The continuing adventures of "Mr. B.C." - Saying Goodbye!

June 4, 2017 - 10:33am

Saying Goodbye to Mr. B.C.

Found at Kokanee Springs Golf Resort - August 6, 1987

Put to rest - June 2, 1999.

With all the slo-pitch we played from Spring to Fall, myself, my wife Maggie, B.C. and Daina, tended to take it a little easier over winter.

Over his last winter, we noticed B.C. was really beginning to slow down, but we put it down to his age. He still loved to lay on his outdoor mat on a really cold day, and would still allow Daina to cuddle into him – she still hated frigid temperatures. His walks became shorter and his naps became longer.

By the May long weekend, it was tournament time – time for us to get busy! Load the family into the old 1973 motorhome and it was off to Mirror to play a little ball.

After our second game on Saturday, we noticed B.C.’s breathing was laboured and his heart was also doing a little extra work, even while he was asleep. The “Mascot” didn’t mind spending the rest of the weekend at the campsite, in the shade.

On Tuesday, it was back to see Dr. Lisa, to find out if B.C. had developed another allergy, or was it something else.

The news was not good.

He was still healthy in himself, but his lungs were beginning to shut down, probably from all the steroids over the years, and his heart had to work harder, to help him breathe.

I won’t go into detail, but there were a variety of drug options available for him, but all we would be doing was buying B.C. a little more time, and Dr. Lisa was very clear that side effects from whatever we chose were pretty much guaranteed.

We had more than one consultation with B.C.’s favourite vet before making our decision to have B.C. put to sleep.

It was a comfort to learn that the procedure could be done at our home, in a time of our choosing.

Before his passing day, we decided, because B.C. was not in pain – just fading away – to have a Celebration of Life.

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With B.C.’s time with us coming to an end, we decided to hold an open house on a Saturday.

We invited our ball playing friends, both past and present, other friends and of course family, to stop by during the day, have a beer or two and spend one last time with B.C.

Some of the babies born during our playing years grew up with him and he was a part of their lives as well. B.C. loved kids. He never minded the ear and tail pullings, the tugs on his fur and all the other things that kids, being kids would do. Should hot dog wieners, ice cream cones and any other treats come his way, they were always welcome.

Maggie and I were surprised that nearly 40 people from all over Central Alberta stopped by that day, and it was like he knew they were there to see him.

Sunday was a family day.

My Mom and one of her friends, who also loved B.C., headed back to Vegreville on Monday.

Monday was also bath day. Not only new Mane & Tail shampoo, but conditioner as well.

Tuesday was a beautiful sunny day and we had our friend Harley Hay pop by and take some final pictures. If you read Harley’s column in the Red Deer Advocate, you know he can be a little disorganized when it comes to any kind of job. "Oh no! I forgot this cord” or “the battery is dead on my camera” and so on.

Fortunately, this time all the gear was up and running, it might have been a first.

There was hardly any sleep in the McKinnon house on Tuesday night and much of the early day on Wednesday is a blur. There was a heck of a lot of more than second guessing about whether we were making the right decision.

Maggie and I found a lot of comfort in this letter my Mom left us before she headed back home: [see bottom]

Wednesday would be Dr. Lisa’s first of what would be a few visits to our home over the years. We just didn’t feel comfortable about leaving B.C. at the clinic and walking away.

After going over the procedure with us, Lisa asked us if we were sure about our decision. We were, and we headed into the living room.

B.C. was already comfortably lying on his blanket we kept for him in front of the fireplace. Daina was on her spot on the couch – yes, the couch. They also slept with us on the king size bed.

B.C.’s head was resting on Maggie’s lap, mirroring a picture that was taken the day we found him.

There were two injections, no pain, and B.C. was gone.

I sensed Daina knew he wouldn’t be waking up, but we wanted her there, so she knew when he left us. We did not want her outside or in another room and then all of a sudden, her best bud wasn’t around anymore.

B.C. was cremated and his ashes, picture and collar reside in our library - Sadly, no longer alone.

Daina went through a depression period. She began to lay in his favorites spots inside & outside the house. She was now Queen of the favourites location, under the dining room table. Maggie began to call her The Dowager Duchess.

Before the year was through, Daina had a new friend and companion in her life, as we adopted Molly, a Black Lab/Norwegian Elkhound cross from the SPCA.

As I stated back when I began B.C.’s , story, I realize all dogs are special, but B.C. really, really was different. I was hoping that during all the looking back that Maggie and I had done, some explanation may have come to mind.

 It didn’t.

In my Sci-Fi, Sheldon Cooper, Big Bang Theory mind, one day a spaceship will land in the yard and the E.T. would say “I heard you may have found my dog!”

In reality, B.C. still remains an enigma to us (something hard to define or fully understand) but that’s okay.

In closing, I’d like to thank Maggie for all her input. We shared many tears in looking back, but they were mainly tears of joy.

There was also a lot of laughter, and a big thanks to Dr. Lisa for all her love and T.L.C.

It’s amazing how much joy a round of golf, a cheeseburger and a few too many beers brought to our lives and to the lives of many others.

Thanks for the read. I hope you enjoyed just a small part of the life of Mr. B.C.

I finished writing this last portion of the column on Friday June 2nd 2017. B.C. left us on June 2nd 1999.

Time for a beer – Cheers!

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P.S. We’re still dogless today - but The War Department is getting anxious. She wants a bonded pair of rescue/shelter dogs, which was originally my idea, but I’m still not ready after the fairly recent passing of Sasha. But I know the day is coming. (I promise I won’t write – but will post some pictures!)

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