On this website you will usually find puppy stories. Stories about new dogs entering this world. They are cute, as I try to take pictures of them while they’re not rolling in their own poo. Everyone loves puppies, and they all go on to make someone’s life awesome. Today’s post is not about dogs entering the world, it is about dogs leaving this world. That is because today I received a terrible text. My brother in law’s dog, Buddy, had to be put down.
It started with an odd lump on his front leg. Buddy’s odd lump would turn out to be bone cancer. It is a death sentence to a 12 year old lab. By the time you feel lumps the cancer has usually spread to the lungs. Dogs do not show pain the way people do; the only warning sign may be a wheeze here or there; nothing at all out of the ordinary for an aging dog.
There comes a time when their humans must decide for them what is best. It is a terrible, painful decision. To keep a dog around for one’s own satisfaction would be a selfish move and a dishonor to a dog. Setting aside emotion long enough to end your best friend’s life is terrible but absolutely the best thing you can do for a dog.
I remember when Will went to get Buddy. The time had come in his life where he wanted to get a dog, and he had the time and space for one. He visited the shelters and did not find a match. He found an ad offering a lab for adoption. He went to visit the lab and came back home with Buddy! Buddy and Will were thrilled. Buddy was a rescue. I believe rescue animals know they are rescues and quickly fall in love with their humans.
One of Buddy’s favorite things to do in life was come play with his best friend Fina. Fina was my first German Shepherd. I lost Fina November 19, 2013. I wanted to write Fina her own obituary, and the right time never came. I was so sad for a day, then the next day, November 21, 2013, our B litter arrived, bringing 7 new puppies into the world. It has been nearly a year since Fina passed, and nearly every day I have thought about writing her up something. Of course, I told my friends on Facebook how awesome she was, but I always wanted to write more. I guess now is a good time, not to hijack Buddy’s story, but since Buddy and Fina are now together once again.
All dogs have quirks. Sometimes they are annoying, but everything has a quirk. Nothing on this planet is perfect. In a way, imperfections are what make things perfect. Some dogs dislike rain. Others won’t let you clean their ears. Some dislike loud noises. Many fears are adopted in the 8-12 week age range when a human reinforces a dog’s fear with human affection (don’t do this). Other times, there is a good reason for a dog’s fear. Fina used to hate being left alone. I made a mistake when I brought Fina home. I crate trained her, and when she would whine at night, I would lie by her cage and let her chew my hand. I didn’t realize it but I was reinforcing her fear of being left alone, which was natural and she would have overcome this without my “help”. As an adult she hated being left alone. This presented many issues over the years, but it was my own fault. Buddy always wanted to get out of the rain. The sound of thunder frightened him. Why was this? When Buddy was Xrayed for bone cancer the vet noticed his hind legs were full of BBs. Unfortunately, this means that at some point he was fired upon with a shotgun. We’ll never know who did this. There is never a good reason for this. Was it some jerk that wanted him off of their lawn? Things like this have taught me over the years to appreciate imperfections and celebrate differences. Anytime someone contact me for a puppy I always encourage adoption. There are all sorts of rescues in the area run by nonprofit organizations who take the time to rescue dogs. You never know what kind of situation you’re rescuing a dog from, or just how much that dog will appreciate it. They can’t speak. They can’t tell you. And they may even crap on your floor once in a while, but, they love you for it, and rescuing an animal makes the world a better place.
Buddy knew Fina’s name. Will could just say “Do you want to go see Fina?” And Buddy would bounce around. When he came to our house he would go crazy trying to get out of the car. Will would roll down his window upon entering our driveway, and buddy would launch out of the car window like he had just been ejected from an airplane’s cockpit. Afterwards, Fina and Buddy would play for hours, get filthy, and plop down on their sides together, exhausted.
Fina was awesome. She did not have all of the typical German Shepherd traits that you would expect. Of course, there is absolutely nothing I would change about her. Fina was not a protective dog. Instead, she loved people. If a stranger pulled in, she’d just hop in their car and leave with them if you let her. She sniffed. She licked. She was a mother hen. She even loved cats. If kids were over they would drive our golf cart around, and she’d just jump right in it with them. She loved going for car rides and hanging her head out of the window. Each night, when the kids went to sleep, she would walk in to their room, sniff them, and give them a tiny lick on the head, careful not to wake them. If one was not home, she would lie in their bed, waiting for their return. She was intelligent and derpy at the same time- a great blend.
This is my perspective on Buddy and Fina. Today, they are in heaven, watching us humans shed tears for them, and taking turns running around with a stick in their mouth, running through the mud, wagging their tails with their heads held high.
Rest in peace Buddy! Rest in peace Fina! Thank you for what you gave us, which was everything that you had to give.