Unconditional love all wrapped up in 130 pounds of the sweetest Rottweiler on Earth
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Goodbye Bruster. We will love you forever.
It's Thanksgiving today, but Mom and I do not feel so "thankful".
I'm writing your blog this morning because you were the greatest dog to ever live and I want the whole world to know.
It's important to me that I take this time to capture these thoughts, and feelings and remembrances while I'm feeling them so intently. My spelling might suck and I'll probably "run-on" all over the place, but I know you wouldn't care one bit.
You never cared about anything but love.
The day you found us
It was great day. Just a couple of ticket dudes, schlepping away at the office when in walk two of the cutest Rottweiler puppies in Atlanta. $200 seemed like a bargain for a pure bred "Rottie" and it took me 13 seconds to write that check.
You were so cute that first night as we visited with friends by the pool. As a big ol' puppy, the simple act of walking made you so tired that you'd stretch out on the stone tiles to keep cool during that hot Atlanta night.
I still don't know for sure if we named you Bruster after the visit you had to the same-named ice cream shop, or not, but I certainly remember your little bowl of puppy ice cream with the dog treat.
Our first scrapbook memory.
From then on we called you "Bruster".
Growing up with the family
We were just building our extended family and it felt so good to have a dog. You were different. You were such a beautiful Rottweiler with more of a lab face than the typical blunt-nosed Rottie face. It made you look sweeter ...less intimidating.
We called you "Houdini dog". At our first little humble house, you'd find and exploit all the gaps in the chain-link fence, but you'd never run off. You'd just plop yourself down at the front door ...kinda as if to say, "hey, y'all, I can get out, but don't worry, it's all good."
Mom would come home from work and call me saying, "Bruster got out again, but its ok 'cause he's right here at the front door."
Putting you and the other dogs outside was such a crazy hassle as we'd have to wipe your feet, in the basement, each and every time because of the mud. I used to get so mad because it was so hard to keep you still while I tried to wipe your big ass, muddy paws clean, all while you were covering my face with big, sloppy wet Bruster-kisses.
Man, I'd love to be sitting on the concrete right now, cleaning those monster paws and hugging your big ol' body.
Even though you were deemed a dangerous breed, there was never a worry with you around kids. You were so full of love and attention and loyalty and protection - and once you knew "we" were cool with someone, "you" were fiercely loyal to them as well.
Our son Austin looked at you like a brother. We have countless school papers and drawings where Austin demonstrated his intense passion for his "Brusta' Boy" over the years. I sure hope you were coherent enough to enjoy his emotional goodbye because he was so brave. We hated that he had to endure this, but felt that it was the right education for him. He loved you so much. We all loved you so much, and we all wanted to be there, collectively, until the end.
We love you Bruster.
I am really, really missing you right now. I'm very sad.
Your adopted brother and sister
Although you rarely saw your real brother, one of our fondest memories will always be your ability to concede dominance to your adopted sister, Sheeba. I always thought you sorta knew she had been abused and you wanted to join us in providing her a better life 2.0
You always let her eat first.
You always alerted us when she'd jump the fence, and you always showed genuine concern when she would be out visiting the vet.
You had a huge heart of gold.
And then came that rotten Beagle. Your new brother, Sammie.
Instead of competing with him, you took him under your wing and took care of him like nothing we had ever seen before.
One time, when we took Sammie to the Vet, Dr. Bateman commented on how clean Sammie's ears were and that Beagles typically have ear infection problems due to their long ears. I explained that it was all because of you, Bruster. We explained how Sammie would approach you and you'd clean his ears for as long as ten minutes at a time, and the Vet just stood there dumbfounded.
In his 30 years as veterinarian, he had never heard of that before.
Sitting here now, picturing you licking Sammie's ears incessantly, is killing me. You were the best big brother that rotten beagle could ask for and I know it's only a matter of time before Sammie begins his mourning process, too.
You touched everybody in the house with your loyalty and love.
Every Christmas was a gorilla Christmas
As sweet as you were, there was one thing that you didn't like to share - your gorilla.
There wasn't too much more exciting to you than a brand new gorilla from the local PetSmart. You knew right away when Mama would squeeze his belly and make him growl; and, you certainly didn't want any of the other dogs to take him... but it usually only took a short, deep rottie growl to send the others back to their own stuffed toys lickety-split.
