Raisin’s New Life

Little by little Raisin was coming around. There’s less cowering and more tail wagging. As he started to put on some weight and feel better he became more active. He was learning how to play with his toys and harass cats a little. The weather was getting nice and he wanted to lay on the deck in the back yard while I was working. I’d check on him once in awhile and found him sunning himself. Raisin was finally starting to relax and enjoy life.

It was Memorial Day weekend 2011. It  was such a beautiful day we decided to sit on the front porch and have coffee/tea. We put the baby gate at the entrance so Raisin couldn’t get out. There was a 2 1/2′ wall on one side and the rest was fenced. He could sit out with us and enjoy the pretty morning without being on a leash. We opening the door to go out. Raisin ran out the door and came to a screeching halt at the baby gate. He looked around, quickly turned left and over the wall he went. We were in shock. How did that little sickly dog with bad legs scale that wall? Over the wall I went. Up the hill into the woods in slippers and sweats. I could hear him baying as he gained ground. I followed him thru places only a rabbit could fit. I followed his baying over the mountain, down the other side. I called and called. No use. That nose had him and wouldn’t let go. I was in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone. I was soaked and exhausted. I finally caught up with him at a small creek. I called him. He wagged his tail and took off … nose down, tail up and baying. At least he was heading toward home this time. The baying stopped and I had nothing to follow. The only thing I could do is head home and see if he showed up. I finally made it to the road. Easier walking. Greg met me on the road and said Raisin was home. 45 minutes after this fiasco started, it was over. Raisin and I was soaked to the skin and filthy. It was 7:30 am. I’d already had my exercise for the week and almost no coffee. As much as I wanted to collapse, Raisin and I headed to the bathroom. Raisin got his bath and I handed him to Greg for drying while I showered. We spent the rest of the morning relaxing while Raisin slept in his bed.

By late afternoon Raisin couldn’t get up. I called the vet and they said to come right away. The on call vet would meet us there. We explained what happened as Dr. Geoff examined him. Raisin’s chronic cough turned into servere pneumonia because of his morning dash. He had to stay in the hospital. It was going to be touch and go for a few days.

How Do They Do It?

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.

Raisin

We were without a dog for almost a year when I really started to miss having one. Greg convinced me that we should get a Beagle.  He said they were just like Labs, only much smaller and manageable. A local shelter had received about a half dozen Beagles from West Virginia. It was a cold Saturday in mid February and after being snowed in for several days, we were ready to venture off the property. When we got to the shelter most of the Beagles were already adopted. They said Beagles go quickly. There was a smaller male that was under weight, a bit sheepish and wore a cone of shame since he’d recently been neutered. We asked to see him. I took him outside for a walk and to spend some time getting to know him. What a different dog! He strutted with his head held high in the too big plastic e-collar. He was very friendly and wanted to be fussed over. We really liked him, but decided to go to another shelter to see what dogs they had before we adopted one. I walked him to the door to go back in, opened the door and he put on the brakes. He wasn’t going back inside. After a little struggle I did get I’m inside.

At the other shelter there was only a young female Lab and she really had no interest in me. We left and stopped for lunch. We decided to go back to see the Beagle again. If he was still there, we’d adopt him.

He was still available! After I had finished the paperwork and paid the adoption fee they told us he had been adopted by a young couple but he wasn’t suitable and they returned him after a few days. Oh boy – lets hope it was just a mismatch. They also said the information that came with him was that he was 3 years old and fully housebroken. We saw him come out of the back but he didn’t see us right away. When he did his head shot up and he started to run toward us. At that moment he was probably the happiest dog in the world. He pranced out the door and across the parking lot to the truck that waited to take him to his new home to start his new life. He strutted around Petco like he owned the place as we picked out a collar and leash, a crate, a bed, food and some toys.

We took our new dog and all of his belongings in the house. The introduction to Harlie, Indy and Mouse went better than I expected. The cats seemed to take to him right away. He found his bed and laid  down in it. And there he stayed. For the next three days he did nothing except sleep, eat and go outside once in awhile. Greg was starting to think we made a bad choice. I was hoping he was exhausted from everything he’d been thru. Tired, underweight to the point of his spine sticking up with slightly deformed back legs, he was our new dog and he was here to stay.