It starts when you bring them home. They take over your sofa, bed, the entire house and somehow, when you’re not looking, your heart. Are they born with this ability? Do their Mamas teach them? Or is it something they read in the puppy handbook? I certainly can’t answer that question, but they all seem to have the ability.
We adopted a Beagle on February 15, 2010. They told us he came up from West Virginia with five other Beagles. There was a kennel fire and only the dogs in outside pens survived. They told us he was 3 years old and that he had been on meds for a cough. He had been adopted, but they returned him because he wasn’t a good fit. Underweight to the point of spine and hips sticking out and afraid of everything, we brought him home. Poor little guy did nothing but sleep, eat and occasionally go outside for 3 days. He was housebroken, learned his commands and eventually started coming out of his shell.
On Memorial Day weekend, just 3 months after we got him he got loose and took off up the side of the mountain with me following in sweatpants and slippers, without my cell phone. Almost an hour later he returned home. It took me a little longer. After a good drink and a bath (for both of us) we resumed our day. Later that night he collapsed and couldn’t get up. An emergency trip to the vet and several days later he returned home to recover from pneumonia. It turned out his cough was chronic bronchitis and had to be managed with meds. He also turned out to be much older than 3. This was the start of Raisin’s medical issues. Over the years there would be 3 hospital stays for pneumonia and a couple of “we caught it in time and he can be treated at home”. Change in weather, humidity and inability to test the fluid in his lungs to properly treat him were the culprits. We finally found the right meds and he was pneumonia free for over 3 years. That didn’t stop us from worrying that he wasn’t coming home every time he had to go to the vet.
At first both of us refused to get attached to him because we weren’t sure he was going to live. Somehow, when we weren’t looking, he took over the house and weaseled his way into our hearts. Instead of being afraid of being petted, he loved everyone he met and was offended if someone didn’t pet him. We took him everywhere we could. When I had a store, he went with me every day and greeted customers. Raisin told us when we were late with his dinner, when it was time to play and when it was time for bed. He was my best buddy. I work from home so he was with me all day, every day. We’d spend time outside at lunch. He and the 3 cats had a love/hate relationship. He’d chase them, they’d run. If they didn’t want to play they’d lift a front paw and Raisin came to a screeching halt (before he got smacked in the nose). Harlie watched over him like an old mother hen.
On November 16, 2015 there was another trip to the vet. He’d been on meds for what they thought was a bladder infection and things took a turn for the worse. It turned out to be an inoperable tumor. It was time to say good bye to our beloved Beagle. He visited with both of us. He knew what was going on and he was ready. He grew impatient as we said our goodbyes. Raisin had a wonderful life for the almost 6 years he was with us. The day we were always worried about had come. We went home without him.
The following days were difficult for all of us, but especially for me having to be home all day working without him. The cats were unsettled, we were unsettled. I finally got a call from the vet. We could pick up Raisin any time. I didn’t want to go to the vet’s office and at the same time I wanted Raisin to be home, where he belonged. I ran over that day after work. The strangest thing happened when I got home. An eerie peacefulness fell over the house almost immediately. Unsettled changed to calm. A beautiful wooden box with a name plate, his paw print and a few very nice cards are in the curio cabinet with his collar. Harley sat on the step next to the cabinet every day for weeks. We swear she was visiting him. She still does, but not as often. I miss him every day. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. I know he’s still here. Once in a while I feel a nose touch my leg or his fur rubbing on my arm. He weaseled his way into my heart far deeper than I knew.
We can’t thank #Douglassville Veterinary Hospital enough for going above and beyond to take such great care of Raisin.
Reblogged from My Life With Horses. Originally published 3/12/16.