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Heart Pawing Tales

Shakespeare’s Story

It’s been 10 months since I lost my wonderful boy and the tears still run down my face when I think of him. Shakespeare was a member of our family. We never took a vacation unless he was with us. I never wanted to leave him in a kennel.

Shakespeare was the most beautiful Golden Retriever that I had ever seen. He was the largest puppy in the litter. When I would take him for walks people would always come over and ask what kind of breed he was because his head was as big as a Saint Bernards, and he had paws like a small pony. At 105 pounds Shakey was our lap dog. He would lay on the couch with us and slept in our bed almost every night.

I never wanted to lose him so I took him to our veterinarian every six months to check his blood work and had ultrasounds every year. Too many people have lost their dogs because of a tumor or something else that could have been detected if such tests were conducted at an early stage. Luckily Shakey always came through with flying colors. That is until Christmas Eve of 2009 when Shakey had a seizure. This was the first that I had ever witnessed. He got over it right away, but I called our vet and took him in for tests on December 26th. X-rays and blood work came back negative. The only thing left was to have an MRI of the brain.

We drove Shakespeare to a specialty hospital about a week later. My wife and I were shocked when the results showed a tumor in the front part of the brain. We were told our options were to do nothing and Shakey would probably die in three months. If we had the tumor removed, he may live another year. If we had the tumor removed followed by numerous sessions of radiation, he would probably live his normal life span. We did not want to lose him so Shakey was operated on a few weeks later. The small tumor was removed and the vet said the operation went well. He said he got it all. We started the radiation treatments. I remember driving poor Shakey two hours each day for the next 19 days for the treatments. On the 18th day I remember the Oncologist telling us that Shakey was coming through all of the treatments like a real champ and that he would never have another seizure again. I was overjoyed to hear that. I felt like we dodged another bullet.

But then it happened. On the morning of March 22, 2009, at 6:00 am Shakey had a seizure. But this was not like the other small seizures that he previously had before the operation. This was a terrible one that wouldn’t stop. With the help of our neighbors, we managed to carry him to the car and to the closest emergency hospital. Shakey’s temperature was sky rocketing. He was in a semi-coma. They had to keep giving him plasma because his blood was not clotting. I remember lying on the floor with my arm around him for the next two days. On March 23rd the vet said she thought that he was getting better and would probably come out of the coma soon. She said he’ll probably be able to come home the next day. On March 24th at 4:00 PM my wife and I told the vet that we were going home to shower and would be back by 6:00pm. We were home about 15 minutes when the phone rang. Shakey had died. In disbelief we rushed back to the hospital. I remember them wheeling him out to us on a table. He looked so calm. We sat there and hugged him and cried for hours. The impossible had happened. We had lost our boy. Part of our life was taken from us. We will never be the same.

I think of Shakey every day. I cry every day. There will never be another Shakespeare. We will miss him forever.

Love your pets dearly because you never know when they will be taken from you.

Gracie to the Rescue
By Amie Paul

I own a black lab and her name is Gracie, she is 7 years old now but the story I want to tell is when she was about 2 years old. We lived on a ranch in Southern Oklahoma and my children were outside playing in the front yard when my oldest son came running in saying that Gracie bit Mason, his little brother, he was 3 at that time. So I went running outside and Mason is laying on the ground. I checked him over and there were no bite markers and he told me that Gracie grabbed him and knocked him down. As I got up, I saw Gracie laying on the ground about 10 feet in front of Mason. I ran over to check on her and on ground next to her was a rattle snake that she had killed. Gracie would always play with the boys and stay in front of them whenever they played outside. She had seen the snake that Mason was running towards and grabbed him by the pants and knocked him over and then killed the snake. I took her to the vet immediately to make sure she was okay. She was bitten by the snake but was going to be fine. If it wasn’t for this amazing dog my son could have been hurt very badly and to this day she is his best friend.

The Life of Sydney
By Suzie Jenkins

I wanted to share a blurb with you about our dear Sydney. Syd is a 2 and ½ year old Lab that was an early Christmas gift for my husband a few years back. My son and his friend painstakingly picked her out from the litter, and my husband was thrilled with their choice! Syd was very chubby as a pup and ate voraciously. Over time, she has slowed down on the eating and in fact requires “gravy” on her food most times to pique her interest. She is an only dog, but used to have a sister Daisy who has gone on to doggy heaven. Luckily, my husband owns his own business and Syd gets to go with him to work each day. At night, we take her necklace (collar) off to prevent the jingling of her tags while we sleep. Syd sleeps right next to my side of the bed on a fancy pillow bed. She snores a bit, and dreams now and again, but I love it! Each morning, her Dad puts her necklace on and she knows it’s time to go to work. She entertains customers all day long, languishes in the sun when it’s out, and then comes home to be with our family. We love this pup like one of our kids and wish you could meet her! She has personality plus and makes our lives complete. She is a camper, fetcher, squirrel chaser, cat lover, and leaps like a deer when she is excited. She has pillow beds everywhere she goes whether it be the living room, the office, or the bed of our shell enclosed truck for travel. In the winter months, she travels in the back seat of the pickup in order to stay warm. She loves the freedom of sticking her head out the windows of both the shell and the cab. Basically, we have one adult child in Afghanistan, one teen at home, a kitty cat, and Syd. Our lives are very enriched by the relationship we have with her. We have had other pups in our life together that we loved very much, but we’re so glad she’s ours for now! I know that most dog lovers share my feelings and experience with being an animal parent, but I like to think our girl is special. Just let me think it, OK? God Bless you and your pet children!

