It's been only 8 months since Nick's death... I didn't think I would be going through this again so soon. My heart is very heavy as I write my tribute to my beautiful Rudy who passed away October 13, 2000. Rudy's illness came on suddenly, it was a very rough 6 weeks that ended abruptly. I always bragged he was my healthiest schnauzer we had ever had but that all came to an end. On Tuesday late evening, September 5 the day after labor day, he had a mild seizure. We immediately got him to the vet the next day... we did a battery of tests on him but we never really got conclusive answers, the vet's best guess was a brain disease called GME, the acute type which progresses very quickly. The next 5 weeks were a rollcoaster of hopes, prayers, highs and lows. Rudy thankfully only had one very bad episode (Saturday September 9) of "seizure clustering"... the other seizures were mild and spread apart. At one point we felt he may have had a brain infarct and was healing since he went 15 days without seizures. I kept a close log of his activities... which you can read if you like at Rudy's seizure history. My intent on this page is more to celebrate his life as I look back on how this amazing boy joined our family. I was always very proud of Rudy, he was one of the most beautiful and even tempered dogs we had... I could never believe anyone could "throw out" such a beautiful boy but I was always grateful they did so he could be part of our lifes.
In July 1993 we lost Jamie, our beloved schnauzer of 14 years, after a year long battle with cushings disease. It took two years before I could think about getting another dog. But by late summer of 1995 Nick was then 7 and had been alone for two years, I worried if we didn't get a dog soon he might not adjust. I was ready again to go back to having two bearded guys. I knew I didn't want a puppy... I was set on adopting a dog that needed a home, it helped take away the guilt of wanting another dog. I looked in our newspapers and found an ad "4 year old male schnauzer needs home. Would make great family addition". There were 4 other ads with the same phone number, so I knew he had to be in rescue.
I called the number... and asked about the schnauzer... the lady said "Oh you mean Charlie". I couldn't believe it the dog's name was Charlie... that was my husband's name! She proceded to tell me he was a product of a divorce, the wife couldn't take him because she was moving to a place that didn't allow dogs. I asked if he had floppy ears or cropped, she said she thought they were cropped (I always preferred floppy ears but I knew the dog did not have a choice of what type of ears). I made arrangements for us visit him at the kennel where he was kept although we would not be allowed to take him home because a home check would be required.
When we arrived at the kennel... they asked if I wanted to see any of the other dogs for adoption... I said no... just the schnauzer. They went back to get "Charlie"... out struts this proud looking dog... he reminded me a bit of Jamie. And look at that he has little floppy ears... they were little petite ears that flopped over. As he got closer we could see he was thin as a rail and had most of his back was bald... the rescuer said his previous family neglected him and he had skin problems. My first thought was "he is beautiful"... my second thought was "gee I hope his fur will grow back". We visited a while... and I was in love... I only hoped we would be the lucky ones to get this boy as she received several other calls on him. I told my husband it had to be... a dog named "Charlie" with resemblence of Jamie was meant to be ours.
"Charlie" had been an only dog and his owner that released him wanted him to be adopted as an "only dog" but lucky for us the rescuer felt otherwise. The rescuer made arrangements to bring "Charlie" over on a Friday night so we could observe both dogs over the weekend. I had a long talk with Nick beforehand... telling him to be on his best behavior as mama really wanted to expand the family and I was relying on him to make friends.
The Friday night came, I anxiously watched out the window for our new friend to come... it seemed like forever but then they finally arrived. I put Nick in another room so we could visit first before introducing the dogs. In walks "Charlie"... he heads for the coffee table, lifts his leg ... makes a beeline for the kitchen and lifts his leg on the kitchen dining from table... then heads for my baby grand piano... which I grabbed him and said "oh no you don't lets visit the dog run!". We were interviewed and then our yard was inspected for "doggie safety"... and we had passed! When the rescuer asked where he would sleep... I said in bed with us, she replied "that's music to my ears".
We introduced the dogs... Nick was not real pleased and "Charlie" wanted to mount Nick... the rescuer kept saying "Charles behave yourself". Well with everything said and done she left "Charlie" behind and said I could return him if any problems. I said I didn't think that would happen, as long as the two dogs can work it out we will be fine.
That night I remember encouraging "Charlie" to sleep in bed with us, I don't think he had been allowed on the bed before... but I had never had a dog that didn't sleep with us... it was a requirement to sleep with mama. He finally got the idea. Charlie (my husband) looked at him and said "we're not giving this dog back"... I agreed this boy had won our hearts bigtime.
Next was a trip to the vets... we got some medicine for his skin problems and I also found out our newest family member wasn't exactly 4 years old but probably a bit older as he had the start of cataracts. My first thoughts were sad ones... "oh no, I won't have him very long"... "oh no, he will die about the same time as Nick". My second thoughts were... I don't care, I love him and I will cherish our time together. That's exactly what I did... we had over five wonderful years which I wouldn't trade for the world. In honesty I was always a bit glad they advertised him as younger.. because what if I did answer the ad on an "older" dog... I would have missed out on a wonderful opportunity to have him as part of the family.
The next days where filled with picking out names for our guy... he had several before we decided on Rudy. I remember thinking he could not bark... it took a week for him to bark, that was only after he went through the doggie door one night and couldn't figure out how to get back in (before he was following Nick in and out, I guess Nick came in before he did). Amazing... my Rudy does bark! We went to dog class which was an adventure in itself. Rudy's fur grew back into a beautiful coat. The rest is history... Rudy was a big part of our lives as Nick was.
What do I miss most about Rudy... His waking me up with jumping off and on the bed in the middle of the night.. he had done that nightly for the past 5 years. It was about a year ago he could no longer get back up on his own... so he would paw at me around 3:00am to help him up. I also miss his nagging me in the early morning if he didn't get his milkbone quota (minimum of 3... I swear he could count)... he would follow you and paw at you. If you still didn't comply he would go to the kitchen and sit by the milkbone jar and bark. Lord help me the times we run out.. and he just got bread... a poor substitute. His little grumbling noise when he'd get himself in a comfortable position. His unique tricks were getting him to do his "one earred wave"... or do his Elvis impression where if you showed him a milkbone on his side and he was curl up one side of his lips like a lop sided grin.
Goodbye Rude Dog my beloved friend ... I hope Mr. Nick was there to greet you. I miss you both dearly... I hope we will all be together some day.