Belly rubs till the end
Teddy came to Old Dog Haven for his final chapter 19 months ago. He was filthy, emaciated, and missing fur on well over a third of his body, and lived with a permanent cone for three years because his skin conditions were not being properly treated. But from the moment he got out of the transport car, his tail wagged. He didn’t dwell on his past or feel sorry for himself. He was a sweet dog, but a little aloof, as though he didn’t know how to give love. He did, however, accept all the belly rubs anyone could offer. With good vet care and home care, his body healed quite quickly. His heart took a little longer, but in his last few months, I could wrap my arms around him and peek back to see his tail doing a happy swish – one of the sweetest sights I will ever experience. If I play bowed at him, he’d come up and quickly lick my nose and walk away, then come back for more.
After the cone years, the terrible skin, IBD, and a bowel obstruction, I’d begun to think he’d overcome anything and live forever. But, of course, that’s wishful thinking. Already deaf, he’d begun losing vision, and he began losing mobility due to compressed disks. I couldn’t let such a valiant soul lose his dignity, so I gave him the final gift of peace. But as I promised him, I gave him belly rubs for the final moments of his life, so he’d leave this existence feeling gentle hands and knowing just how loved he is.
I know I changed his life, but he changed mine immensely as well.