were devoted to him; if the Rescue hadn’t found a good home, they would have kept him.
I made sure Homer had a bed right up front with me. In the pickup he rode on the bench seat beside me. When I got the van I put a box between the seats and put one of his old beds on it. He always h ad to be close!!

I made sure Homer had a bed right up front with me. In the pickup he rode on the bench seat beside me. When I got the van I put a box between the seats and put one of his old beds on it. He always had to be close!!

I was still married then and my ex-wife was very intuitive about some things and as soon as she saw Homer and felt his energy, she knew he was the perfect dog for me. I said he was too big and wouldn’t fit in the truck! At the time I was living in a Ford F150 4×4 and determined to have adventures. My home was a 6 foot by 7 foot shell on the bed and an 80 pound dog would take up a LOT of space. But she kept insisting he was the perfect dog! The owner showed up to take Homer home and he had his little 4 year old toddler with him (they got Homer when she was born). He put the leash on Homer while I stood around and talked to him in the parking lot and this tiny little girl led Homer around like he was a rag doll. Like all little kids, she poked and prodded him and banged on him. She was half his weight and he could have jerked his leash and sent her flying through the air! Instead, he was totally gentle and mellow with her. That sold me on him and I knew he was the dog for me. So I paid the fees ($200) and had the Rescue people come out and inspect our home and then he became mine.
Homer was biger than his 80 pounds would make you think. He was a long, lean bundle of muscle and teeth!

Homer was bigger than his 80 pounds would make you think. He was a long, lean bundle of muscle, teeth and heart!

That was in January of 2008 and the next March Homer and I left to live on the road. Like most people, in their first year of freedom, my itchy feet compelled me to drive and visit many places, so we were constantly driving. That meant there was this huge 80 pound dog cooped up in the cab of the pickup all day (80 pounds isn’t all that big, but Homer is very tall and lean so he is bigger than he looks). Remember, I had promised to give him the best possible life, and that didn’t feel like the best possible life.
Even though I am an Alaska, and he was from North Carolina, we both feel deeply, passionately in love with the desert. Of course he loved the rabbits! But we both loved the wide open spaces and vastness of it. Somehow our many walks in the desert are what I remember, and love, the best.

Even though I am an Alaska, and he was from North Carolina, we both fell deeply, passionately in love with the desert. Of course he loved the rabbits! But we both loved the wide open spaces and vastness of it. Somehow our many walks in the desert are what I remember, and love, the best.

So I made him another promise that we would go for many walks every day and the walks would get longer and longer. I kept that promise! I always tried to camp on public land and before we could hit the road for the day we had to go for a walk. At first they were short, maybe 10 minutes. But as time went on they kept getting longer. Eventually we were walking an hour every morning without exception, rain, shine, snow or wind. Of course we drove a lot so I always had my eye out for any place where we could pull-over and go for a walk. As we drove, I tried to get us out for a walk every few hours. Then, in the evening we went for another walk. It was usually a little shorter, but never less than 40 minutes—I timed  all our walks.
Homer on the bed of the truck. The camper was 6x7 feet, and the bed was 4x6 of that, so it was a tiny place for a big guy and a big dog.

Homer on the bed of the truck. The camper was 6 x 7 feet, and the actual bed was 6 x 4 of that, so it was a tiny place for a big guy and a big dog.

Walking dominated our lives! We were walking an average of 5 miles a day and we did it for 365 days a year for the next 6 years. That means we hiked over 10,000 miles in the time we were together. Of course the whole truth is that I plodded 10,000 miles and he probably ran 40,000 miles! As soon as we got to the deserts in New Mexico we made a new discovery; Homer was a born killer! At his first sight of a jack-rabbit Homer lost complete control over himself and his chase instincts became his Lord and Master with absolute power over him. If it ran, he had to chase it and had to chase it as far as he could until he either lost sight of it or caught it and killed it. I’ve watched him chase a deer for many miles in Utah where there were rolling hills and I could see for that far.
He was very patient of my photography. This is one of the few times he walked into the frame of a picture.

