Thursday, September 7, 2017

Rainbow Bridge

Rob and I were married for just over a year when we decided we wanted to add a puppy. We researched breeds, decided a boxer would be the right fit for us, met Tyson, and the rest is history. His sweet demeanor won us over the minute we met him. What we didn't know at the time was just how special he really was, and that adding him to our family would change the course of our lives.

4 months after we got Tyson we decided he needed a dog sibling, so we started researching breeders and found a responsible breeder a few hours away with a littler of puppies only a few weeks old. As soon as we brought Layla home, she and Tyson were as thick as thieves. A couple months later we had the opportunity to adopt a young boxer who was no longer able to stay with his current family. Harley fit in very well with our young pups, and we became a 3 boxer family, plus one Chihuahua who was really more like a cat.

Having two other boxers in the house shined a light on how unique Tyson's personality was. When we opened the doggie daycare a year later it became even more apparent that he was special. Yes he had the same spunk and wiggly butt as all the other boxers we met, but there was also a gentleness about him that always remained. It was the same thing that we loved so much about him when we first met him at 11 weeks old and it was what we loved so much about him every day he was with us.

Over time our dog pack went from 4 to 2, and those 2 dogs were everything to us. They came to work with me every day for 6 years. They were my favorite couch buddies. My best friends and often sole source of comfort when we battled infertility. The best walking partners. They were the perfect big brother and sister when Brooke and Harrison arrived. 

Layla was always the crazy younger sister and Tyson remained the gentle old soul that he was. He always listened, never strayed far, and would help keep his sister in line. He was so tolerant of everything. Our kids could do just about anything to him and he would just lay there and take it. I don't ever remember him getting upset with the kids.

He had a really hard time when Layla got sick and passed away. It became obvious that he needed companionship we couldn't give him so we adopted Jules, and he hated her. Our gentle old man who loved everything and everyone did not like the new dog we brought into his home. It took him almost a whole month, but he eventually warmed up and decided he could tolerate her b/s. Tyson was almost 8 when we adopted Jules, and she added some puppy life back into his old soul. She turned out to be just what he needed. 

A year or so later, when I was pregnant with Scarlett and Clark, we started to notice some changes in his behavior. A constant need to drink water, more frequent potty breaks, accidents in the house (something that hadn't happened since he was 14 weeks old). The vet could't figure out what was causing the issues, so we just carried on. Over the next couple years his health continued to decline. An arythmia and hart murmur caused him occasional problems. He lost a significant amount of weight. He couldn't stand up straight anymore because it hurt his hips. His obsession with drinking became so severe that he was constantly drinking until he would throw up, then rinse and repeat. More tests, more blood work, medications, and finally after ruling everything else out,  our vet told us he had a tumor pushing on his pituitary gland causing a form of diabetes and that there was no course of treatment. We tried a last ditch medication hoping maybe our vet was wrong, but she wasn't.

We had a really great week with him at the lake and towards the end I could really see how uncomfortable he was. The bad days started to outnumber the good and we made the decision we couldn't let him suffer anymore. The night before I took him to the vet to say goodbye, we took him to one of his favorite places where we let him run and have a steak dinner. It was the happiest I had seen him in weeks. The next morning he and I got up early and went out for breakfast. He ate a pyramid of sausage biscuits and then we went for a short walk. I told him all about how he was going to see his sister in heaven soon. When it was time to say goodbye, he went quickly and peacefully while I stroked his sweet face. He was so gentle even as he left this world.

The night before he passed we had the kids say goodbye. Brooke was an emotional mess, which I was not prepared for, and I laid with her as she cried herself to sleep. Other than that night, Brooke and Harrison have been very strong when talking about Tyson being gone. We were upfront with them and told them exactly what was going to happen, right down to the cremation. I know Scareltt and Clark won't have any memories of him, but I hope the big kids do. He loved to be outside with them while they played. He would kidney bean anytime one of the neighbor kids wanted to give him a pet. He lived for being their dog. 

Every pet is special. They are all wonderful and give us unconditional love, but I feel that some of them touch our lives in ways that go beyond. Tyson was one of those dogs. The effect that he had on my life will never be forgotten, and I will always remember how wonderful he was. 

Our sweet Tyson-son, McNubbin, Doodle Butt, I hope you are running in heaven with your sister and all of your doggie daycare friends that passed before you. I hope there's squeaky tennis balls as far as the eye can see. I hope there's a lake with boat rides and a walk in beach so you can swim, but not really swim, as much as your heart desires. I pray you're at peace and aren't in pain anymore. Know that we will always think of you as the best dog we could have ever wished for, and we will always have you in our hearts.

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