Remembering Norton

In memory of our beloved Norton Stuart

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July 9 2015 Norton was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer and given 2 weeks to live.

So many people loved our Norton that it seems only fitting to give him this little send off. A few inadequate words will never explain how wonderful he was and how much we are going to miss him.

At the end of every work day, we had this little ritual, my husband Scott would take off Norton’s collar and his awesome necklace from Aunt Carroll and he’d say ok, buddy you are off duty you can relax now. On Aug 2,2015 we did that for the very last time.

ON LOVING NORTON

Over 10 years ago, Scott said to me, if we ever have a dog I’d like to name him Norton.
Not for the motorcycle ,not for the antivirus, but for the honeymooner’s version. Heyy,hey Ralphy boy..

Of course his idea was a great large manley companion of dogliness. However what we welcomed into our lives grew to be a 12 pound powerhouse of a Havanese with the heart of a warrior. He was as small of a puppy as I’d ever seen. His whole body was a small as his head grew to be. He had the wisest eyes that could say so much with just a sideways glance. He was so small that we had to tie a bell to his collar so that we wouldn’t step on him. This wouldn’t have been hard because he was always as close as he could possibly get to my heel. He’d often follow and bump me with his nose on the back of the leg , as if to say, I’m right behind you mama. I prefered to think of him as the ultimate gentleman, he always stepped aside and let me go first.

When he grew to his adult size I would often look down to see him standing there, staring at my feet in anticipation of which direction I would go. He was a proper athlete, never losing track of my footwork.

He came to work with me every day. He sat behind my chair and scrutinized everything that happened around me . He was my good shield between me and the world. If I was approached unexpectedly , I would watch him silently step out between me and the someone he was leery of and just sit there, silently, no fanfare but definitely a presence. When he barked his head off that was much less serious, he would think, I’ll just bark till mama gives me the look or comes after me just for fun . Or the other crazy bark withheld for all that he loved accompanied by the helicopter tail wag, those of you who have heard it know what I mean. Never was there a sweeter sound.

This little man knew how to love his mama and his daddy too. When Scott would come home later than me , he wouldn’t eat till dad got home. Norton would wait and lift his head from sleep with every little sound. Until finally he would hear “that” sound and he’d throw big eyes at me and say, he is home right? Yes I’d say, daddy’s home and off he’d fly down the stairs to welcome him with happy barks and wiggles.

Sunday mornings Norty would crawl over me to get to his dad to smother him with kisses to wake him up. It was our favorite time the three of us cuddled up in bed. Norty was at his most content when the three of us were near together.

I don’t have an honest clue where the time went. Every single day this bundle of love would meet and greet and love everyone in his path. There was not even one day that he didn’t make us laugh or smile. He wasn’t an in-your-face kind of guy, he was kind of standoffish. People would end up feeling honoured when he paid attention to them. Once you were in his heart though, he never forgot you. Not once. Not ever.

Wasn’t it only yesterday that he was a bouncy young boy that I nicknamed bunny for the hop in his step. Only a second ago, he was too small to climb up and down the stairs. Only a moment ago did I have to contain him from jumping off the bed to greet daddy if he came home late.

When did his hearing diminish so that my husband would have to touch him to unleash his happy snorts and wiggles? When did I have to start to carry him because it hurt him to walk? When did I have to pick him up and take him with me so that he wouldn’t run after me and injure himself ? His heart would not allow him to leave me alone, even at his own peril.

It was my honour to carry him as he had carried me everyday, in his heart without question. I would do it from the start all over again. I wish I could. I cherish every day we have had Norton in our lives. He taught us a lot about commitment , sacrifice and love. Norton was our teacher and we were happy to be his students. We hope and aspire to love as much as he did , without judgement, without harm.

As I write part of this I have just given Norty a bath to erase the numerous veteranarian trips and smells from his mind. He is wrapped up in a towel and laying on my chest in the lazyboy chair. We often turn and meet each other’s eyes and just hold the moment, one that a camera won’t ever be able to capture. A moment of love and longing for more, which won’t ever be.

I don’t know how we are going to do this without Norton in our lives. For in every nook and cranny of our house and home and business he is there. My husband and I adored our life with Norton. The VanGogh girls will always long for the days of Norton , because even on the worst day, he was always there and with his presence, always made it better.

We will have to gather some of his strength, and we will hold on to each other and carry each other through this profound grief. We will aspire to live each day with a smile on our face and a lust for life like our Norton did. To smell every flower, to follow a scent till it ends. Somehow we know we will make it because when we look over our shoulders, he will be there as he always has been, Staring at our feet and guiding our next step until we finally meet again.

Thank you to each and every one of you who knew and loved our Norton. We thank you for showing him the love he totally deserved.

At this point I would have added a few of the silly songs I used to sing him, but I sang them to him and that’s all that matters.

To my precious boy,, I wish for you endless days of bouncing through the grass, chasing that elusive scent and finding it . Without one drop of rain , except for when you want to spend the entire day in bed in a heavenly cloud, feet up, spread out without a care or a pain in the world. Love sometimes isn’t a strong enough word.

To my husband, who considers himself a bit of a fixer and was devastated he couldn’t fix this:

You did fix it,, you were there to catch us.
Thank you for letting me share this , with you .
Kory Stuart

Norton Stuart
Aug 29 2004- Aug 2 2015

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