He was very patient of my photography. This is one of the few times he walked into the frame of a picture.

That created the only problem I ever had with Homer, he would disappear for hours chasing game. I’ve written about this, so I won’t go into detail; the bottom line is I decided to let Homer run free and wild and if that meant he would die young, that was a decision we could both live with. The only option was to keep him on a leash and that was not acceptable for either of us. That post was one of my all-time favorites, so you may want to check it out here:
I soon realized I needed to work so I got a job as a campground host in the National Forests of the Colorado Rockies and California Sierra Mountains. We did that for the next four summer seasons. Homer liked that job because we were together all the time and he got to meet new people and new dogs. We were able to maintain our schedule of long walks and he had plenty of deer and elk to chase. In the Sierras we added Black Bear to the mix and I soiled my underwear a few times because of that.
Homer made lots and lots of other dog friends. Some little ....

Homer made lots and lots of other dog friends. Some little ….

One time he found a Black Bear in the woods and chased it right back to me! I was walking along a trail and looked up to see a black bear running full speed right at me. At the last second the bear screeched to a stop, sat on his launches looking at me, then turned and ran the other way. My life hung in the balance in those few seconds while he decided what to do next; I was truly terrified by that! Another time he found a Black Bear cub and chased it all around a mountain side. Finally it climbed up a dead tree—which promptly broke and the cub very nearly landed right on top of Homer. If mama had shown up we were in for some serious trouble. And because Homer could outrun me, I could actually be in a world of hurt! Fortunately, we never saw her but I was literally afraid for my life the whole time!
And some big dog friends.

And some big dog friends.

Wherever we went, Homer was the center of attention and everyone fell in love with him! He was so beautiful and mellow that you couldn’t help but like him and pet him. We spent a lot of time alone in the desert, just walking and living. But eventually I started hosting gatherings which morphed into the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR). That brought lots of new people and friends into our life. My one concern for Homer had been that he was a social dog and wasn’t getting enough time with other dogs. But soon our life was full of many friends with dogs and so he got to play with plenty of others. Brian and his dog Stella were people who we crossed paths with often and Homer and Stella were pretty sweet on each other; she is a wonderful dog! Later, Steve came and camped with me and he fell deeply in love with Homer. He loved him so much he had to have a dog of his own so he got Zeke. We all got very lucky the day Zeke came home to us because he is the only dog in the world that’s just as good as Homer! They became fast friends and Homer seemed to perk right up having him around. He was already acting like an old dog but he became a puppy again when Zeke was there. I’m tremendously grateful for Steve and Zeke!
But Zeke, was his best doggy friend of all!

But Zeke, was his best doggy friend of all! He kept him young for as long as he could.

In the last few years he slowly shifted from a world-class canine athlete to an older dog that was slowing down. His decline started by chasing rabbits for shorter periods and then eventually he simply didn’t chase them at all. Last summer (2013) it became obvious that our long walks were too much for him so they got shorter and then even shorter and then finally he just stayed home. His thyroid failed him so he was on replacement hormones. Then he got very lame and could barely walk. The vet said it was either bone cancer or Valley Fever, or both. It turned out to be both. We put him on pain killers and meds for the Valley Fever and they made him sick and puke all the time.
He loved the water! Oddly, he hated to swim and I only saw him swim once. But the instant he saw water he was in it up to his chest wading in it.

He loved the water! Oddly, he hated to swim and I only saw him swim once. But the instant he saw water he was in it up to his chest wading in it.

The treatment for bone cancer is amputation of the affected limb—in this case his whole front leg—and chemotherapy. In return for that he may have another year to live, possibly even two. But the quality of his life would not be worth all the pain it would cause him so I decided against it. Instead I had him put down. I believe it was the right thing to do.
And the muddier the water, the more he loved it!

