Friday, May 02, 2014

Adopted dog leaves us after a year of peace.

It was just over a year ago that my Dad's old dog, Buddy, came to live with us.  He was blind for years, did not hear well, had serious skin issues and his arthritis was pretty bad.  Dad just could not take care of him anymore with his own health issues handicapping him.  So rather than euthanize Buddy as Dad had feared was necessary, we loaded him into the van with our 3 other dogs for the 7 hour drive upstate.  For a dog who had rarely been out of his own backyard and never liked us much he handled it pretty well.  My dogs spent the ride plastered against the walls to stay out of his snap-zone and did their best not to touch him.

Over the next few weeks Buddy adapted amazingly well and began to enjoy his close encounters with the Labradors.  He was still a cranky old man, but he began to mellow out and take an interest in his new surroundings.  We had a host of health problems to deal with which kept us busy, but even those eventually got under control and life became a new normal.  Buddy began to enjoy his daily walks and accept direction from us much more amicably.  By late summer he was melded into our pack and our lifestyle.  He began to enjoy walks off-lead (his choice - "Don't tell me what to do.  I can do it myself!"), taking himself slowly around our hillside property, gently bouncing off of obstacles without issue and smelling new smells.  His crankiness waned and he rarely snapped at anyone or the air anymore.

Winter was long and cold.  Although he enjoyed the snow and cold weather more than the heat, he was clearly aging with each passing month.  His arthritis got worse and he could no longer stand without help.  His breathing began to be congested.  Eventually he lost the fun in walking himself, sometimes falling, and preferred to stay on lead.  Buddy said "Jump" and we asked "how high?".  Finally on April 24th he lost his will to go on, collapsed and let us know he was done being a dog.  The vet suggested a number of conditions which could cause his symptoms, but we were not up for any of the tests and drugs that would only mask some issues while causing others with no hope to fix his condition.  I asked Buddy what he wanted.  He said he was ready to rest.  We kissed him good-bye and held his head as he departed.  I am surprised how much I miss this cranky old man.  He had worked so hard at his self-appointed job before he came to us and yet he managed to carry on his work and teach us lessons while he was here.  It was a good year Buddy.  We are glad you came.  Rest in Peace.