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And many tears were shed

June 16, 2016

Let me tell you a story…a true life story.  A yellow lab puppy entered our lives in June of 2008, the summer after my son’s 1st birthday.  Our current dog, Cody, had started the slide out of life after we had to put his companion down for health issues.  So we found another dog to not only by our child’s companion but to also give Cody something to live for…the former work but not so much the later.

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The puppy was 4-6 months old.  I found him on Craigslist and it was a good thing too.  We discovered he was living in a condo with no yard.  We suspect that the male owner beat him with a brush because he was terrified of males…he also never allowed us to brush him but always scrambled away in panic.  I named the puppy Kory, short for Korybantes who were the protectors and teachers of Zeus.  My wonderful husband quickly won the dog over, however he never lost his abandonment or anxiety issues…he hated to be left alone.

He was our son’s companion and ever in the backdrop of our lives.  We took him as many places as possible because he was happiest when he was with us.  He was there for Christmases and birthdays, Easters and playtime, watching over our child.  Watching him play in the snow, going for train rides and just cuddling.

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One time we tried to provide him with a companion that needed a home.  The encounter didn’t go well as the small dog took part of his ear off.  Kory never retaliated but did loose his tolerance for others dogs.

He grew to love my husband and was patient enough, that he wore down the resistance of two dog-hating cats.  He’d generously share his pillow with them and sometimes even give it over entirely to them.  He tolerated my growing son’s enthusiasm and occasional over exuberance with aplomb.  He watched over the boychild as he grew from an infant to a toddler to a little boy to a not-so-little boy.  Sometimes he watched up close and other times from afar, but always nearby, always at least near the action.  Sometimes from above and other times right on top.  Yet he still took the time to check up on Hubby and I.  If we all were spread far apart such as at Dragonfest work weekend or branding, he would do his circuit going from one family member to the next continually until we were all together again.

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About the winter of 2014, we started to notice that he was having a harder time standing up or sitting down.  We took what measures we could.  That summer we realized that walks and hikes were out of the question as they left him miserable for days.  We found him laying on pillows more, sometimes in the oddest positions.  We still tried to take him camping with us, but it was getting even more difficult upon him and having to leave him behind made him very unhappy and anxious until we returned.  The stresses started showing in his fur leaving him more white than yellow.  He got to the point where he’d hop up and down the stairs…a 100 pound dog hopping up and down the stairs was a funny sight…and a sad one.

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Earlier this week I took him to the vet as Kory was having some skin issues that I couldn’t get cleared up.  That was a contact allergy to some unknown substance.  The bigger issue was the doc noticed that his knees were clicking or popping and diagnosed arthritis.  I suspect this is also the case with his hips.  He told us of the various drugs that we could try but that there was no guaranty that they’d work or how he’d react to them.  Like most dogs it is very difficult to get him to take medication.

I took him home to the family and we discussed the options.  After discussion and a few tears, it was agreed that his quality of life has been sliding down hill for a while and this wouldn’t improve things.  We decided to remember him as he is now instead of watching that slide down the hill.  We decided to let him go.  Even more distressing for me, my 9 year old child wanted to be there for that process.  I know that we made the right decision logically but emotionally I felt and feel guilty…as if we took the easy way out.

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And oh the way wasn’t easy, either emotionally or in reality.  Despite his infirmities or maybe because of them, he was a very strong dog…a very strong dog that did not like a needle being shoved into his leg.  I will leave out the details.  Suffice to say, I sent my son out of the room, but stayed so that he knew that there was a loved one with the dog. This will be the last time I use that vet, even if he is the closest by about an hour.  I sobbed the entire time, telling Kory how good he was, how he will now be out of pain and have no more anxiety.  It sucked.

We cried.  I posted a photo essay on Facebook.  We cried.  We sat in the sun and talked then started to move on with our day.  Yet we found ourselves falling into our old routine and calling for the dog…who was no longer there.  We cried.  Then when I got home from work that night and showed Hubby the photo essay, he cried.  Which made me cry.

We were not perfect companions for Kory, but we tried and we loved and we will miss him.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 17, 2016 4:20 AM

    i’m so sorry. that’s such a hard thing to have to do, harder yet if you don’t have the right vet. how wonderful for kory that he had the right humans for most of his life after his rocky start.
    khairete
    suz

    Like

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