And the muddier the water, the more he loved it!

I’ll definitely get another dog, the only question is when. Getting one on a road trip is problematic, especially when there are already two people in a van—space is tight! I must admit, I’m tempted to look for one when we get to Homer, Alaska; that would be very symbolic for me! But adapting a new dog to a new environment can sometimes be hard for them. If he runs away while we are on the road, getting him back could be very difficult. So chances are very good I will wait to get back to the desert to get one. But, one thing is certain, I will get another one. The joy they bring me is immensely greater than the pain of loosing them!
homer-hunting

Until we meet again my friend ….

Next Keep it Simple Sunday: Vandwelling Dogs Part 1: Why I have a Dog (shouldn't you?)

60 Comments

  1. Jo L

    Thank you for sharing the pictures and history of your time with Homer. He sounds like a wonderful companion and I know that you will miss him. Take good care on your trip.

    • Bob

      Thanks Jo.
      Bob

    • Yvonne Boudreaux

      I really enjoyed reading your commentary on your beloved dog. I miss him and I never even had the pleasure to meet him. I am also a dog lover. I have 2 and they are sisters born from the same litter. They are terrier/poodle/sheep dog mix. Their names are Sasha and Itty Bitty. They will be 3 years old on the 27th of this month. I found your site by typing into google, Living in an RV. I am sick and tired of living according to the rules of this world, I do not like what they are teaching my kids in the school system at all, I don’t like the politics of local or big government. It seems as of late, they have been given far to much control. RV living, seems to me to be a blessing in disguise. How do I know where to go, meaning what states stay warm, which ones get snow and cold. That is my fear. I wanted to say also, that I am so very sorry for your loss of your dog. I know that feeling well, having lost my dog Flea 3 years ago. Any advice you can give about Rv’ing is appreciated so much.
      Yvonne Boudreaux

      • Bob

        Hi Yvonne, thanks for your kind words about Homer, it’s amazing how we can grieve for them when they are gone, isn’t it? Enough time has passed that hen he comes to my mind I can smile instead of cry, but sometimes I still cry.
        If you want to be a snowbird–which means you move with the seasons, the best states to stay in in the winter are Arizona, California, and Florida. Then in the summer the key to staying cool in the heat is to move to higher elevation. The temperature drops 3 degrees for every 1000 feet of elevation gain so if you move up to 6000 feet the temps will drop about 20 degrees. Out west there are many states where you can go and camp in National Forests at 6000 feet and a lot higher. There are very few back est so it’s much harder.
        I’d recommend that you join my forum where there are lots of people who would love to help you learn the basics of RVing. Go to my website cheaprvliving.com and you’ll see the menu bar at the top and click on the Forums” button. Once you get there join and then introduce yourself and start posting your questions.
        You won’t be alone any more in starting a new life, you’ll have a caring community to help you along the way.
        Bob

  2. Ron

    He couldn’t of had a better owner and is probably telling all the other dogs up there of his good luck and great life.

    • Bob

      I hope so Ron!
      Bob

  3. Rick

    I had a very similar love and relationship with my dog, ginger, growing up. Let’s hope there are more to come and that many others get to have the experience. You are a very good story teller, Bob. Thanks for sharing
    Rick

    • Bob

      Thank you Rick.
      Bob

  4. Calvin R

    I am glad for all of us that you have this way to “get this out.” Thank you. I think you are wise to wait a while before getting another companion, so that the grief can run its course a bit more.

    • Bob

      Calvin, I’m not sure how much longer I can wait. I really want and need a dog in my life.
      Bob

  5. Peggy

    I love reading about your life with Homer and looking at pictures of him. What a lucky dog! I often wonder why people have dogs when all they do is leave them cooped up inside the house all day and never even take them for walks. It sounds like you designed your lives together to allow him to be the doggy version of King of the Road and in return you had his full love and devotion…and as we all know, the love and devotion of a dog is a treasure beyond words.

