1978 – 1/13/98
(20 years old)

… in loving memory

What can you say about a dog that lived for 20 years? We are deeply grieved by the loss of Crystal. She was in our family for a very long time—from way before we were married—and we're very grateful to have had her for so many years, but it's still very difficult to deal with.

As a young dog, she was so playful and smart! Jacki's sister taught her to bark 3 times to say "I love you"! You could say, "Crystal, say, 'I love you'!" and she'd bark 3 times! Gorden later asked how we know she's not saying "bite my butt"! So then he'd say, "Crystal, say, 'bite my butt'!" and she'd bark 3 times—it was one of those funny, but loving, memories that have come back to us since losing her. We also realized just how long it had been since she was able to do this.

Crystal became blind and deaf a few years before she died and for the last two years had started losing her kidney function. She was diagnosed with kidney failure and was only getting worse and worse. She'd lost a lot of weight (from 13 lbs. down to 9 lbs.) and had about quit eating. Putting her to sleep was the hardest decision we ever had to make, and we struggled with guilt for several days afterwards. We eventually realized that we did the only kind thing we could do for her.

Crystal brought so much joy to Jacki's life especially, as she was a gift to her shortly after her father passed away when she was 18. She stayed with Jacki's mother when she moved away from home since that had become Crystal's home, then we got her back after Jacki's mother passed away in 1991, so she spent her remaining years back with her original "mom"—Jacki…

We both stayed with her right to the end—we just couldn't leave her alone. Jacki held her hand up to Crystal's nose so she'd know she was still there. We will never forget that experience—it was so very painful. Gorden's father had built her a little wooden coffin, and we buried her in our back yard. It gives us some comfort to think of her at peace finally—for the past 6 months or so of her life she walked constantly like she couldn't get comfortable. Sometimes the walking was because she couldn't find her "night-night" (bed). It helps us now to think that she's already in her night-night and won't have to hunt it ever again…

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