Dog’s Purpose (according to a 6-year-old)

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experienceThe next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are Shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.” Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”Live simply.Love generously.Care deeply.Speak kindly.Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
  • Take naps.
  • Stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp, and play daily.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Welcome Riley

Welcome our new little boy – Riley!

Our new little boy, Riley arrived November 17, 2007 at 3:18 p.m. He checks in at 11 inches tall and a healthy 9 lbs. Riley was adopted from DownUnder Labradoodles where he was born on Saturday, September 22, 2007 at 1:30 am to proud parents
Hannah and Apache.

Puppy and parents are all doing well, although the same cannot be said for the wood floors Riley has been christening.

Goodbye, Jake.

Jake - curiousOur dear, sweet, lovable, best-friend-in-the-world, puppy Jake died this morning. We were with him and held him to say goodbye.We got home last night and the first thing we noticed is that Jake wasn’t barking by the door. In fact, he was just standing upstairs and really didn’t express interest in coming down to greet us. We went upstairs to check on him and noticed that he ad lost his breakfast all over the upstairs hall, and from its appearances this must have been soon after he ate. We first reacted as though it ws just some stomach bug and that he was listless because of it. We gave him a little bit of water and went downstairs to eat. Jake actually came downstairs and started looking more normal. I took him out and all indications were that he was just a little run down from a stomach bug. During dinner, he started to vomit again. This happened several times, and the distress that Jake was under started to concern us. When we later went upstairs, Jake wasn’t interested in following us. In fact, he was lying under the coffee table and wouldn’t move. We were worried that he was getting dehydrated and decided to take him to an emergency veterinary hospital. Soon after his initial exams, we discovered that the doctors were concerned about his heart. His heart rate was very elevated and they started to run some test to determine why. Then we discovered that he had a significant fluid build-up around his heart which was causing arrhythmia. They drained the fluid from around his heart, barely avoiding cardiac arrest last night. This made him far more comfortable and allowed them to continue running more tests. The concern at this point was a tumor in his heart. Since we were exhausted and it was starting to snow and sleet, we left the hospital late last night while they continued their diagnosis. The report this morning was not good. Jake’s arrhythmia continued and could not be controlled with drugs. He was in danger of cardiac arrest and they wanted instructions from us. We rushed back to the hospital this morning to be with Jake and to talk more with the doctor. Although it wasn’t conclusive, from the initial sonogram when they drained the heart fluid and the X-rays taken last night, all indications were that he had a tumor in his heart and probably one in his spleen. (Evidently, these types of tumors are common in Goldens and German Sheppards.) The likely tumor in his heart left us little choice and we didn’t want to see Jake in pain or go into cardiac arrest alone in the house. It seemed like right thing to do was to say goodbye this morning.In the end, we realized that last night we saved him from cardiac arrest at home which gave us a bit of time to prepare. Although these things are never easy, Jake was a loving friend who was with us for 11 years. We will miss him very much, but realize that the suddenness of it all was a blessing.(I’ll post more memories of Jake when I get past the more immediate pain.)

Support from unexpected places

My dog Jake seems to know how upset I have been these last few days. He’s been following me around more than usual and pushing his nose under my hand to force me to pet him. When something triggers a bout of sadness or a bit of weeping, he immediately comes running. Thank you, Jake.