Then came the cow, the jack, the frog, the lamdoodle and a series of other toys that we'd swear "disappeared" ...only to reappear months later in your mouth.
Where did you hide those things, anyway?
Seeing those toys lying around the house right now sorta sucks, big'un - I miss you so much.
We'd always heard that the constant inbreeding of pure breds was a big problem for dogs - and especially the larger breeds. Hip Dysplasia, Cancer, and other serious diseases responsible for the short life spans of many of pure bred dogs.
But we tried to ignore it.
Then, Doc Bateman diagnosed your Hip Dysplasia.
Sure, we were worried, but also knew we were committed to helping you through it. We'd buy the drugs, the Glucosamine, and even massage your hips, and build you that big comfy bed beside our bed.
But this was also a turning point for you ...and we knew it.
I still would get good feelings though when you'd roll onto your back and growl and bark and entice the other dogs to come play. Sure, you were slower now, and couldn't play "chase", but you'd give'em Hell when they'd run by you.
It hurt my heart to know how much you wanted to be part - and physically couldn't - but I was always glad to see you try.
Still, we never saw this coming
But cancer, Bruster??? Really? Why?
I'm so angry. It's not fair. You were such a sweet boy and you didn't deserve heart cancer. I'm mad and I'm sad and I'm crying and I'm angry and I'm frustrated and... I can't stop picturing you, huddled against the bookshelf in my office, breathing heavy, ice cold and completely lethargic.
Babette's crying and I don't know what to do, so I do what I think is best and lift your 130lb into my arms, carry you to truck, and drive like a crazy man to Doc Bateman's office.
It's the day before Thanksgiving Bruster. Why today?
I talk to you the whole way, do you remember? You wouldn't move, and you were cold, and I thought for sure you were going to die before I got there. ...but you hung on. Thank you for that.
The Vet really had no idea, and it was chaos in there and I just wanted to hug you and make you better, but I'm just a dumb 'puter geek and I couldn't do anything.
The ride to the emergency room wasn't much better - I was afraid you'd fall between the seats since you were in shock, so I built the floor up with sleeping bags and blankets. Under my breath, I screamed at every car on I-285, while trying to comfort you throughout the long, Thanksgiving-traffic-crazy ride.
Thank you for hanging on, Bruddah.
Dr. Biddle was excellent, albeit the bearer of bad news - the ultrasound showed fluid build-up around your heart was preventing it from working properly.
Bruster, you had a type of internal cancer called, Hemangiosarcoma
The best we could hope for was draining the restraining fluid, giving you some relief, but there was no guarantee for how long. Could be five hours, or five days or more.
We only got five hours - but it was worth every penny
Hopefully, you remember the car ride home. You stood up and stuck your head out the window like normal and all was right at that very moment. Mom suggested we get you a bone and you tore into that bone like you were 100% healthy ...same with the water bowl once we got you home.
We had hope.
If even just for a few days, we had to plans to spoil you until the cancer symptoms returned.
But, at 3:00 a.m., you let us know that hope was futile.
We are so happy though, Bruster, for those few extra hours with you. We know that having your family surrounding you, loving you, patting you, kissing you, holding you, had to have made you feel a little better ...perhaps more safe and content.
But, when you went off to another corner, seemingly to die, I knew it was over.
I'll never forget that look you gave me in the guest room. You told me with your eyes that it was time.
Damn, that hurt, Bruster ---- but I didn't want you to suffer anymore.
I hope you remember all of us lying with you on the floor of the vet. A sad family crying and petting and loving and knowing that although this was the end, it would also be the end of your suffering.
But the continuation of ours.
The doctor gave you the shot and you quietly passed at 5:00 a.m., Thanksgiving Day.
It hurt to watch your heart stop - but it helped to know you were no longer suffering. That contrast of emotions is very difficult to sort out and I'm still very sad thinking about it.
Thank you for joy you brought our family and for the comfort you brought to the other dogs. You were a very, very special boy and you touched our lives forever.
Happy Thanksgiving Bruster Boy ...please look down on us from Dog Heaven.
Update from Babette (Mama):
i've never missed anyone so much before. we are hurting tremendously for you and for what could have been. you're not there now when i'm changing clothes or brushing my teeth. i was alone this morning when everyone got up - you were always there waiting for me. i miss you so much. i don't know how to move on.