RIP, Athelbert

smedley Stanley 012

By request, from commentor Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.) :

We had to let our dog Athelbert go on Wednesday. He was 12 or 13 and he had prostate cancer. Seems they can help people with prostate cancer, but they don’t yet know how to do it with dogs. We were with him when he went, so maybe that helped him a little. It helped us, at least.

I met him in Tela, Honduras on the beach in 2003. I brought him to the U.S. in 2005, and he lived with us ever since. He was a good friend, which is about the best thing you can say about anybody, I guess. Tomorrow I’ll take him down to my mother’s house in the country and bury him. It’s so weird not having him around. I keep finding myself thinking that it’s time to take him out or feed him. And the 200 mile trip to my mother’s house will seem unreal without him making me scratch his head the whole way down.

His name was actually Aþelbert, with a “þ”, but in a pinch, I spelled it with a “th”. It might seem odd that a Honduran dog would have an Old English name, but that’s just the kind of guy he was. He didn’t play by anybody else’s rules.

Vaya con Dios, Athelbert. I’m gonna go give my guys some extra attention now…

smedley Stanley 018
smedley Stanley 039

43 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    This is the second time today I’ve sent this.

    We who choose to surround ourselves
    with lives even more temporary than our
    own, live within a fragile circle;
    easily and often breached.
    Unable to accept its awful gaps,
    we would still live no other way.
    We cherish memory as the only
    certain immortality, never fully
    understanding the necessary plan.
    — Irving Townsend

  2. 2
    Mnemosyne says:

    What a cutie — I love the “one ear up” picture.

    Cancer is hard in pets because most vets don’t feel that it’s ethical to put an animal through the same amount of suffering we put humans through (with the human’s consent, which is where the sticking point is).

  3. 3
    Jane2 says:

    What a handsome boy….RIP, Athelbert… and condolences to the family.

  4. 4
    pluky says:

    @Mnemosyne: Absolutely. And having seen what it can do to spinal nerves, I wouldn’t wish end-stage prostrate cancer on anyone.

  5. 5
    raven says:

    @Mnemosyne: Our Raven had an anal carcinoma and we did the whole deal, surgery, chemo and radiation. It was really awful on the little dude and, while he made it 2 1/2 years, we say we wouldn’t do it again after seeing what it did to him.

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Sadness indeed, he was clearly a pooch to be remembered. Mnemosyne is right about the one ear up picture…just delightful.

    And Dick Cheney still lives. There is no justice!

    Deepest sympathies to the family.

  7. 7
    the Conster says:

    Adios Athelbert. Safe journeys, and we’ll see y’all later.

  8. 8
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Oh, Smedley, I’m so sorry. Aþelbert looks like a sweetie. Thanks for sharing your memories of him. A pup like that will leave a big hole.

  9. 9
    cbear says:

    What a cute pup. So sorry for your loss, Smedley.

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Yes but only one will go to heaven and it ain’t dick. btw all dogs go to heaven where there are tennis balls and treats.
    RIP Athelbert.

  11. 11
    PurpleGirl says:

    Those pictures are really cute, of a cute doggie. I hope all the good memories you have of him will comfort you. RIP Athelbert. (A regal name for a regal pet.)

  12. 12
    Biscuits says:

    Pets can come into our lives in the most interesting ways. So their passing can be tough, even when you know it’s coming, doesn’t make it any easier. Never cried so hard as when I had to put our beloved Mike kitty down. Sorry for your loss. He was adorable.

  13. 13
    Dee Loralei says:

    So sorry for your loss. He was special. And I loved the pics and story.

  14. 14
    satby says:

    Sorry to hear about the passing of your buddy Athelbert, Smedley. It was good (and courageous) to let him go peacefully and in your arms rather than suffer.

  15. 15
    kc says:

    What a cute pup. My condolences, Smedley.

  16. 16
    Josie says:

    So sorry for your loss. I know how hard that must have been for you, but you made it easier for him.

  17. 17
    BubbaDave says:

    My condolences, Smedley. Clearly a character, in all the best ways.

  18. 18
    Elizabelle says:

    Mumphrey: what a beautiful dog. Kind of the David Bowie of canines, with the different colored eyes. He really was photogenic. His charm shows.

    I’m sorry for your loss. Am sure he was very happy in the Smedley … Mumphrey household.

    Best to you.

  19. 19
    Ferdzy says:

    Those were irresistable ears! My condolences.

