Goodbye, Bear


The puppy mill owner told me he was a bit on the mean side and disliked men most of all. No amount of socializing really changed Bear’s opinion of men, but what the lady failed to tell me was that Bear also disliked women and children as well. I felt pretty lucky that he like my sister and me. I was his person. He was okay with my sister, but she couldn’t groom him or bathe him. At least she could pet him and love him. 

I have spent the past 11 months treating Bear for a nasty chronic staph infection and bladder cancer. Nothing we did could save him from the inevitable however. With me have my immune system disorder, Bear was becoming a danger to me. I contracted staph from him last April and had to have the wound that resulted incised and drained. I was also on antibiotics for a month. As Bear continued to decline and began showing resistance to every antibiotic, I knew I would have to make the awful decision to have him put to sleep. The bladder cancer was the final straw. Bear was urinating blood and thick blood clots. He was losing weight too. It was sad to see, and I wasn’t going to see him suffer.

After preparing my sister for what needed to be done, I called and set the appointment. Bear had been on painkillers which helped him a lot. In fact, he was as bouncy as a puppy and hardly seemed like a dying dog. That made it harder to take him to the vet for his euthanasia. I loaded him into the backseat and, we started off for the final journey. My sister wept softly. When we pulled into the parking lot at the vet’s, Cheri took 3 final photos of our big Bear. Then, I helped him out of the car and went inside.  I filled out the paperwork and paid for the services. Then, it was time to take him for that final walk to the exam room.  I turned him over to the vet and her tech after he was muzzled. I couldn’t stay because if Bear was true to form, he would get very upset and begin snapping and scratching. As I have to have surgery October 3rd., I couldn’t risk being bitten or scratched. I told him goodbye and petted him briefly.  The vet and the tech both gave me a comforting hug, then, I left before the waterworks started. It hurt so bad knowing he wouldn’t ever be coming home again.   I was okay with my decision though.  I was doing the right thing for my wonderful, loyal friend. We gave him the best 3 years of his life and, we showing complete kindness by letting him go so that he wouldn’t feel pain or suffer any longer. It’s part of being a responsible pet owner. 

Yesterday wasn’t awful, but both my sister and I were subdued most of the day and just tried to get lost in household tasks. It wasn’t until I went down to clean up Bear’s kennel that it really hit me that he’s gone. I swear I even heard his collar jingle once. Zoey, my female Bouvier, won’t even come down the deck stairs, so, I’m certain she knows, in that strange way animals know, that her buddy is no longer with us. Poor Bear with such a hard life, is in a better place now. I can feel good that we gave him a wonderful life. He learned to play.  He learned to do silly parlor tricks. He learned to trust. When we got him, he didn’t even know what a dog treat was. He really did make strides. 

There will never be another dog quite like Bear and, I will also treasure the time I had with him.  That this dog, who had been so abused, could learn to love and trust again amazed me. People could learn a lot from animals.  In many ways, this dog knew he had been rescued and really seemed thankful. All he wanted was to be loved and petted, have a nice dog house with thick blankets to lie upon, and a big backyard to run in, and good food and treats too. He even learned to like being groomed.  He would come home practically strutting. He knew he was a handsome boy. He touched my heart and there he will remain.  Always, my Bear.  Someday, my buddy, I’ll meet you on that Rainbow Bridge.


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