    • Bob

      Peggy, they’re never mean to us or say bad things, they just love us! Their love is one of life’s greatest treasures.
      Bob

  6. PamP

    Thank you for posting about Homer – such a wonderful dog – I agree. Having just put down my own Wonderful Dog in March of this year, I certainly do understand how you feel about Homer. I too, tend to hold my cards close to my chest – its just not possible to talk about my deepest feelings with others.
    As one of your readers, I am grateful you are sharing Homer with us. I had chosen my favorite photo of the one with you and Homer in the truck, then today’s last photo shows him as the confident, strong dog he was. Thanks again.

    • Bob

      Pam, that last one was always my favorite to!
      Bob

  7. Phyllis Anne

    Bob.
    I am deeply saddened by your loss of Homer. You gave him a wonderful life! Never stuck in a backyard devoured by boredom or loneliness. You did the right thing. When the right time comes… you will be a wonderful doggie daddy again. All the good memories of dear Homer will live on in your mind’s eye forever.
    Wishing you peace,
    Phyllis

    • Bob

      Thanks Phyllis!
      Bob

  8. Charlene Swankie

    I managed to read this one without crying, but I will mourn for Homer a long time. So glad you wrote all of this Bob, for yourself and for us. Farewell, King Homer, you will always be in my heart.

    • Bob

      Charlene, Homer loved you a lot too!
      Bob

  9. Gloria Brooks

    Wow! He’s such a beautiful spirit! It’s so true, I too fell in love with Homer Dog. He’ll be missed tremendously by all! Love, Gloria

    • Bob

      Thanks Gloria!
      Bob

  10. dan

    Very sorry about your loss. Nothing can replace your loving memories of your best friend.
    Here’s some good news for you in your hour of loss…. I thought you might want to know…..
    Court overturns city law that bars living in cars
    Lisa Leff Associated Press
    Posted: 06/19/2014 11:29:03 AM PDT0 Comments | Updated: about 3 hours ago
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court on Thursday struck down a 31-year-old Los Angeles law that bars people from living in parked vehicles, saying the vaguely written statute discriminates against the homeless and poor.
    The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals involved a 1983 law that prohibits the use of a vehicle “as living quarters either overnight, day-by-day, or otherwise.”
    The court said the law was unconstitutional because its ambiguous wording does not make clear what conduct would constitute a violation and “criminalizes innocent behavior.”
    The decision came in a case brought on behalf of four people who were cited and arrested in the Venice area by Los Angeles police officers who concluded the numerous belongings in their RVs and cars meant they were violating the law.
    “Is it impermissible to eat food in a vehicle? Is it illegal to keep a sleeping bag? Canned food? Books? What about speaking on a cellphone? Or staying in the car to get out of the rain?” Judge Harry Pregerson wrote for the panel. “These are all actions plaintiffs were taking when arrested for violation of the ordinance, all of which are otherwise perfectly legal.”
    The officers were part of an LAPD homelessness task force charged with enforcing the ordinance in response from community complaints about people living in their cars.
    The panel’s ruling overturned a lower court judge who had sided with the city and dismissed the case without a trial.
    Carol Sobel, the lawyer for the three men and one woman who sued to overturn the law in 2011, said Los Angeles’ ban on living in cars was exceptionally broad. One of her clients was cited while waiting outside a church that served meals and another while driving her RV through Venice on her way to sell her work at a local art fair.
    Even so, the ruling might force other western cities within the 9th Circuit’s territory to amend statutes that outlaw sleeping in vehicles, Sobel said.
    “People living in their vehicles is one of the great unidentified homeless groups in this country — formerly middle-class people who lost everything during the recession and are trying to maintain the appearance of stability so they can go to work,” she said.
    The Los Angeles city attorney’s office, which defended the law before the 9th Circuit, did not immediately return a call for comment.
    Pregerson did not make clear in the panel’s opinion what, if anything, city lawmakers could do to make the law pass constitutional muster.
    “The city of Los Angeles has many options at its disposal to alleviate the plight and suffering of its homeless citizens,” he wrote. “Selectively preventing the homeless and the poor from using their vehicles for activities many other citizens also conduct in their cars should not be one of those options.”

