We got Blaze, a 7-year-old Australian Shepherd, from a rescue program. His early life in West Virginia included beatings, and those of you who know him know that he still never quite got over that and has forever been skittish around strangers. When Katrin and I first met him he was being fostered in Washington Heights in New York. We took advantage of a trip to the city for Ben and Sohui’s wedding in 2004 to introduce ourselves, and of all the people who had considered adopting him we were told that we were the only ones he even thought about approaching to greet. So after a short walk around the city and some contemplation about taking on a dog with such “issues” we decided that he should move to Burlington.
We’ve had some great years with Blaze. From that first nervous walk around NYC, he became a great pet and even learned to do agility with Katrin. He never became comfortable around strangers, but is extremely loyal and sweet with those he knows. We still hope to have many more years of his trying to do anything he can to please Katrin (and by association, me), but the disease unfortunately has no cure and so we don’t know much about his future. We will keep helping him live the full life he deserves and stay forever hopeful that he will be with us long enough for Amelia to remember him when she grows up.
I've never been told beforehand that I have a limited amount of time left with a loved one. What a hard place to be, caught somewhere between starting to grieve before they are already gone and savoring every moment you have together. As Dan mentions it has been a rollar coaster of a couple of weeks trying to figure out a diagnosis. Yes he is a dog, but he is a member of our family, and a very special member at that. He will do anything in his power to please and protect those he loves, and even though his energy level is at an all time low right now from the disease and the medications, he still finds it necessary to lift his head and howl every time Amelia cries, and to alert me if I am not quick enough getting up when she wakes up, he still goes crazy when the doorbell rings, and gets excited when Tazzy and Biju start playing, though instead of joining them as usual, he just goes and supervises the play session from near by. As I write this he is curled up on the couch comforting me because I am sad for him.