February 22, 1995 to December 5, 2007
I adopted Courtney on December 31, 2001 from Desert Labrador Retriever
Rescue in Phoenix, AZ, where I lived at the time. She was on the
website for about 6 months and was hard to place because she was almost 7
years old at the time and people were looking for dogs in the 2 to 4 year
old range. However, the moment I saw her photo, I knew she and I were
meant to be together. It was also thought she had hip dysplasia and
would need a lot of medical care, but in the end, she was just overweight.
She weighed close to 125 pounds when I adopted her, and after changing her
food and taking many walks and hikes, Courtney settled in at 76
pounds, a much happier and healthier weight for her. At her lighter
weight, her hip problems disappeared.
In July 2003, we found she was diabetic, most likely caused by lots of
people food in her earlier years. On our first visit to the vet we
were using at the time, the first thing offered to me to help her was to put
her down. I walked out of that vets office and never went back.
Instead, I found a vet, Dr. McComb, who helped me learn how to give her
insulin shots and manage her diet. I had always promised to take care
of her no matter what, and diabetes certainly wasn’t going to be something I
was going to let cut short her life.
Courtney soon became known as Lovie Doggie, Lovie for short. She loved
a good car ride, walks, hikes, and was always great out camping. She
wasn’t much for water or the pool, and preferred an air conditioned home
when the weather got warm. She was a social girl – always in the
middle of whatever was going on. It was a very common occurrence to
have friends over, everyone sitting around and talking, with Courtney laying
right in the middle of the group. She loved the attention! The
worst thing you could do to her was leave her alone for long periods of
time, so she went with us pretty much everywhere we could take her.
In March of 2004, we added my son Alex to the family. Lovie was
immediately attentive and casually protective of him. She’d always
sleep outside his door during nap time, and let us know if he’d been crying
for too long. She took his poking and prodding’s in stride, never once
snapping at him, or anyone else for that matter. Whenever she became
annoyed with anyone or anything, she would simply walk away. If only
we humans could learn that skill.
In December of 2005, we moved back to my hometown of Issaquah. By this
time, Lovie was blind, most likely from her diabetes, but we had a system
she and I. I taught her how to navigate our new home, and soon, she
knew it as well as she had known our Arizona home. She enjoyed the
milder weather and spent a lot of time in the spring and summers lounging in
the grass in the back yard. She had quite the personality, and when my
Arizona girl experienced her first snow, the look on her face was priceless.
If she could talk, I’m sure she would have asked me what the heck I was
trying to do to her! So, much like the pool in Arizona, the snow in
Washington wasn’t among her favorite things.
In November of this year, Lovie became sick again. This time, she had
aspirated pneumonia and mega-esophagus. Our vet commented at the time that
she clearly wanted to be with her family and that she had more lives in her
than a cat! Many things before that should have brought her down never
did, and he attributed that to the love and care she received from us.
I’d like to believe that’s true. Although she recovered from the
pneumonia, we could never get her new diet and her diabetes back on track.
She’d go from a toxic high blood sugar in the morning to a life threatening
low blood sugar in the afternoon. We had made the decision to let her
go come that weekend, but on December 5th like the wonderful girls she was,
she took that decision out of our hands by passing away in her sleep, 5
years and 11 months after I adopted her, at the age of 12 years, 9-1/2
She was there for me during some very difficult times in my life, and stood
by me silently and strongly, never letting me feel alone. She did all
of this for a mere belly rub, good ear scratching, or a round of tug of war
with her favorite toy. I cannot imagine having a greater friend, and I
will, and do, miss her immensely.
Many thanks to DLRR for bringing this fabulous dog into my life, and to Dr.
McComb of McQueen Veterinary Clinic in Chandler, AZ (our AZ vet), and to Dr.
JC VanOsdoll at Alpine Animal Hospital in Issaquah, WA for the outstanding
care they gave to Courtney. Both Dr. McComb and Dr. Van believed in
her strength and her will to live and never counted her out when the going
got tough. They knew she was a fighter and that she wanted to be with
her family, and their great respect of that is appreciated more than words