Nearly everyone has lost a beloved pet, so nearly everyone reading this will know how gutted we feel right now. Our girl Schatzi died early Wednesday morning. She was eleven years old and healthy. We thought we’d have her companionship and love for a few years yet, but she fell in the pool overnight and drowned.

Guilt? You know it. Why didn’t we do this or that, why didn’t we wake up and check on her, why did we ever feel we deserved to have such a precious little life in our hands? There’s no way to ignore those horrible feelings; we can only hope time dulls the blade.


It’s extraordinarily difficult to write about losing Schatzi, to share this very personal grief with others. To some degree, though, it’s my way of coping.

We took her to a local pet cemetery and picked up her ashes this morning. She’s in a little cedar box on my desk, in the very spot where she kept me company as I worked, from which she scanned the yard for coyotes and squirrels.

My friend Ed and I worked on my motorcycle yesterday morning and part of the afternoon. It helped, but the gloomy thoughts came rushing back at night. The little cedar box may help as well; it may not. We’ll see.

Our other dachshund, Maxie, the one we adopted a few years ago, is not as physically affectionate as Schatzi was. She’s not a lap dog, but she does like to curl up between us in bed at night, and that is some comfort. She’s probably ten years old … no one knew her age when we adopted her, so that’s a guess … but in any case she’s well into adulthood and will stay forever Maxie, a good girl but not a sidekick.

I’d been planning another mini-gypsy run, a week-long motorcycle tour of Arizona, Nevada, and northern California. I considered canceling, but now think it’ll be good for me, so I’m going after all. I leave on Sunday, May 21st and will return the following Saturday, May 27th. When I get back I may start looking for another dog, probably another dachshund, this time an adult in need of a home. Donna’s not ready to think about such things yet, but may be by the time I get back.

Fuck me. I just read this aloud to Donna and started crying. I’m sorry to dump all this on you. Thank you for understanding.

© 2017, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.


6 thoughts on “Schatzi

  • Dear Paul, Donna too (of Course)
    You’re not dumping anything on me, you’re just sharing this with your friend(s). And of course I understand your thoughts and the feelings you both have. I had something like this happen to me in 2011. I had to make a sudden but urgent business trip to the US after Hanneke decided to leave and had my labrador girl “snoopy” with me in Germany. My landlady was kind enough to offer to take care of Snoop while I was gone. At that time I lived in Berlin in a highrise apartment. The landlady had known snoopy for quite awhile and they both loved each other very much, so I left confident that Snoop was well taken care off while I was gone. While I was in the states the neighbour of my landlady called on my cell and told me my Snoop had passed away caused by an accident. The landlady had called for the elevator at the 6th floor to go for a walk with snoopy and was waiting for the elevator to arrive. The elevator arrived and the door opened and Snoop, used to this elevator stepped right in while the landlady was chatting to her neighbor lady. Then someone at the groundfloor pushed the button for the elevator to come down, the door closed and the elevator went down and strangled snoop with her own leash. The moral of the story is that I could never forget that I had left my beloved dog for an “urgent” business trip.. Believe me I understand your sorrow an grief…started crying when I read your story. Sorry but I had to share this with you because I knew you’d understand.
    Hang in there my friend(s) time will heal this horrible wound.

  • I feel your pain.

    Long story short, I held out a chicken drumstick to Gromit our beloved Sheltie in 2008. (stupid, I knew better)
    HE yanked it out of my hand and chocked to death in front of POM and all the hashers.
    It was HORRIBLE and I still can hardly talk about it. Couldn’t go to work for days.

    Pets are soooooo wonderful and give nothing but love. Get another dog, it will help you
    and Donna.

    Cry as much as you want. We all understand

  • Oh man, Paul, how horrible! I’m so sorry, it makes me cry, too! It was an accident, try not to beat yourself up – Dad told me that once. Sending you lots of love!

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