July 22, 2005 – February 2, 2018

This is a post adapted from my Facebook page from January 29, 2020, which I had originally written two years prior.  I received so much positive feedback from it that I am repurposing it for my blog.  Rufas Barker Henderson would be pleased with me doing this.

On Monday, January 29, 2018, Rufas and I went to the DVM’s office. Rufas had had his 12 ½ year old physical the week before, and his lab findings revealed he was anemic.  Dr. Hinkle, the DVM we usually see, wanted to do some additional studies to find the underlying cause and subsequent treatment.  Unfortunately, an x-ray and ultrasound found a tumor in his stomach. I was devastated and disappointed, but not surprised. The tumor was about 12 cm. Dr. Hinkle said he was 99.9% sure it was cancer.

If Rufas were a person, he would be between 77 and 114….what a range! Dr. Hinkle said he was probably between 95-100 in human years.

We decided not to do anything, other than comfort measures. Even if he was on the low age end at 77, I didn’t think it’s the right thing to do, nor did Dr. Hinkle.

Rufas got a B-12 shot that day, and plans were to continue weekly for a month. One of the techs planned to come the next week  to show me how to give the shots, so he won’t have to go in just for that.  He would get supplemental iron daily from there on out; it must have been yummy, because he loved it.

Dr. Hinkle said Rufas obviously enjoyed  life and felt pretty good, especially for his age. He believed  the tumor would  eventually rupture and that would necessitate putting him to sleep.

(This is one of my favorite pictures of Rufas. {You can see Bashia’s hind quarters in the background.} I took it about two weeks before his 12th birthday. Note the way his front paws are crossed: I’ve heard James Robinson, DVM, say many times, “Any time I see a dog with his or her front paws crossed, I can be just about 100% sure they are content. They’re saying, ‘All is right in my world.'”)

This is my next Facebook post, which originally appeared on Facebook on February 2, 2018.  I posted the original post again on February 2, 2020.  I’ve slightly edited it here.

On the cold and snowy morning of Friday, February 2, 2018,  I made the difficult decision to have Rufas put to sleep. Because of the cold temperatures the night before and that morning, Rufas  and Bashia slept in the laundry room. Around 4, I awoke to the soft sounds of him barking. By the time I grabbed my robe and got to him, he was near the door, near some reddish liquid. I couldn’t tell if it was vomit, urine or fecal matter. And it may not have come from him, I don’t know. At any rate, Rufas had a wonderful breakfast, and I would never know there was a thing wrong with him, other than some arthritic and aging hips.

I decided that was the day after the above incident, worrying about the weather, what I would do if his tumor ruptured in the midst of a future blizzard, who I could call on to help me, road conditions and vet office staffing in any future blizzard, etc. And now is as good a time as any to say that Bob Dubay has been terrific in coming to lift Rufas in the car several times. I so appreciate Bob.

Rufas had a great day the day before; he had a vigorous appetite. He heard something outside the afternoon before and was barking. I went to see what was going on; when I opened the door, he trotted rapidly toward me. I didn’t know it would be the last time I’d see him trot….nor the last time I’d hear a loud bark. (He usually barks pretty softly.)

I first met Rufas at Diane Judy’s house in the summer of 2007. Diane was my breeder; she died around Thanksgiving of 2009; I still miss being able to call her and tell her what was going on with my dogs. I no longer remember the reason I was at her house, but I remember what happened when I met Rufas….Diane and I were outside talking when I felt something warm and wet on my leg. Rufas marked me!  She told me that Rufas, a retired show and stud boy, was for sale.

I decided around mid-October of that year to buy Rufas for Vera’s first birthday. It wasn’t quite love at first sight from Vera’s end, but it sure was from Rufas’ end! Since then, no more birthday gifts, though!

I remember bringing Rufas home on approval; Diane had said I could return him if it just didn’t work out. My good friend, Cookie McKinney came by that afternoon to see the new arrival. I was already calling him “Ruffie” and “Ruffles”, as I often have over the years. Cookie said, “You’re calling him such terms of endearment, he’s here to stay.” And indeed, Mr. Rufas (as I started calling him several years ago) was.

Most of the time, Rufas would rather be outside than in. His retired show dog manners served him (and me) well. Anytime I had to leave him at the vet for groomer or to donate blood (Rufas donated blood several times), he would whimper and whine…..those little noises just torn my heart out, much like the decision to put him to sleep.

After making the arrangements at Robinson Animal Hospital, I called Bob to come and lift him in the car for his final ride. I was standing at my kitchen window waiting for Bob, when I heard an interesting sound….Rufas’ toenails tapping in my kitchen. He had wandered from the laundry room (I thought the door was shut) to my kitchen, and was trolling for treats, which he got. He ventured to and from the kitchen several times, and I was almost ready to second guess my decision.

Bob came just a few minutes afterward; Rufas leashed up and walked to the car, tail wagging slightly. I’m not sure if I dropped his leash when Bob started to pick him up, or what but Rufas quickly high-tailed it back to my front porch. He knew something was up! I know God works in mysterious ways, but I so hope that wasn’t God trying to tell me Rufas had time left. God, if it was You, next time, please speak louder!

Bob followed us to Robinson’s and lifted Rufas out of the car. Rufas was anxious to sniff the parking lot and sidewalk; another customer came up to him and loved on him (which he enjoyed immensely). I had a long talk with Alison Khan, DVM, about Rufas’ status, quality of life, etc. I showed her a picture of the vomit/urine/fecal matter; she felt it was vomit with blood in it. I don’t think Rufas was feeling great physically, but I don’t think he was feeling horrible. I think he was worried about me, sensing I was upset.

I spent some time alone with Mr. Rufas and left the room after one final hug and “I love you, Mr. Rufas, more than you would know.” Laura (one of the fabulous vet techs) stayed with him and loved on him, so he wouldn’t be alone. In the hall, Dr. Khan hugged me, told me I made the right decision and that Rufas was lucky to have had me. She put him to sleep in his room.

(When I had Sheila put to sleep in 2015, James Robinson, DVM, told me, “I’ve known you for over 20 years. I know how you are. You are welcome to stay in the lobby, but you’re not going to do yourself, Sheila or us any favors if you watch me put her to sleep.” I trusted James’ judgement then, and I do now, as well. So that’s why I left before Rufas was put to sleep.)

Rufas lived a good life.  I miss him, two years later.

Rufas Barker Henderson

Date of Birth:  July 22, 2005

Date of Adoption:  October 22, 2007

Date of Death:  February 2, 2018

3 thoughts on “Rufas Barker Henderson

  1. Your 4-legged children have so much personality and love. It’s hard not to want to be a dog owner. Your fierce and loyal love make you the perfect dog owner/mother. And they give it back.

    Thanks for sharing your heartfelt thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

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