Friday, March 30, 2012

End of the Golden Age

My bedrest Buddies
Once upon a time, there were three goldens.  They were the loveliest pack of Misfits you had ever seen.  Sounds like a lovely fairy tale.  But, if you read the REAL fairy tales, they are not always happy endings.  That's where we are now.

The youngest, but longest residing golden resident at the House of Hounds is HRH Maximillian's Princess Willow (curled up on the left).  Will joined us at 6 weeks of age.  She was the first pup I picked up from the litter and I never put her down.  I think she was a surrogate for the baby we had just lost.  Just to give you an idea, she was in a litter of 13.  We were there at feeding time.  I put her down so she could eat, she walked past her littermates and stood in the middle of the food pan.  All the other puppies were obediently lined up around the outside, not the pup I picked, she put herself in the food, and took the lion's share.  Willow was the princess and boss lady from the very beginning.  As we began to develop our pack, she let the boys know she was boss.  
Willow and Riley...how they always were.

Next came Riley.  We decided we wanted another pup to add to our pack, so we consulted the rescue pages.  GRRoW had this sad little guy on there.  He had been in foster care for a year and a half, after his original owners had decided to put him down at a year and a half because of his weight and his allergies.  Now, I have a hard time picturing this guy roly-poly, but whatever.  Anyway, he developed canine epilepsy, had bi-lateral entropia and had such severe allergies to EVERYTHING, he was bare from the rib cage down.  But he was the sweetest boy in the world.  We drove to Iowa to pick him up.  Had him on a raw food diet until we could figure out what he could eat.  Within 2 years, he had a full coat and a happy disposition.  We lost him on my birthday in 2008.  It was a horribly heartbreaking moment.  He developed cancer and we went from dx to rainbow bridge in 2 weeks. It was a very sad period in our home.
This was the night Curly came to us, it was like he had
always been here.

Then, because 2 kids and 2 dogs is not enough, we adopted Curly.  Curly was a 9 year-old curly coated red golden.  He was a stray that probably took off during the 4th of July fireworks.  He had such a hard case of heart worm, it took 2 rounds of treatment and nearly killed him.  But he was a fighter and pulled through.  Curly-Q was another hard luck case that I had to take care of.  Aside from being HW+, he also had a misshapen throat that was at a 90 degree angle and mega-esophagus - his throat does swallow all the way, if that makes sense.  So, he had to have his food blended and we spent many trips digging food and poop out of his throat when he decided to eat other things.  We thought we would give him a good life, for the nest 3 or 4 year.  My Curly boy was so tough, he made it to his 18th birthday last July, after dealing with Cancer that started in his lungs and spread to his lungs and stomach - for 2 years.  We had hoped to get a few weeks.  He was an amazing boy. 

My Willow is the only golden left.  She is 13 now.  Her hips are gone (so much for certified hips from the breeder), as is her vision.  She has developed diabetes, requiring grain free food and insulin.  Up until the last few days, she bossed the boys around, told them when it was time to settle down, when they could enter the room. Now, not many order are being barked by the princess.  I thought I wanted her to quit barking, now I find myself missing it.  This morning, I had to work very hard to get her to join the boys for breakfast.  Her coat looks horrible.  She has a terrible hot spot I can't seem to control.  I think my girl may be joining her buddies on the other side of the rainbow bridge.  I had a hard time doing my make-up this morning as I realized that "the time" was announcing its presence.  The tears just kept flowing.    She was my only pup, well Bear was 10 months when we got him.  Will was my only little fuzz ball. She was how we practiced being parents, getting up with her in the middle of the night.  The kids have never known life without her.  
Dog park, tennis ball...is there anything else to life?
I have not talked to the kids yet.  They have been through this twice, but it never gets easier.  I am not looking forward to this.  They may be property in the eyes of the law, but they are my furry kids in my heart.  Please keep our family in your prayers.  And boys, please meet Willow at the Rainbow Bridge and show her the ropes.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012