When he was 11+ years old, Bear’s life-long owner died. He was then cared for by family members. They kept him in a travel trailer parked on their front lawn, with a tie-out to go outside/hide under the trailer.
One of the family’s dogs would attack him when he ventured outside, so Bear became very frightened. He was left alone in his trailer from August to January and was very sad. Bear’s luck changed when an ODH Volunteer Transporter drove 4 hours to fetch and deliver him to his Old Dog Haven Final Refuge Home. Loading and unloading was tricky – at 97lbs Bear is a big dog with rear-end weakness from osteoarthritis, making it difficult for him to get up and down.
When he arrived, he was very stressed and anxious with lots of hyperactive nervous behavior. For the first 24 hours he paced, panted, and cried. Bear went round and round inside the house, and in and out to the yard in constant motion. Then without warning, he would start barking in a very loud high pitched nervous voice. Now all this behavior has improved considerably, and he remains calm. Bear was discovered to have several open puncture wounds (presumably from the other family dog) and a wound with considerable swelling on one elbow. These were cleaned and treated on day one. On day two he had a bath and now he has a nice shiny coat with all his massive fur clots and mats combed out. He was SO itchy and miserable with all that dead hair, and just LOVED being showered in hot water. Once clean, he actually has more white on him – and a white tip to his tail!!!
Bear had a recent intake exam, and things look good for him to have his neuter surgery. He has to wear a male wrap (diaper) in the house because even though he is housebroken, his prostate gland is huge – as expected since he is not neutered – and he walks around dripping. Fortunately, his enlarged prostate is not yet constricting his colon, and he is still able to poop safely.
We go for walks twice a day: 30+ minutes in the morning and 20+ minutes in the late afternoon. He is on a comprehensive pain management plan as he has difficulty laying down (he goes down slowly,) and then he struggles to get his rear end up again. As Bear builds up his endurance and can do more, we will adjust his pain medication accordingly. His walks will remain of the same duration, but with improvement in his mobility, he will cover more distance with more speed.
Bear is a happy-go-lucky Lab/Shepherd mix. He is a quick study, he gets along well with his housemates, and he likes to watch TV!!! Thanks to all the generous Old Dog Haven donors and sponsors, Bear’s lonely travel trailer days are over, and he is now a forever loved member of his Final Refuge pack.
Update: Bear was with ODH for 3 months almost to the day. Oh how we wish he could have stayed longer.
We worked really hard on manners because he was a BIG LONG dog, and when he arrived he was the proverbial bull-in-a-china-shop. He learned to remain calm when I left the house to run errands or to walk the other dogs – laying just inside the door, but not barking. He learned not to bark at everything he saw when out in the yard. He stayed out of the kitchen and office areas, as well as the bathroom. He would, however, lay with his nose just inside the partially closed bathroom door while I was in the shower, and would occasionally push the door open.
Bear came with numerous items which were not salvageable, but as a reminder of his life-long pet parent, we did keep the stuffed hedgehog toy he received as a little puppy. He still loved to carry it around the house.
Bear was neutered quite promptly, and within a week no longer had to wear a male wrap. He loved his walks with lots of sniffs, and could go a good distance up and down the hills. In April, the bunnies came out in force, and that added to his adventures. He LOVED to have his throat or the top of his head scratched. He would drink water from the bowl then dribble half of it down the hallway. He would let out a bark while happily rolling on his back. He cuddled with MamaT and tried to keep up with Mindy running through the yard.
All was going well until Bear developed anal gland infections that were resistant to treatment, and then his anal glands were discovered to have tumors. They would constantly ooze bloody fluid, but this was manageable with boxes of baby wipes strategically placed around the house, and the frequent cleanings didn’t seem to phase him. Unfortunately Bear also had GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease – just like people get.) This was well managed with medications, until Monday afternoon when it took a turn for the worse (regurgitation, excessive salivation.) Even with additional medications, Bear did not improve and he was not his happy-go-lucky self. Tuesday morning we went for our usual walk, stopping to stare-down numerous bunnies, and then for our last car ride. That evening there was no one there to push open the bathroom door….
Thanks to all the Old Dog Haven donors and volunteers, Bear had a wonderful last 3 months in a home where he was never alone. He set out over the Rainbow Bridge with a firm grip on the one thing he never lost – his hedgehog.