the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

All Dogs Go to Heaven – Carson Rest in Peace

CarsonThis is an extremely hard and bittersweet post to write. It has been a rough year for animals in the Becker household. As many of you know, earlier this year one of our cats, Sugar, passed away. Now death has struck again. This time, our beloved dog Carson suddenly passed away. Though 10 years old, Carson was generally in good health and had no life-threatening illness that Tanya or I knew about. Early last Sunday morning, he was sleeping when he suddenly yelped. Tanya and I both thought he was having a bad dream and yelled his name (which usually wakes him), but calling him had no effect. The yelps were obviously from pain, and we both ran to his side as they continued. Less than half a minute later, he was dead. We have been in shock since then, and it is only now several days later, that I can write about without tears coming to my eyes.

Carson should be familiar to regular readers of my blog. He accompanied me on many photo excursions and was featured in many of the images I’ve posted. I believe he loved these excursions even more than I did. When out on photo excursions, or out to take a hike, Carson would start whimpering with anticipation whenever we turned off a paved road to a dirt or gravel road. For Carson, gravel roads meant we were almost there.

He loved riding in the car, even if all he got to do was look out the window. Even on trips where he had to stay in the car, he’d rather wait in the car for hours than be left at home. I can still see him hanging his head over the backseat of our SUV, just happy to be along. Or, if in our small car, I can still see that big black head suddenly appear between Tanya and I, gazing contently out the front windshield. He’d get excited when Tanya or I would get out “to-go” coffee cups or when I’d bring my camera bag and tripod into the house because he knew travel was at hand.

We brought Carson home 10 years ago this month. At the time, Tanya needed a companion, and Carson was the perfect dog for it.  He took his job of keeping Tanya company very seriously. Tanya was the head of the pack (and I a distant second), and he needed to know where she was all the time. Once, when we lived in Gig Harbor, Tanya went out a second story window to clear some debris off the roof. Carson tried to jump through the window after her, and if we hadn’t shut the window in time, he would have sailed though the window and down to the driveway. In that house, ever after, he didn’t trust that Tanya would stay in the house if she was upstairs, and kept a close eye on her when she did go upstairs. Another time, in the same house, Carson jumped through (and destroyed in the process), not one, but two window screens looking for Tanya.

Carson slept in the bedroom with us (no keeping him out with Tanya in the room). Almost every night he would go over to his blanket, stand on it, and with his front paws work for 3 or 4 minutes on trying to get it fluffed up just right. Of course, since he was standing on it, he could never get it in the right position. Eventually, he’d give up and lay down on it anyway (usually with a content look on his face, ready for bed with his people). Inevitably though, he’d get up after just five minutes, too hot to be on the blanket. He’d spend the night, moving from one place to the next, looking for a cool spot to sleep. Between his moving around at night, his heavy breathing and snores, and habit of chewing bones at night, it is way to quiet in our bedroom now.

For a Newfoundland – dogs breed for water rescue – he was a strange dog when it came to water. Though he could swim very well, Carson didn’t like to go in deeper than he could touch bottom. And while most Newfoundlands are hard to keep out of water, Carson was often content to stay on the beach, or only go in for a drink. Ask him to fetch a stick on land, and he would look at you funny. Ask him to fetch a stick thrown in the water however, he’d go right after it.

Carson had the most expressive eyes, and he spoke with them much more than his voice. He rarely barked, so little in fact that many of our friends were startled when he did bark because they had never heard him do so before. But how he could communicate with those eyes. And if the eyes didn’t work right away, he’d start backing up while staring at you. I’ve never seen a dog that could back up as well as Carson. Without looking, he could back up around furniture and corners.

Carson was also the friendliest dog I’ve ever seen. He loved everyone, people and other dogs alike. One time,  we were walking in the neighborhood when two small French bulldogs escaped from a house and ran directly at Carson. They both were jumping at his neck, trying to bite him through his thick fur. He couldn’t figure out why they didn’t want to play. He wanted to play with every dog he came across. But funny dog that he was, he’d usually get tired of playing after about a minute and lay down. Yet, the next dog he saw, he’d want to play again. He was also very much a beta dog around other dogs. He had no idea how much bigger he was than they were, even the smallest dogs could boss him around.

With people, he was a gentle giant, and gladly submitted to small kids pulling his hair or ears. He loved being petted, and would often wedge his head between your legs so he was in the optimum position for you to pet his whole body. I was always worried he was going to knock someone over by doing that, as he’d press into your legs with most his weight. When out and about, he was very quick to notice when someone wanted to pet him, often before Tanya or I did. And of course, being that big, a lot of people noticed him. He brought smiles to many strangers, happy to see such a friendly dog. When going to the hardware store, we usually took Carson with us as all the local hardware stores allowed dogs on leashes in. It always took twice as long to buy things because so many people wanted to say hello to Carson, and he loved every minute of it. In fact, last Saturday we made two trips to the hardware store with Carson and he was his normal self – soaking up pets and a treat from the store employees.

I could write about Carson all day long. He was an amazing dog, truly part of the family, well-loved by everyone who met him. Tanya and I hugely miss him; and though we will likely get another dog someday, that dog will never be replaced. Carson, please rest in peace.

Enjoy these images of one great dog. You can see more images of Carson from some of our photo adventures together from last month, April 2013, March 2013(1), March 2013(2), October 2012, May 2012, and April 2012.

A young Carson, about a year old, in the wildflowers of the Columbia Gorge.