    • Bob

      Dan, I saw that. Unfortunatley the problem was the way the law was written, the cops could interpret in almost any way. They can change it and be back in business again.
      Bob

  11. Steve

    Those two parts are a great tribute to Homer. Great stories and photos. He looks like he has a little bloodhound in him from the neck down and with the story of chasing game for hours, he sounds like one. Beautiful dog. You said it best … the joys of having a dog are greater than losing them.
    You are a great hound owner and you did the best thing for Homer you could have ever done.

    • Bob

      Steve, yes, he was mainly Black and Tan Coonhound right from North Carolina.
      Bob

  12. gary green

    hey bob, sorry about homer!!!! he was a great dog!!!! you should get another dog.

    • Bob

      Gary, no doubt about that, I’ll get another dog! Give Izzy an extra long hug from me. Maybe I should head to Mexico to find a dog as good as her!
      Bob

  13. Myddy

    You two were good for each other, and I always enjoyed seeing his presence in pictures. I am sorry for your loss, but happy for the wonderful experiences you brought to each other, and that he will no longer be suffering.

    • Bob

      Myddy, thanks!
      Bob

  14. Pennie

    Bob, i’m sorry to read about Homer, he was a great dog and what a beautiful tribute and honor you have done him. i’m so glad that we crossed paths. I know your pain all to well, i lost 4 of my dogs in a year and fortunately for me all were due to old age and i was blessed to have 19, 18, 17 and 14 years with them. I swore when i lost my beloved Lucy i wouldn’t get anymore dogs as the pain was unbearable i enduring but then Roo came along and needed a home and love and her wet nose broke through my heart and i’m thankful to be her owner. she has licked many of my tears that i still shed several years later at missing my babies. I’m so glad you have shared Homer’s tribute with all of us who was honored to have gotten to know him.

    • Bob

      Pennie, they are just irresistible aren’t they! I know I can’t be around dogs without wanting one.
      I’m a big believer in the principles of Yin and Yang. If we void pain and discomfort, we cheat ourselves out of ecstasy and joy. You can’t have one without the other. Homer gave me so much that it’s more than worth the pain to me.
      Bob

  15. Scott Cotner

    Bob, there is an animal shelter in Jackson. If you decide to hold off until your back in the lower 48 your ALWAYS welcome to hang out here and get acquainted with your new companion. Lots of good hiking and plenty of camping spots to spend some time getting to know each other.

    • Bob

      Scott, that’s a very good idea; I might very well do that. I really want to get another one now but a new dog on the road is a risk and then getting him through Canada is a little harder.
      But the urge is SOOOOOO strong! Getting a new dog in Homer, AK just seems so right! We’ll see. There is NOT a lot of extra room in this van with the two of us and our gear.
      Bob

  16. Jeanne

    Oh Bob, I’m sorry about Homer. He was a wonderful dog and you had a great time together. You certainly did give him the best life possible. And he gave you a great life, too. I know that when the time is right you will find another dog, and give that new friend a good life as well.
    Safe travels,
    Jeanne (and Riley)

    • Bob

      Thank you Jeanne! Maybe I should get a Sheltie just like Riley, he is a great, great dog. Give him extra long hugs from me until I get another dog.
      Bob

  17. Road Champ

    Bob , Thank you for sharing your wonderful tribute to Homer with all of us. You are such inspiration to so many us wandering souls fortunate to have found their way to this site. Even in your grief you have found away to reach out and eloquently express the love and devotion you and Homer will forever have for each other . Our friends are gone too soon… Safe travels , Tom

    • Bob

      Road Champ, thanks so much Tom!
      Bob

  18. BuckeyePatti

    I cried thru your beautiful tributes to Homer. (Sentimental old fool that I am 🙂 After having 2 long term dogs and going thru the pain of losing them, was just not ready for that hurt again. After several years & as fate would have it, ended up with my fully trained Granddog. As the vet said: Sometimes animals find us! I’ll try to remember your last line when it’s time to say goodbye to this one, “The JOY they bring is greater than the pain of losing them”.

