It has been a very sad 24 hours around the Hale household. Yesterday morning we were forced to take our 9 year old Catahoula/Australian Shepherd to the vet to have her put to sleep.
Marsha was an incredible dog. She had the sweetest disposition of any dog I've known as she went about her daily duties of taking care of her people. She was a friend to Kim and Logan and made their move to Texas from California much more acceptable. And, for me, she was the last bridge between my families, having lived with both during her life.
At the time I married Kim, Marsha was living with me but I was looking for a suitable home for her because I didn't think I'd be able to keep her for various reasons. First, I lived in an apartment. Second, I didn't know how Logan and Kim would accept her after having to give up their dog Kismet to move to Texas. Kim convinced me to keep her and boy were the rewards great for all of us.
Marsha, on occaison, would accompany me to work at American Airlines hanager 5 at DFW airport. I would be done with my work and go home to Keller to pick her up and bring her back. During that time there were no more than 8 or 10 people at the hangar on afternoon shift. She and I would take walks through the vast expanse and she was so happy just to be with me. The other mechanics and support people loved to have her around. (She kept the break room floor clean). One night I was asked to change a nav light on and MD-80 wingtip and Marsha watched from the floor as I worked from a ladder. When I was done, she wasn't anywhere around. My crew chief John Kilbane and I hunted through the hangar for her for no less than 30 minutes before John went up the aft stairs on the very plane I was working on and found her asleep under the last row of airplane seats.
On these trips to the hangar, and any other time she could ride in the front seat of my car with me, she would use her snout to lift my arm over her body so it would rest on her. She literally loved affection of any kind.
When she was young she could leap into the air to catch a frisbee but later on, when she entered the middle aged stage of doggy life, she couldn't jump anymore but still loved to chase balls or her kong. She would drive people nuts barking at them to throw something for her to chase.
Six weeks ago, I noticed a lump in her throat. We inquired of the Doctor and it was inconclusive as to whether it was cancer or not. Kim and I decided not to have surgery on her for various reasons. First, it would have been a lot for her to endure just to have the surgery. Second, if it was cancer, we couldn't afford to have it treated and didn't think it was right to put a dog through chemo or radiation anyway. Third, we hoped the tumor was benine and that she would continue to live a happy and love filled life for many years to come. This was not to be the case.
Two weeks ago, while Grandma and Logan were watching Marsha while we went to Denmark, she stopped eating and started getting sick on the floor, unable to keep much of anything down. We hoped it was just her emotional response to missing us which had happened before but not quite to that extreme. After we were home a week, it was apparent this was not going to get any better. Then, three days ago, she stopped drinking water. We noticed it was very difficult for her to swallow and she no longer wanted to play, let alone walk outside or anything else. Yesterday, she would stand up like it was very uncomfortable. She was obviously starting to show us that it hurt.
Dr. Cox and the staff at Southlake Animal Crossing were very, very understanding and supportive. Just around 830 am, Marsha took her last breath. I visualize her now playing with my other dogs that have passed on. Angel and Erika, Shadow and Hershey, and Annie.
Marsha, we all love and miss you so much! You brought us so much joy and I'm so grateful I got to keep you. Thank you Kim for insisting that I do. We will forever remember you and pray you will choose to live with us in the next life.