(I apologize in advance....this is a very long post with lots of pictures. Some of the pictures have been scanned so they are not the best.)
I woke up Saturday morning very excited. I was excited it wasn't snowing. I was excited that it was Noah and Jaz's first basketball game day of the season. I was excited that I was going to help my brother coach them during the game. Little did I know that in a few hours that Saturday would end up being the hardest day of my life, so far. After many discussions and hours of thinking, my family and I decided that it was time to put my sweet precious Oreo to sleep. Great Danes often suffer from arthritis in their hips. Oreo had been struggling with this for a while. Her condition was getting much worse and she had started to not be able to walk without falling. We knew the day was coming but in no way were we prepared for the events that occurred that day.
My sweet Oreo lived a wonderful life of 12 years! She was my first dog. I decided on my 12th birthday in September 1998 that I wanted a dog. I had always been scared of dogs but knew that I wanted to know the experience of having "man's best friend." After months of searching, I found my perfect dog. She was 5 weeks old and weighed 10 pounds!
Oreo and I on her first day home!
(Ha! Please excuse how I look!)
Oreo curled up on my Dad!
I was so excited to have this beautiful new dog I could barely sleep, which is good because sleep was not on the agenda that night. She whined ALL night! This was all new to me and at 12 years old I did not quite understand why my cute new puppy did not know how to sleep. After a little discussion with her the next night she slept like a baby! Her puppies years were very short. She just kept on growing, and growing, and growing! She was at full grown size by six months, weighing in around 130 pounds. She slept in my bed with me for about 4 years. She loved to be covered up and have a pillow under her head. I finally "kicked her out" of my bed because she would nibble on my butt in the middle of the night if her covers fell off.
Oreo laying in my bed with her toy!
My parents snuck in and took this one night while we were sleeping.
Once I kicked her out of my bed, she slept right beside my bed and sometimes under! Ha!
Oreo was a very active dog when she was young. Great Danes sleep most of their life so when they are active they are "very" active! Oreo loved to swim. She would take off across the lake and swim as hard as she could. She loved to swim and be on the lake. She became our marina's mascot. Everyone loved her and wanted to pet her. They would always ask about Oreo before they ever asked how we were.
She always sat on the boat like this. We did not allow her on the furniture at home but she knew that on the boat this was okay.
She also loved the ocean! We had a house in North Carolina on the beach and we stayed there for 7 weeks one summer. She became such a beach bum. She loved going out in the ocean and jumping over the waves.
Oreo and I playing on the beach!
She also loved guarding our yard. She was an inside dog but would spent countless hours looking out the windows and making sure everything was okay.
When she was outside, she did the same thing. She loved to lay outside (only in the summer...of course!) and guard her area. We have six acres and she made sure that no squirrel, deer, cats, raccoons or any other creatures made it through without her approval. She loved to chase the animals out of the yard and then prance back like she had just done the greatest thing ever!
Another thing Oreo loved was sleeping and laying in the sun! Great Danes sleep about 20 hours a day! Lucky them, right? You never knew what position you might find her in when you walked into the room. She loved to sleep covered up and she would peak her head out to see what was going on.
She loved laying in the sun. She would curl up into the smallest ball possible if it meant her body was going to be in the sun. We had to limit her time in the sun several years ago once we found out that she had skin cancer. She had several surgeries at University of Tennessee to get rid of the cancer. The cancer never broke through the skin so she only ever had skin cancer...thank goodness!
Oreo was my best friend and sister for 12 years! I never realized how attached to her I was until she was gone. Saturday was the hardest and most horrible day I have ever experienced. She brought so much joy into our home and family. Our house feels so sad without her! I keep looking up thinking that she is going to walk in the room to see what I am doing or just so I can pet her. My parents and I feel like part of us is missing now. I know that many of you understand exactly how I feel and some of you may not. That is fine. I loved my dog like she was a human and part of our family. I loved her more than most people I know. It has taken me since Saturday to be able to sit down and put all of this into words and pictures. Not a day has gone by that I have not cried and I would give anything to see her walk through my door! I know that with time it will get better, but for now I am in mourning!
Here are a few more pictures that I love...
Oreo loved the snow! This was our last picture of us playing in the snow!
This was our last picture together. On Saturday morning she couldn't get up at all so I laid in her bed with her. I will cherish this picture forever!
I love and miss you Oreo!