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December 18, 2009

Goodbye Ari-Man

Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again.
And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes,
1budwhiteis certain for those who are friends.
………..Richard Bach


When you wake alone tomorrow and I’m not there with you,
Just think of all the GOOD times and THAT will get you thru.

You raised me from a PUP, you did, and it was SO much fun.
And you made SURE we always had the BEST time in the sun.

I LOVED my pool, my sandbox too, and Josie was a HOOT!
I thought she was the COOLEST friend and lots of FUN to boot!

We MOVED out to the country where I could RUN and run,
And I DISCOVERED birds and woods and had a TON of fun!

There were OTHERS living with us but you could NOT deny,
That ALWAYS and forever I was your SPECIAL guy!

We were a TEAM just you and I, and ALWAYS did our best.
We struggled YEARS to get it right so WE could pass the test.

Remember when we TRAVELED, to places NEAR and far,
And where we went we tried our BEST to ALWAYS raise the bar.

There were times we MISSED the mark & REALLY blew the game,
But THOSE times we knew for sure we had the MOST to gain.

There was a TIME my name was called, I thought I’d have to go,
But your love was oh, SO strong, I stopped and said “no, NO”.

You SAT by me and stroked my head and CRIED so many tears.
And it was THEN I knew for sure we had a few more years.

We had a few more things to do, a few more tests to take.
But SOON I knew the time had come to MAKE that final break.

I passed the torch to Brita, who GLADLY took the lead.
And so I TAUGHT her all I knew so SHE was up to speed.

I taught her all the GOOD things, like how to bite REAL hard
BUT along the way I taught her the SECRETS of the yard.

The TRAILS I made along the fence, the ONES behind the woods
The CRITTERS in the wood piles and a PLACE to hide the goods.

Then it got HARD to even walk and VERY painful too.
So it became apparent and you KNEW just what to do.

It WAS so hard, I KNOW it was, but something we both knew,
Was that DEEP down in our hearts, that, NO.. I've not left you.

No matter where you EVER go I'm ALWAYS by your side.
So keep your ears and eyes ALERT for NOW I am your guide.

So WHEN you rise tomorrow, don't THINK we're far apart,
For every TIME you think of me, I'm right THERE, in your heart.


Arsenal vom Keashaborn (Ari) CGC, Therapy Dog, BH, TR1, RN, PSA-TC, PSA-PDC, PSA-1 Novice

Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished:
you're alive, it isn't. ….Richard Bach

The rugs are gone….

….. I took them up.  They aren’t needed now.

It just got too much for Ari and when he collapsed 3 feet from where he sleeps last night and looked at me, I knew. He had hung on way longer than I thought he could and what a great end of summer and fall we had.  It really is hard to believe that three weeks ago he went along to training.  

This afternoon, Marilyn talked to him and confirmed what I thought.  Last night spirits came to help him cross but he wanted to be with me when he left so he hung on until this afternoon.  I know now why in the middle of the night Olivia and Kobie had disappeared from the living room and Joshua was thrashing in his cage

Great Lakes Vet Clinic now has a special room with couches and dog blankets where you can say goodbye in private.  It is very peaceful and calming.  I brought Ari home and will lay him to rest tomorrow next to Teddy in the spot I prepared for him.


Arsenal vom Keashaborn (Ari)
(April 21, 1999 – December 18, 2009)
CGC, Therapy Dog, BH, TR1, RN

