Saturday, May 24, 2008

we named him Chance part II

As a puppy he had big feet and a small body, the wife kept trying to tell me he was going to be a big dog, to which I replied he isn't any bigger than my two hands. I visioned a medium sized dog weighing in about 60 pounds or so.

Chance was quite intelligent for his age as he took to training outside quite easily, figured out the pecking order in the household with the other animals and tried his best to protect the kids from trips and falls.
As he grew older I became quite aggressive with him during play time and the rougher I got the more aggressive he would become towards me. When it was time for the wife or the kids to play with him he played at their level and not the one I had brought out in him. He was a completely different dog around the kids, he was a buddy, protector, and playmate.

At that time we were a one income family and my work hours varied so Chance became the defender of the household when I was gone. Our neighbor Terry, who was a mechanic, would occasionally come over to the house to pick up his two daughters that Janine watched while Terry and his wife were at work. It is at this point Chance seemed like he was possessed, he would stand beside Janine in the living room snarling, bearing his rather sharp white teeth as if he was going to rip Terry to pieces. His body would quiver and he would rear back on his haunches as if to launch an attack. He would do this even if I were home so there must have been something he didn't like about Terry. At first I though it might be the smell of his work being on his clothing or on his body, but no matter what Terry was wearing Chance would sense some evil or something in this man.

During the weekends when I was home I would spend as much time as possible with our two boys playing and rough housing of which Chance would join in on the play time. Chance never had any formal training, but picked up on most behaviors quite easily. Leash training took no time to accomplish nor did having him stay in the front yard even without a fence. Chance had known his role in our family and he would even correct me if I played with the kids a little two rough by grabbing the back of my arm and biting me hard enough just to let me know I was probably getting to rough with the kids.

He was still a well mannered dog and even with other additions to the family such as other pets he would take to them just as if they were in the family as long as he was. As time goes on, and as we watch Chance dying from the inside out it is time to recollect our memories for our long time companion four legged family member.

Chance has many tumors on the inside of his body, that when they first developed we were told it was nothing but fatty deposits and they wouldn't harm him. These tumors have grown to the point where they are intermingled with muscle tissue and ligaments which are causing him much pain in relieving himself and just in general walking.

We are going to have to put him down as a means to prevent him from going into even further pain, but breaking the bonds of which have been built for almost 15 years seem quite difficult. He still has that look in his eye as when I first brought him home, the protective demeanor which made him a valued family member knowing he was always on sentry duty, however age has taken its toll as he doesn't hear that well any long, he is partially blind, and has developed doggy Alzheimer´s Disease as he walks to the front door to go out and once the door is open he forgets why he went to the door.

It has become quite disheartening watching this once proud dog fall into the throes of what happens to people when they hit 80 or so. I'm sorry to say I feel more compassion for this dog then I do most people, since most people can control the outcome of their lives while animals are quite dependent on us. We have done everything imaginable to prolong the life of Chance barring putting him into more pain trying to accomplish this. I will imagine in June we will send Chance to his final resting place and it will be a very hurtful day for our family.


Дж. Хьюз said...

Very moving story, Tom! I just now gave in to our three starving pooches and fed them some dinner - hopefully they'll give me some time to type this. I know it will positively crush my wife and me when their time comes. You and your family will undoubtedly have many, many happy memories of Chance to help you get through when his time comes.

Christina Anderson said...

Tom, I know how hard it is to loose such a devoted friend and family member. My heart goes out to you all.