Monday, May 11, 2009

Boomer, our beloved dog
8-3-95 to 4-23-09

I've been dragging around for two weeks now trying to put this post together so that it would be meaningful to me and possibly helpful to others. I had no idea this would be so hard.
It was 1996 when Boomer came into our lives. I had not finished grieving for our first Lab, Snickers. She died very unexpectedly at 13; from breast cancer that had spread to her trachea making it impossible for her to breathe. Within a week my friend Kathy ErvIn’s told me that her in-laws had just had a yellow Lab pup returned, because the owners did not have the time required for a dog. This 10 month old that weighed 80 pounds had never been on a leash; was not house trained and was as wild as a crazy Wildebeest. We should have known when we arrived at the in-law’s home, that we were getting in way over our heads. The man at the front door, who was over 6 feet tall, looked like he was trying to hold onto a leash that was attached to a hurricane. We proceeded to somehow coerce this wild dog into a crate for the drive to his new home. By the time we arrived, the leash had been chewed into 3 pieces and John and I were both thinking silently, “What have we done?” Snap out of it I thought, there is crazy dog here. So, the first thing we did was have a trainer come to the house. We quickly learned about the smart dog we had and how he would become our best dog ever. Yes, he could clear a coffee table with his tail, but we still loved him. We learned how to be good owners and consistent teachers and then Boomer followed right along, just like a Lab does; always wanting to please. Years passed. Children grew up and left home. We moved to OR and life revolved around each other and Boomer.

While we were on our nightly walks last fall, Boomer would stop and not want to go further. A trip to our Vet resulted in an x-ray that showed severe hip dysplasia and bridging of the vertebrae in his lumbar spine. This would be similar to a human’s lumbar vertebrae fusing together and compressing the nerves, causing pain and weakness in the lower body. He had turned 13 years old in August, so I knew his life would be slowing down, but we had no idea how hard it was becoming for him to move around. He never cried out or complained until the very end.

Our Vet started him on Deramaxx; an NSAID that reduces inflammation. Within 24 hours he was like a new dog; able to go for short walks, and up and down our stairs from the bedrooms to the basement. We were amazed and grateful for the extra time we had with him. So, for an additional 6 months Boomer was able to come and go and be up and down, without a complaint until 4 days before his death. His wail of pain from just trying to get up from his bed was heart breaking. His legs were weak and were unable to support his weight. The time had come, and we knew our loyal companion was in pain and there was no recovery. He had given us all of himself for 13-1/2 years. Now, he was finally at peace and pain free. John and I cried for our loss, that day and many times since, but were happy that Boomer was no longer suffering and convinced we had done the right thing.

Our home has been eerily quiet and lonely, with no loud barks and no big yellow tail wagging at every opportunity going boom, boom, boom. Life for us will get better, but we miss our big guy and will always remember our Boomer’s sweet face, endearing brown eyes and little blonde eyelashes, always eager to be a part of all that we were. He had a great life with us and so did we with him.

Saturday, May 2, 2009