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Sheffy


Sheffy's Memorial
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Sheffy's memorial was created on 6/18/2009.
Sheffy was my "monkey dog" best friend for ten years. In September 2007 he was diagnosed with insulinoma, which for dogs supposedly has an eighteen month window as far as life expectancy.

For several months though, Sheffy was acting normally, but then began having periodic seizures. By the following summer, Sheffy needed a transfusion to offset a low blood count. The vets said the transfusion would probably be good for two weeks. Beyond that, I didn't know what to expect. It was then that I began a day-to-day "farewell" frame of mind, making every day count with Sheffy, given his situation.

But after two weeks he continued to do well, and not until three months later, around Thanksgiving, did he need a second transfusion. The vets seemed almost incredulous that I wanted another one, since they only gave Sheffy 3-4 weeks left to live, given the fact he had a terminal tumor. But I insisted, since Sheffy still had that bright look in his eyes, a good appetite and his playful ways.

If I wanted any wish at that time, it's that he'd reach his tenth birthday in April. And even more than that, he would see one more spring, when I could toss a tennis ball for him in the backyard.

During the long winter I was giving him very expensive pills to stablize his glucose levels. I also made him grilled chicken, his favorite. Every day was treated as a special gift, since I had no idea how much longer he would last. Spring arrived, and he was outside once more chasing a tennis ball. But Sheffy was also getting alarmingly thin, probably at half weight since the original diagnosis. But his spirits never dimmed, always racing to the window to shoo away the postal carrier at the door, or following me around even when I insisted he rest. The photo shows Sheffy at this time.

I was overjoyed to see him reach his tenth birthday. For the next month or so he was still his regular self, despite an increasingly delicate stomach and a disturbingly skinny appearance. One evening, after I made him more chicken, he began having a seizure. It was soon followed by a second--a very bad sign. I stayed up all night as the seizures continued every hour and a half. By morning I knew he had to be brought to the vet. My brother, who originally found Sheffy, was on his way to work when I alerted him by cellphone.

My brother and I brought Sheffy to the vet as an emergency visit; by this time Sheffy was yipping uncontrollably, a sign of an irretrievable breakdown. The vet urged that "we finally let him go." Sheffy had outlasted many a prognosis, but now there was no more time left. I was ruffling his furry head as he was given that final shot. "He's gone," said the vet.

I had over half a year to say goodbye to Sheffy, and I found that somewhat comforting, since many people sometimes have no warning. But missing Sheffy will haunt me the rest of my life. I still hear his bark and recall his "monkey" antics in my mind every day. We both really brought out the best in each other. I want to believe that he is now free of his illness and happily playing with a celestial tennis ball, until such time I can join him again.

BARRY R.

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