I think when someone’s pet dies we all can relate and memories return of a special friend that we may have lost.  The sheer number of EMAIL MESSAGES, posts on FACEBOOK and a MESSAGE BOARD, entries in the GUEST BOOK at and phone calls have humbled me.  Please also read what a very good friend wrote on her blog.  Thank you all for your compassion and caring at this special time of the year. 

~~~ Laurel

Epilogue (written 12/21/09)

I received so many emails and was answering them individually.  Then I realized that I needed to put it all together so I wouldn’t miss anything.  Ari’s health challenges this year started at the end of April.  I wrote the poem in May expecting to lose him then.  He was up and down… not very far up and very far down from then until mid August.  Those ups and downs are documented in posts in this journal…. in fact, that’s why I started it – to keep track.  There is a video of him barely able to stand and each time he was bad I gave him days. 

Then the upturn until about early December.  From then on,
Ari went downhill really quickly.  My regular entries in his journal started Saturday the 5th...  before that they were sporadic.  I had an appointment for Monday the 22nd (today) for him to get his shot for his Addison’s and I was unsure whether he might need it before then so I picked the shot up in case I had to give it over the weekend.  This was Thursday...  ($63)  I assure you that I would not have gotten it if I knew how events would turn around.  So was I expecting it to happen as fast as it did….no.

Read this to see what I wrote on Friday morning before work   

And read this post from when I got home.

I wrote this to someone yesterday (12/20/09)....

I am very calm about it.  I shed SO many tears over Ari since May when I thought he was a goner that every day he was better was a blessing.  I never would have even hoped to have all the good days and times that we had since mid August until... honest to god... 3 weeks ago when I took him to training and he was doing bitework and trotting around with a sleeve in his mouth! Here it is documented on video.

Friday I had a class that was over at 1:00 and had an appointment for him at the vet at 3:30.  On the way to it I finally connected with Marilyn (my animal communicator friend) who I could tell was crying.  I asked her if she had time to contact him and her answer was “I just did”.  The conversation is on the site. I get to the vet sobbing and call them from the parking lot to tell them I’m there.  When a room is ready, they came to the van to get me and take me straight in to an exam room.  When I say “yes” after an exam by the vet, “I've made the decision”; they take me to a quiet room with leather couches and dog blankets on the floor and let me there for as long as I wanted to be with Ari.  A sense of calm came over me and I was fine, as was Ari.  There were no more tears - just talking to him as he lay by my side. In about 20 min. the vet came in. I didn't cry.  It was so peaceful.  Ari passed in my arms just like he showed Marilyn he would.  It WAS his time.  He had given me 4 extra months I didn't think we'd have.  As I said, I wrote the poem in May because I thought it would happen then but it didn't. Now, he just couldn't give me more.  It actually felt "right". 

Dr. Jeff put Ari in the van and I went to Walgreens and got some dark chocolate (that felt right also) and bought the other dogs some large knuckle bones.  Then I went to Dairy Queen for a peanut butter cup blizzard  ...Ari would have approved!

Ari IS still with me and I'll be with him again.  As my beliefs changed over the years I know that he is simply changing form and he is still all around me.... he's just not in his worn out body that was keeping him from doing all that he wanted to do.  

Do I cry...of course... when I read some of the notes people write.  The outpouring of love has been amazing.  Not only did Ari touch many lives but his passing brings back memories to people of their experiences with the loss of their pets.  Ari wanted me to get on with things and that's what I'm doing.  He and I spent so much time together when he was here because he was my competition dog I trained and traveled with.  There is a special bond I have with him that I don't have with any of my other dogs that only comes from working really, really hard together at something and succeeding.  He truly was my teacher.  He taught me that I can do anything I want to do enough, even though others say it can't be done.  He taught me how to be resilient and to take setbacks as a learning experience.  He taught me that failing is ok and if you aren't out there doing it regardless of failure, it's never going to get done.  And he taught me to make it fun, no matter what. 

This has been an incredible dog year.  First Tori came back in to my life last fall and her saga ... raising the money for her health issues was so emotional and then placing her was gut wrenching.  Then losing Teddy a few months later in February was heartbreaking, he was such a great dog...  and then 2 months later, Ari's health issues started and I thought he was gone in May, then June, then July...  and then he improved.  I knew each day was a gift not to be taken for granted. As I said before, three weeks ago I took him to training with Brita and I and he got to play with the decoy and take the sleeve and run around the yard.  We marveled at the decent weather at the end of November and I knew THAT day would be the last session for Ari.  As soon as the weather got cold I saw a change in him.  He needed to wear a coat constantly to stay warm and life was no fun anymore not being able to go outside.  I believe that is why he went now and as fast as he did.  

He lived a good life and crossed when his body wore out... you can't ask for more.  He was a great dog and touched many lives and I will miss him desperately but know for sure we'll be together again.  I refuse to be sad because it is life and we couldn't have asked for more.


Arsenal vom Keashaborn (Ari)
(April 21, 1999 – December 18, 2009)
CGC, Therapy Dog, BH, TR1, RN PSA-TC, PSA-PDC, PSA-1 Novice

Marilyn and Ari….

I talked to Ari at about 3PM 12-18-2009

Immediately upon checking in with Ari I got the impression that it was hard work to move or keep his muscles going. Shoulders ache. Elbows ache – something systemic is coursing through his body (a systemic illness or disease). Pain in left knee. Everything feels old. Brita.Ari.yard.5.5.08-44aa

Ari: (proudly) I should not have been walking this whole time, but I did it. [Marilyn’s note: He says this as though he should not have been able to even walk or get on as well as he has these past months, but he is proud of his ability to override his body and still have a good quality of life. He shows me a picture of him just lying down and watching – watching everything that is going on around him. It’s very peaceful.  He likes to be able to just sit and observe.]

Ari: They came for me last night, but I told them to go. I wanted to say good-bye [to Laurel] and the time was not appropriate when they came so I sent them away. [Marilyn’s note: he shows me a beautiful array of spirits - so light and bright… a full entourage ready to escort him to the other side, but Ari was firm in his decision to stay until he could say good-bye to you in his own way. He did not want to ‘die in his sleep’ he wanted to be with you when he left.] You are a good mom!

[Now he shows me a picture of how he will cross, it is an image of his body lying and you at his head. The body is empty/hollow and very dead and his spirit rises out of it, a feeling of floating and total release – very peaceful, very zen. He calls this “Spirit Release”

Ari: It’s okay. You’ll [Laurel] be okay. It’s time for Brita now. You’ve taken good care of me and I of you.

[He tells me it’s not just his skeletal/muscular systems failing, but also his heart and organs.

Marilyn: Ari, did you tell her [Laurel] it was time.

Ari: Not yet.  I don’t want to go, but my body says otherwise. My body is making this decision for me, but we will see each other again.  I’m going to see Teddy and we have some work to do together.  There are others there that wait for me, too.  They have been waiting a long time, because I was supposed to have left this plane already.  And I could have left, too, if I wanted to.  But I did not want to and I am stronger than myDSC04386 body, or at least I was… for a while. I love my life. I love my love [Laurel], and I love my friends [other dogs and Joshua].

[He shows me a picture of a fire or a bonfire in your back yard]

{Back end and hips are not working, poop and pee is difficult to control/hold] He says: sorry about that.

He says: He wanted to be with you today when he goes, so he waited for you.  He loves you so, so very much. You are only separated by dimension, which is an illusion. In truth you are One and neither of you could love the other any more. You have his heart. You have done right by him and you have learned much from each other. Hold on to what you know and be You.

Marilyn Tokach
Training & Behavior Specialist
Pure Spirit ~ Animal Communication, Training & Behavior Solutions
Direct: 952-226-2622
Scheduling: 952-226-2660 (Office Manager: Kimberly)
Proud Pets. Proud Pet Owners

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