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He got me with his grin!


Three and half years ago, he was born with a big grin on his face. His nickname was “Big Mouth”. He always slept on his back, four legs up if you please. When we decided to keep the litter, he became George, after George in “Grey’s Anatomy”. And that’s how our story started.

George was my clingy one. He couldn’t stand not being on my lap. The first visits to the vet as a puppy had to take place with Jessica, since George would not have considered to be anywhere else than on my lap while I was driving. The girls always told me that he was that way because I cut his umbilical cord. It’s funny, you know, because the only way I can recognize him in the puppies’ pictures from Jackson is because he was always sleeping on his back!


He was always handful, meaning that he was at the head of the pack with Sophie! When there was some mischievous thing going on, you could be sure that Sophie and George were on top of it! If Sophie was going to torture her little brother, Max, George was there in a minute! If they were going after a squirrel, one was almost on top of the other to get higher by the tree!


The other face of George was that he thought he was human. You put a chair for him, and granted, in a minute, he will be sitting there, having breakfast with us like for Christmas! I could not sit down a minute without running the risk of having 75 lbs of dog love on my lap! It was his spot, I am talking about my lap, and nobody was allowed but him on it! I am not even talking about watching a movie with him. Between Zoe who is allergic to some actors like McConaughey and George who was putting his beautiful black head between me and the TV, just forget about it! In a way, he was right, since there is not much worth watching on that screen these days! His face was far more interesting. I always called him my Chinese dog because of his slighted slanted eyes.


Last Sunday morning, like every morning, they get their food in a specific order as well as their vitamins! We start with the oldest, Sammie, then we got to their Mom, Lola, and her girlfriend Maia, then the baby of the family, Max, then the girls, Sophie and Zoe who always argue that one is going to get her bowl before the other, and my two boys last, Jackson and George. When I get the last two bowls on the floor, George always sat to wait for his! The vitamins things take place in the same order, and everyone waits patiently, ok Sophie might always try to steal Zoe’s, but it usually works pretty well. George was the last one to get it, and every day, he made me smile by jumping and putting his front paws on the counter to get his because he knew he had a chance to get a bit more of cream cheese from the can if he did that, then licking my fingers forever until he was sure that he did not miss one tiny piece of cream cheese!

Sunday evening, George was his usual self, and he always went to bed (meaning my bed) early! When I went up, he was already snoring and lying on his back with his four legs up on my side of the bed! The same ritual was taking place every evening. I had to push him to get in it, then sure enough, he was turning around for a while lying basically on top of me, with his big eyes looking at me, then turning on his back again and sleeping in my arms. That was George.


Monday morning, hell started when I saw his swollen limbs, and immediately took him to the emergency because of course, it was Labor Day. When the diagnosis fell on me that he tested highly positive for Lyme and his kidneys were failing, I thought it was a joke. How was it possible? I was so careful with everything which went to their stomachs? They were up to date with their shots. The only thing I could think of was the Front Line that I delayed for over two weeks because it was raining every day, and I was afraid it was not going to work if water got into their skin, and hey they are labs, most of my pack don’t care if it’s wet! Most of them loved to roll in the wet grass and come back home smelling like grass of course!


That afternoon, George was still his usual self besides the swelling. At the emergency we stayed with him part of the day, and he ate cookies, was on his back to get the tummy rubs he enjoyed so so much. Things changed drastically on Tuesday when I took him to an emergency care hospital to see an internist. He became far more lethargic, even though he tried to avoid the nurses coming to help me by jumping on the front seat.


When I came back with Jessica in the afternoon to meet the internist, one of the most amazing ones I have met, and I have met a few! I realized it was time to let him go. The future sounded so grim, I did not want to bug him with more testing, and he probably would not have been alive the next day. One thing, no matter what, we have to be with them when they go over the rainbow. So, he came to us, with his oxygen tubes, his catheter, etc, and when he saw us, he wagged his tail feebly, but he still wagged the darn tail! We said our goodbyes and he passed away peacefully in our arms.

Life at home after George? Sophie is looking for him everywhere. When I came home that day, they smelled me all over, and Sophie can’t stop going back and forth downstairs, she went all over the yard, and now two days later, I cannot make her leave the back door opening to the backyard. She is staying there waiting for George to come back.


