In the end, we didn't get a chance to say goodbye. As some of you know, Harry had been having heart problems in recent days; he suffered several TIA's (transient ischemic attacks) and had a buildup of fluid around his heart. With the help of blood pressure meds, however, he was basically holding his own and seemed to have several years of life left in him, his loss of eyesight (due to cataracts) notwithstanding. On Saturday evening, he began having some kind of digestive issue -- moaning, refusing to eat or drink, constantly going in and out of the dog door to try to go to the bathroom -- and it seemed serious enough that we decided to take him to the emergency animal hospital in Carroll County on Sunday morning. X-rays revealed that he had somehow swallowed a metal screw, so we asked the docs to remove it from his stomach. Given Harry's advanced age (he was already 7 when we got him from Jack Russell Rescue in 2004) and heart issues, surgery was a calculated risk, but we really had no choice in this case. Harry had the surgery on Sunday afternoon and seemed to be doing well, and we planned to pick him up this morning. Last night at 10 p.m., the hospital called to tell us that Harry had gone into cardiac arrest. They tried open-heart massage, but couldn't get his heart going again for more than a couple of seconds. Obviously, Nicky and I were both devastated that Harry had to die in an unfamiliar location, and in such a manner. But what could we do?
Having come from a home in which a man treated him poorly, Harry was understandably skittish around me when we first got him. Once, he even bit me on the nose when I leaned over him and accidentally disturbed him from his sleep. But over time, we developed an... interesting synergy, I guess you would say. Certainly, the little "howling routine" in which he and I participated was unique to us.
We'll always love you, Harry. Rest in peace.