  20. 20
    WaterGirl says:

    I am so sorry. Sending you love and strength for the trip to your mom’s.

  21. 21
    RoonieRoo says:

    He looks like our Gregor, if he was yellow which made me even tearier reading your good-bye to Athelbert. I’m so sorry for your loss Smedley.

  22. 22
    eemom says:

    I’m very sorry, Smedley. Athelbert was a beautiful and sweet doggie.

    I’ve been through this twice since last fall — our two beloved doggies the same age as him (also with us since 2003) passed in November and February, exactly 3 months apart. It sucks, sucks, sucks.

    Why the best of all creatures have such short lives is a mystery I’ll never solve.

  23. 23
    geg6 says:

    Those ears! Love!

    So sorry for your loss of Athelbert, Mumphrey. He looked as regal as his name. As someone steeling herself to do the same for one of mine one day soon (not too soon, FSM be merciful), I really feel for you.

  24. 24
    Karen in GA says:

    He looks happy — he knew he was a very loved little boy.

    Rest in peace, Athelbert.

  25. 25
    maya says:

    Athelbert was a real buddy to you. The head scratches, the conversations, the routines of feeding and walking and, yes, even trips to the vet are the cement that bonds a pet with their partners. Death can’t take away any of those memories. While repairing the road today I stopped by the graves of two of my dogs. They are out on a sunny knoll next to the road. And I remembered. Sorry for your loss.

  26. 26
    Darkrose says:

    RIP Adelbert. My condolences.

  27. 27
    Betty Cracker says:

    May the memories of your time together comfort you in the coming days. My deepest condolences.

  28. 28
    WereBear says:

    Condolences on the loss of a good friend.

    Per The Far Side, every hour a truck made entirely of pressed ham drives slowly through Doggie Heaven.

    I’m sure he’s there.

  29. 29
    Ruckus says:

    Mumphrey, Sorry about your good friend Athelbert. I don’t wish cancer on any animal.

  30. 30
    Stacy says:

    Love the jaunty ear. Kind of reminds me of a beret sitting on his head at an angle. RIP little doggy.

  31. 31
    seefleur says:

    He was the flipside of our dog Emma – color him black and that’s what she was. From the expression on his face, he was well aware that he was loved. You gave him a good life and allowed him to have a good death. If only that were the case for every creature, two-legged and four-legged. My sympathies/empathy on your loss.

  32. 32
    LanceThruster says:

    As heartbreaking as this is, I am *always* happy for any companion animal that has had a good run with a loving family. You cannot ask for better.

    Sincere and warm condolences.

  33. 33
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    So sorry you had to say good bye to your good friend. In this situation, I sometimes try to focus on the kind of life I tried to give them. I am sure you gave him an awesome life.

  34. 34
    MazeDancer says:

    RIP, sweet puppy. What a wonderful thing to rescue a dog from Honduras. Many condolences.

  35. 35
    Jackie says:

    Athelbert’s one ear up/one ear down just shows he had an awesome personality! RIP, puppy. You gave him a GREAT life and that’s all we can wish for anyone we love. Jackie

  36. 36
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    They leave such big paw prints on our hearts. I hope your memories are comforting, and I’m sorry to hear of your loss.

  37. 37
    Woodrowfan says:

    I am so sorry. What a great looking dog… I’m sure you gave him lots and lots of love…

  38. 38
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    Athelbert! Great name for a much-loved dude.


  39. 39
    Kristine says:

    I am very sorry.

  40. 40
    Mary Brown says:

    Thoughts are with you. Great pictures.

  41. 41
    StringOnAStick says:

    You are such a kind person to rescue a dog from a country where dog life is short and hard; I’m sure it wasn’t easy ‘importing’ a dog. He was obviously well loved and cared for. So sorry for your loss.

  42. 42
    Joy in FL says:

    What a beautiful dog and friend. I’m so glad you had him and he had you.

  43. 43

    Hola. Thank you for all the good wishes. I just got back from burying him next to my mother’s fig tree. He’s with a slew of his comrades, a few of whom he never even met. I pulled into the driveway, and the thought popped up into my head, “Aþelbert’ll be glad to see me back.” It’ll take a good while before those thoughts don’t just pop in unbidden. He was a cool dude. I don’t know how he got the ears, but there was at least one other dog in Tela who hung around with him who had the one-up-one-down thing going, so I guess it’s the fashion down there. He made it look damned good…

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