    • Bob

      BuckeyePatti, join the crowd, I seem to make all the girls cry! I’m looking forward to my next dog finding me!
      While I hate the pain of his loss, I wouldn’t trade the joy he brought me for anything!
      Bob

  19. Ming

    Bob, he sounds like a lovely dog. Thank you for the beautiful post about him, I feel like I got to know him a bit even though I never had a chance to meet him. I was looking forward to meeting him last winter, but then my dog got sick with cancer too and I concentrated on spending quality time with her until the end. I opted against surgery also – it just makes no sense to operate on a 13 year old dog and run the chance of making her suffer more or having hear die right after the operation. Instead, we had months of lovely “last walks” together to her favorite spots.
    I couldn’t wait until after she was gone to get another dog, I was starting to get too sad around her and did not want to burden her with it so I got my next dog early and he helped lighten the mood in the house.
    I hope that you feel better soon, I have found that travel and support from people who care helps a lot and it looks like you have that.

  20. Lois

    Great tribute to a wonderful dog, Bob. I really enjoyed meeting Homer in January at the RTR – such an honor to meet another being so in tune with life here on Planet Earth. Be well. –Lois

    • Bob

      Thank you Lois!
      Bob

  21. upsman

    Bob, my condolences to you during this difficult time . I have been following your travels for many years and have learned so much from you and Homer. I drop in occasionally to check in on you guys and was bummed to read about Homer. Your tribute to Homer was so heartfelt and beautifully well written, my thoughts are with you. My best to you, ~John

    • Bob

      Thank you John, I appreciate your thoughts!
      Bob

  22. John Dough

    Condolences on the loss of Homer.
    I lost my 8 year old Black Lab mutt in December to bone cancer as well. I still have a Yellow Lab, who was his pal and almost the same exact age.
    I’m sure you feel lucky to have been able to share time you had with Homer. What a wonderful life he had. That is about the best life a dog could have. Where they belong, in nature, but under the protective hand of a caring human.
    I wrestled with the treatment options, the $12,000 amputation/chemo option with 50% survival rate in the first year, and almost certain pulmonary cancer, since bone cancer almost always spreads by the time it’s detected.
    You did the right thing, it took me a while as I struggled with deciding what to do.
    It was only 5 weeks from his diagnosis that I had to call the vet to the house for his final treatment to keep the pain away forever.
    Roscoe was the most wonderful magical dog, and my first dog, and I’m forever grateful that I could be his human.
    The pain slowly fades, and what remains is wonderful memories of all the adventures we had together, and the way he made me laugh and be happy every day.
    I chose to have him cremated with other dogs, because he liked other dogs, and did not keep ashes because his memory is permanently bonded to my heart and soul, he is part of me.
    Dogs are loyal to us and we must be faithful to them, and for you to get another dog to share the wonderful life you have will be great for the lucky pooch, and yourself.

    • Bob

      John, thank you for your wonderful comment! You and Roscoe were so very fortunate to have found each other. Getting another dog is a certainty for me. What about you? Your yellow lab has a hole in her/his life too. Another dog might keep her young?
      Bob

      • John Dough

        I probably won’t get another dog until my present dog passes.
        Although he misses his pal, I think that he likes being the king of the house, center of attention, sole recipient of all leftover food.
        And also having an older dog and a younger dog will make walks, hiking and exercise a little tougher. I don’t want hime to feel jealous or neglected, or ignored. I always distributed the love and attention as evenly as possible. But now he gets 100%.
        One thing is certain, I have been won over by doggie-kind, and I think that there will always be a dog in my life.