We might never know what really happened to him. Our previous vet who is now retired never mentioned that the mutts had to be tested for Lyme before getting their shots, they did not get the best vaccine for Lyme but the old one, and I did not know. My new vet is up to date with everything coming up in veterinary medicine. This is why I chose her. All the mutts got tested yesterday, and everyone is ok but Lola the mom, who got some issues, not sure yet what it is, but we’ll know by Friday.


You would think that with eight dogs, having one less would not be so noticeable, that’s what dogless people think anyway, but the house is quiet, the mutts are walking literally on their tippy toes. And there is a big part missing in my pack: George. Empty handed one more time, I only have a collar and some black hair from my boy to stare at. He was only 3 years, 5 months and 14 days old.





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13 Responses to “He got me with his grin!”

  1. Susan says:

    Thank you Dominique,

    It is a great tribute to George. I feel like I know your boy because of the way you have told his story. I am so sorry. I have called my vet and double checked on my guys. Thank you so much for the education in addition to letting me get to know George.

    See you, soon.



  2. Laura says:

    Dominique, I am so sorry. I just noticed you had a new story, and I don’t know what to say. This is awful! I have been reading you like forever, and losing a dog at such an early age. I can’t imagine what you are going through right now with your family.
    Thank you though for sharing George with us. You made my whole office cry this morning while I was reading it. RIP George. You really were an amazing boy!
    Thoughts and prayers go to you and your family, two and four-legged ones!

  3. Don says:

    Just found your blog through a pet blogs site, and I started reading it. You have a way to make your dogs and cats real. I had a dog, a Golden, who died from Lyme a few years ago, and like George, he was up to date with vaccines and Frontline. I know what you are going through. I’ve been there. My kids never saw me cry before the sudden death of Bandit. Hang in there with your mutts! They are awesome.

  4. Bobbi Hahn says:

    Oh, Dominique, I’m so very sorry. Thank you for sharing your story about your beautiful boy; I had a wonderful black lab, too, and she also thought she was a (70 pound) lap dog. My thoughts and prayers are with you . . .

    • Dominique says:

      Thank you Bobby…. It is just so hard when they leave us so young. It’s the first time it happened to me, and George was such a character. But you had a 70 lbs lap dog too so you know exactly what I meant.

  5. Mary says:

    Thank you for sharing the story of George with everyone. I called my vet to be sure that my dogs had the Lyme test, and they did not. I am going on Saturday.
    Wishing you the best, and I am now a Muttstown fan.

  6. Ric says:

    Ohhh man, break my heart why dont ya! Run and fun in heaven George and please say hello to My dads old buddy Ben! Please oh please scratch the pack for me! I still treasure the time we all got to meet!

    Hugs to you and Jess too


  7. Nick says:

    I can’t believe what I am reading! My 4 year old Golden, Buddy, died exactly the same way. Fine one day, the next day, he went into kidney failure and tested positive for Lyme, He died the day after.
    Always had his shots, tick collar,etc. It happened two years ago, and up to this day, I am still totally dumbfounded.
    Nothing I can say will help, but I have been there, and just hang in there. There is a terrible injustice of having a young dog leave that way. I hope that you can find answers. I just did not get any!

  8. Sandy says:

    A friend of mine told me to read your blog. I had exactly the same thing happening with my chocolate lab last January.
    He was gone in 24 hours. Fine the day before. I couldn’t afford to keep him alive longer and put him to sleep, but my vet told me that he would not have made it. He was up to date with his shots including Lyme and lepto as well as Frontline.
    Reading your post took me back there. I am under shock. How can young dogs die so suddenly. Jack was 2 years and a month old.

  9. Ann says:

    Where do you live? I live near Joliet, IL, and lost two labs exactly the same way than your boy.
    This is so eerie. It’s like reliving what happened to them. They were brothers, and I lost both of them when they were 26 months old four years ago.
    I just can’t believe it. Nobody gave me any explanation.
    My prayers are with you,

  10. Ray says:

    You know, there isn’t much that makes me cry. But this did. I’m very glad that I had the chance to know George, if only briefly.

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