1996 - October 12, 2007
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Mary Waugh Swindell has been a vital part of GALT almost since inception. Mary came on board as an Advisory Director and is GALT's Greyhound Obedience Trainer and Consultant. If you have ever been to one of Mary's training classes, you know what an outstanding and personable teacher she and Devon were..... they were a "team" in every sense of the word. It was obvious they adored, respected and cherished each other just by their interaction. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mary, Michael and their family.
How do you sum up a lifetime together? How do you even begin to count all the times I cried on his shoulder, all the times we sang and danced together? Devon was, quite simply, my right hand man in everything, and the thought now that I will have to do this all without him at my side seems impossible to fathom. How can I teach a class without Devon at my side, or evaluate dogs, or do a CGC test? How can I hear a noise at night and delegate it as nothing because Devon Didn't bark? How can I walk at night without him at my side? How can I wake up in the morning without stepping over him, or cook without him lying beside the stove? Who will retrieve the dog bowls after dinner, or carry Michael's hat in his mouth? Who will unzip my treat bag and bring me the contents? Who will carry my keys to me in the hopes of a treat, or my shoes, or envelopes, or whatever treasure he thinks will win him my attention? Who will the other dogs look to when they are scared, and who will keep the next puppy in line?
Right now, I would give nearly anything to have him come beside me and butt his head against my leg for my attention, or appear beside me with a treasure in his mouth to trade for what I'm eating. I miss him nudging the food bowls on the counter every night even though I told him not to, and finding a clicker, walking around the room clicking himself.
Most of you know that Devon had 2 intestinal surgeries this spring and summer as the result of an obstruction. The 2nd surgery was a belated complication of the initial removal, when an abscess grew at the repair site and ruptured, spilling poison into his abdomen. Though months had gone by without incident, we were on borrowed time, as another abscess had grown. When I looked down at my feet in the kitchen, and Devon Wasn't there I knew something was wrong. Instead of his usual arms-reach position, Devon was laying beside the bed. When I called to him, he slowly raised his head, and I dropped everything to sit beside him. He was in so much pain he couldn't get up, and my stoic, handsome boy moaned. My stomach sank, as I had only heard him make that noise twice before. The look in his eyes was so clear to me; he wasn't able to do this again. Despite our hopes, the tests at the vet revealed our greatest fear; another abscess had ruptured and poisoned his stomach. Already his fever was rising, as he lay against me and moaned. He worked against all the surgeons' odds to survive the second surgery, but we couldn't ask him to do this again. The vet came to our house and with his head in my lap, sitting between his mom and dad; we gave Devon the last gift we could.
My heart is breaking with the loss of him, as everywhere I look he isn't there. He brought me so many gifts, taught me so many things, and made me work so hard for this relationship that bound him closer to my heart than I ever dreamed possible. My Animal Planet star, Devon was in various ads and too many TV news clips to count. His social calendar was always a handful to juggle, and I always joked that he was more famous than I'd ever be. He was a showman to the very end, wowing my classes with his freestyle skills and hamming it up until the very last cookie was gone.
We were blessed to know him and have him as our friend.
I miss you Dev.