A young Carson, about a year old, in the wildflowers of the Columbia Gorge.

Another shot of the young Carson. We got Carson when he was 9 months old, so we don't have any true puppy pictures.

Another shot of the young Carson. We got Carson when he was 9 months old, so we don’t have any true puppy pictures.

Happy Carson

Carson was always happy to be hiking.  Carson had a natural mohawk-like feature in his hair, which is well seen here.

Carson, happy on another hike in 2006.

Carson, happy on another hike in 2006.

Carson in the water

Throw a stick in water, and he was all after it. Throw it on land, he ignore you. What a dog!

Classic Newfie

Here is Carson in the classic newfie pose, head down between his front paws. I swear he spend half his life in this position.

Carson and Patch

Here’s Carson with Patch (Sugar’s brother). Carson and Patch were best buddies and would often lay together like this. Carson loved riding in the car. Open the back of our SUV, and if he thought a trip was at hand, he’d lay in there for hours waiting to go.

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27 responses

  1. What a wonderful dog I am very sorry for your loss

    November 13, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    • Thank you for your thoughts.

      November 13, 2013 at 8:13 pm

  2. I’m sorry for your loss! He was a beautiful dog! RIP Carson!

    November 13, 2013 at 8:02 pm

  3. Aren’t you glad you have the photos? Though he’ll live in your hearts forever. Hike on, Carson.

    November 13, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    • Yes, and I wonder why I didn’t take more. Thanks

      November 13, 2013 at 9:41 pm

  4. Be strong, my friend. I know how painful can be losing a dog that has been a companion for a long period. Watching your shots, I am sure he has been loved so much by you and Tanya. And you are right. You will certainly have some other wonderful dogs but no one of them will replace Carson. It is always like that when you have truly loved an animal. Luigi.

    November 13, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    • Luigi, thank you so much for your words.

      November 14, 2013 at 7:15 am

  5. buyfromvegasnv

    Reblogged this on EYE ON VEGAS VIEWS.

    November 13, 2013 at 10:48 pm

  6. This is soooooo sad Joe!!! I don’t know what I would do without our dogs!!! I think most people understand the love & loyalty that exists between a dog & “his people”…. Good luck with coping with the loss, sadness & adjusting!!! Carson will be forever grateful for having such terrific owners!!!

    November 14, 2013 at 8:20 am

    • Oh thank you Xandre, from your photos I seen, I know you know.

      November 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm

  7. Sheril Foust

    Dear joe,
    my heart breaks for you and Tanya. I cried when I read your story about Carson and how much he meant to the both of you. As you know less than 2 years ago I lost both my Goldens (Dusty& Bentley) within six months of each other. I was devastated. Much like you the silence that I was left with in their absence was overwhelming. I got another Golden. Seamus. Then I rescued a golden beagle, Emma.
    You can never replace Carson, nor would you want to. I advise you and Tanya to get another dog as soon as possible. I found that although I still miss Duds & Lou, raising Seamus and then Emma helped me get over the heartache and pain of losing my furry companions. And they will always be in my heart just like Carson will always be in yours. I wish you well my friend.
    Sheril

    November 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    • Sheril, I remember when you lost Dusty and Bentley; so I know you truly know how I feel. Thank you for your kind comments. We have actually started talking about getting another dog; and while it will not be extremely soon, we could have one within the next several months. One reason will be not only to heal our hearts, but Patch (our cat) has now figured out that Carson is gone and is acting very lonely as well as us. Take care Sheril, and give Seamus and Emma all the love you can. – Joe

      November 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm

  8. When we lose our pets, it is like losing a best friend or a child. We lost 2 Golden Retrievers to cancer. We cried for days. We understand. Blessings

    November 15, 2013 at 4:15 am

    • Thank you, our crying is close to being done, at least I hope, but the hole he left in our hearts will be there for a long, long time.

      November 15, 2013 at 9:21 am

  9. Sue

    Thank you for sharing. I know you and Tanya will miss and love Carson forever. He had a wonderful home with the two of you!

    November 16, 2013 at 5:05 pm

  10. You did well, writing up this post. I know how much you must hurt. Time is our friend in these cases, I guess. What a beautiful, beautiful dog … I just want to hug him. He knew he was loved.

    November 17, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    • Thank you for your kind words. Yes, he knew he was loved, and he certainly loved us in return.

      November 17, 2013 at 6:16 pm

  11. Barb Kerby

    Joe and Tanya, We are sad to hear about Carson passing away. He was a sweet dog with a gentle soul. We will miss seeing him and petting him at family gatherings. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Love, Barb, Rex, Jes, Christine and Sarah

    November 18, 2013 at 8:50 am

    • Thanks Barb. He was definitely a gentle, lovable soul.

      November 18, 2013 at 9:06 am

  12. I’m so sorry for your loss. Hopefully these wonderful pictures bring you comfort during this awful time. He definitely was beautiful, and he sounds so sweet and gentle.

    November 20, 2013 at 8:56 pm

  13. Aiden

    So deeply sorry for your loss. Judging by your images of Carson you gave him the greatest gift any of our animals can receive – a loving and good life. May your memories of him heal in such a way that they may reside in you with peace, joy and gratitude.

    November 26, 2013 at 6:05 am

    • Thank you for your kind, thoughtful words.

      November 26, 2013 at 8:59 am

  14. Pingback: Many Thanks | joebeckerphoto

  15. Pingback: New Friends | joebeckerphoto

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