Last Edited: Oct 14, 2008 8:41 AM
He was smaller than the rest and he kept to himself as the other 16
puppies crawled about the floor. I for some reason was drawn to this quiet,
calm puppy, maybe for those very reasons. My son had narrowed his choice
down to two puppies: a large, black and white rambunctious ball of fur and
the quiet, calm puppy for which I was secretly cheering. Eventually, he
chose the 4 lb. 10 oz. brown and white calm Australian Shepherd puppy. We
named him Bear.
From the very beginning, I became attached to him. He loved to go for walks
and catch grasshoppers, carrying them gently in his mouth then releasing
them unharmed. Swimming came naturally to him as well as herding.
His first known seizure came when he had just turned one. I rushed him to
the vet who explained to me what had taken place. More seizures occurred
over a short period of time so we decided to have some tests completed. The
test results revealed that our Bear had epilepsy. Over the next year, we
worked closely with the vet to create the right combination of medicines
with the correct doses to help him have as normal a life as possible. He was
never quite the same. The medications took away his athleticism and tired
him out more quickly, but he adapted, we adapted. He still was very happy
and playful – still trying to herd flocks of seagulls or chase squirrels. I
grew even closer to Bear. I would take him to school with me almost every
day and he would lie in my office and watch my students and me in the gym.
After my divorce, Bear and I moved to a new home and we grew closer still.
He loved to ride in the car – he would just lay down in the back seat and go
to sleep. When I wasn’t looking, he would sneak up to the front seat and
curl up into a ball. He loved the beach and the ocean. He loved to be with
me and I with him.
I knew his time would come much earlier because of all the medications he
took. In December 2007, Bear’s liver began to fail. By February, he began to
lose his appetite and would eat very little. I learned of a stem cell
project into which Bear was accepted, but unfortunately, it was too late.
Sunday, April 20th, I took my best friend to the emergency veterinary
hospital. There I did the best thing I could for him and the most
painful thing I could ever do to myself.
I buried Bear the Dog at the beach - a very nice spot on our property under
some trees. I miss him so much.