        • Bob

          John, it’s kind of an addiction. Once you have loved them as deeply as we have, it’s hard to be without them.
          Bob

  23. Sue

    Thank you for the wonderful tribute to your beloved dog. You had a wonderful life together.
    Thanks also for the site. Thinking of quitting my job and living my life in a van. (I’d be taking my beloved basset hound with me.)
    Take care and have wonderful adventures!
    Sue

    • Bob

      Sue, I know many older women who retired and moved into vans and truly love it! I think it works better for them than the men!
      Bob

  24. Kathleen Huffman (Decodancer)

    I was just reading an old post and heard about Homer. As somebody who has spent her entire life working with dogs, you did the right thing by not going through with the cancer treatments. I’ve seen the look in a dogs eyes when he cannot understand why he has to continually poked when he already feels lousy. I lost my “Deco” to stomach cancer and watching such an active dog wither away was heart wrenching. You gave Homer the kind of life that dogs dream of and I’m glad that another dog will get to enjoy that as well. Just wanted to express my sympathy. Enjoy your trip. I’ve loved all the wonderful pictures. Kathleen

    • Bob

      Thank you Kathleen (it’s nice to know your name!). The last year he was at the vet a lot and that’s why I was so sure I was doing he right thing. That last trip he showed no reluctance to go to the vet, he was very calm and relaxed. He was either just plain exhausted from the fight or ready to go. Either way, it was time.
      It still hurts, but I’m getting over it. Hug your dogs an extra long time for me today!!
      Bob

  25. Mike

    Hi Bob,
    I’m glad you had so many wonderful years with Homer! We went down the same road with our beloved Sadie. She had cancer in her jaw. She had 3 or 4 surgeries to reduce the tumor, and then it became obvious her joy in life had gone away.
    With tears, we took her to the vet’s one last time. Her head was in my lap. We petted her, and told her we loved her. With tears in her eyes, our vet gave her the shot that ended Sadie’s pain.
    Chemo really isn’t a great option for dogs. You can’t explain to the dog why you’re hurting them. As much as it hurts us, as much as we miss our friends, I’m sure we, and you, made the right decision.
    -Mike

    • Bob

      Thanks Mike, for your comforting words. I’m sure we are alike in that we know we did the right thing, but it still hurts so much. Time really is the great healer.
      Bob

  26. carly

    With clear plans to become a van dweller next spring, I read your blog as the4 definitive guide to doing it right. I have learned so much from you so can’t thank you enough for the efforts you put into us,and sharing the wisdom of your experience. This post however,made me cry a little. The unconditional love and companionship of a pet(soul mate) enhances our lives beyond meaning, so losing them is devastating. What a wonderful life he had with you!! Every dog should be so lucky.
    It also gives me hope that I can live in a van with a cat or two.

    • Bob

      Carly, thank you so much for your kind words! You can live in a van with two cats and I know several people who do it. Their independent nature makes it a little harder than with dogs, but you can do it!
      My camp is always open to you and I’m looking forward to meeting the three of you one of these days!!
      Bob

  27. carly

    * beyond measure, I meant. 🙂

  28. Elysabeth

    what a lucky dog to have you as his friend and companion. I love this site and can not wait till I can hit the road with my own fur friend, Moose.

    • Bob

      Elysabeth! We were both very lucky and hit the jackpot when we found each other! I think you and Moose will love your new life!
      My camp is always open to you both!
      Bob

  29. Steve & Cheryl

    Bob, Just getting caught up with your Blog. Sorry to hear about Homer. He was a great dog and we are thrilled that we got to know him. It was a pleasure to work with you and Homer at Dinky Creek and Trapper Springs (2009). Take care friend and venture on!

    • Bob

      Thanks Steve, great to hear from you again! I hope all is well with you both.
      I sure miss that Homer, he was a wonderful friend. Thanks for you kind words.
      Bob

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