Guest Blogger: Trishia Brinkman,
ICU Nurse at Southern Colorado Veterinary Internal Medicine
I know that while I may spend many a waking moment prioritizing and embracing this concept, the whole human-animal bond thing is not something everyone grasps. I mean, I am going to be talking about a dog here. However, I also know I have a tremendous amount of people who will read this and totally understand why I took the time to write it out. I truly thank all of you for your support.
Five years ago this enormous, naughty black lab wound up at the shelter. I happened to stumble into this shelter and long story short; Chandler quickly found a home. He settled into his new digs rather well, instantly making good buddies with his brother Zeus and leaving his melancholy sister Kahlua to herself. She was the only dog he ever paid much respect to in terms of personal space. Always too friendly a guy and constantly trying to hump every dog he ever met no matter how hard I tried to break that lovely habit. Shortly after he came to us we also discovered his affinity for all things food, and as we soon found out, ALL things could become food to him. This would start a trend of many a foreign body surgery to remove various items of clothing, bath towels and stuffed animals. SOCKS were his favorite. He became the most expensive dog and my most favorite pain in the ass I’ve ever loved.
He coped well when he lost his house buddies back to back a few years ago and was spoiled rotten as the only dog in a house where dogs rank pretty high. When the time came to bring a new friend home we rescued another black boy we fondly called Kevin. The next years proved to be a story of the tightest bond I’ve ever seen between two dogs. Chandler was impressively patient with his young boisterous pal and Kevin worshipped the ground he walked on. They were frequently caught snuggling together; Chandler always using Kevin as a cozy pillow.
Unfortunately, no matter where we hid them Mr. Chandler just couldn’t quit the socks. On one occassion he wound up with a few scary complications when one such sock wasn’t passing through so well. He ended up doing hard time in ICU and had a couple days stay at the best vet in town. After he recovered and came back home we noticed things just weren’t quite the same. We learned he had both laryngeal paralysis and spinal neuropathy shortly after. Luckily, not only do I have access to amazing veterinary care but since we think of these silly mutts as our kiddos, decisions were made easily. We did whatever we could to fix him up and keep our thousand-dollar boy comfortable.
For the next year and a half Chandler was happy. He wasn’t getting around too well but he still played with Kevin, ate whatever food we put in front of him and always enjoyed a good car ride to the dog park or trip to work with me. A few months ago, we noticed his deterioration. He wasn’t getting up at all without assistance, he fell down often and really could only be an actual dog if his humans were around to help him do so. We were walking him around the house with a high-tech harness that resembled a bright blue bikini and basically made him a 100lb purse. I’ll admit it was hard on us, a literal pain in our ass at that point, but mostly, it was getting hard on him. In my line of work, I spend a lot of time thinking about the quality of a dogs life. They just don’t get enough years under their belts to have to spend a whole lot of time suffering. We wanted to do right by our old man. Many emotional and tearful conversations and story swaps later, we finally made that tough decision.
Kevin will have some adjusting to do without his big bro and we’re gonna miss our naughty boy terribly. He’s most definitely running around somewhere, eating everything in sight and trying to hump all his old buddies who’ve gone before him.
OK, let’s wrap this up.
We had a good week leading up to his last day. Chandler got Outback steaks with every dinner, lotsa couch time and sooooooo many pets and rubs. Before we said our last goodbye, he got to eat many Cheeze-Its, king size Reeses PB cup and Snickers candy bars. And last night before we laid in bed, I fed him one last SOCK.