Rescued from the Cold
By Linda Crawford

I live downtown in my little town. The dumpster is in the alley across the street. On Christmas night 1999 my sister went to dump the trash. She thought a rat ran across her feet. After a second look she saw that it was a tiny puppy. He was knocked out cold. She picked him up and brought him inside to me. It was a very cold night in west Texas. I gave him a teaspoon of whiskey and put him under my shirt with a heating pad on top. After he got warmed up, we looked him over to make sure he didn’t have any injuries. The puppy looked like a Chihuahua puppy. He had a big knot on his head but otherwise he as fine. To be sure we took him to the vet the next morning. He said he looked fine and thought he might be about 6-8 weeks old. My dad, who was an invalid and being cared for by my sister and I, told us we were not going to keep that dog in the house. We told him that yes we were. The argument went on for a couple of weeks and before we knew it the dog was riding in the wheel chair with our dad. He absolutely captivated the whole family. He is still with us today and is my very best friend. My sister and Dad have both passed away, so this little guy still means the world to me.

Baron’s Kitten
By Adona L. Riddle

About two years ago I brought home a rescue kitten. We named her Snuggles because she liked to put her paws around your neck, kneed and snuggle. One day I came home from the grocery store to find a little neighbor boy standing in the driveway holding a very wet Snuggles. He said he found Baron our dog up the road, carrying snuggles away from the house. He knew Baron belonged to me and thought I might know where the kitty belonged. I explained that it was my kitty. We figured Baron was jealous and taking the kitty to get rid of it. The little boy said he wasn’t hurting Snuggles, just carrying her away. That kitty became Barons buddy. He slept with him, ran with him, went to the barn every day with him. Everywhere that Baron went around the property, Snuggles was sure to be following. Here is the photo of my Baron and his best buddy, Snuggles.

Rosie’s Gift
By Candice Dooley

On May 4th, 2010, I had given birth to my first child, a girl, whom I had named Savannah Michelle. Savannah unfortunately died at birth. Devastated, to say the least, and overwhelmed with a desire to nurture; my best friend Carolyn bought me a Miniature Schnauzer mixed puppy, which I had named Rosie. Rosie and I began our relationship by attending the local pet store puppy training class, of which Rosie graduated head of her class! She brought me through the deepest, darkest depression I have ever faced; I can honestly say that Rosie has literally saved my life. She is such a wonderful, happy dog; she is my best friend!

4 comments on “Heart Pawing Tales

  1. I was so moved by Shakespeare’s Story, I am still crying. I feel your pain with my whole heart because I too have a similar story – my sweet and adorable 6 year old German Shepherd girl by name of Mishka was diagnosed with nasal cancer on December 1st, 2010. It was the most tragic thing that ever happened to me and I was so overcome with grief that I swore I’d never have another dog again. We went through 15 radiation treatments because I couldn’t stand the thought of losing her. Mishka is in remission now and doing well. Recently we got her a “baby sister” and a permanent playmate – another German Shepherd puppy, which made Mishka totally relapse into the puppy hood again. The two of them are my endless source of constant wonder and joy. Please consider getting another pooch, if you haven’t already. Shakespeare is irreplaceable but a puppy may fill the void. Someone once said “There is no better therapist than a puppy licking your face” and they knew what they were talking about.

  2. I love these stories, but my story is just as great. I got a yellow lab last year just before my husband’s brother passed away. I swear my dog has been such a wonderful addition to our family, because he fills in such a big space in our life and hearts. She reminds me of his brother Randy… so clumsy and loveable. My husband says he is like a bull in a china store. He makes us so happy… all you hear is Sonny “no” when he is out and about. Such a crazy, happy dog.. so much energy.. love my baby. And once more we lost another loved one, my husband lost his mother to cancer. Again, our Sonny has filled such a big void in our life. He knows if we are sad, happy and he just sits around and we feel like he understands… God sent this puppy to us at the perfect time. We watched “Marley” and we should of named him that… cause my dog is a Marley.. and eats couches, every bed we have bought him.. he even ate the crate plastic bin, don’t ask… what hasn’t he eaten. His favorite are my sons 150 sneakers. LOL>> Sonny “No” that is what we should of named him “NO”. But we love him… <3.. 4-ever.. Mom

  3. I loved reading your story about your beloved Shaky. My eyes teared up hearing of each time you had taken him for treatment hoping for his health to get better. I had a black lab named Czar, he was almost 10 years old when I found out he had a tumor in his throat and was having a hard time breathing. I’ll never forget having to put him down, I still cry every time I think about it and it has been 3 years. It’s comforting to know there are other people out there that feel the same way about their dogs as I do. They don’t say dogs are mans best friend for nothing.

  4. My heart broke to hear the story of Shakespeare as I too have just lost my Shakespeare also a Golden Retriever. Unlike the Shakespeare above, mine was the runt of the litter who grew to be a big boy. He live 14 yrs and 7 months and taught all three of my children how to walk. When we brought home my daughter, poor Shakespeare went from being the baby, to the dog, but still was a very important part of our lives. He was a dark red at the time, and his fur matched my newborn daughter’s red hair. At the end his face was white and he was so very gray, hardly golden anymore. He was the love of the neighborhood and anybody who met him loved him. Our lives in this last two months have been saddened by his loss, even though we still have two other Golden’s (Caesar and Cleopatra). I know that I will (as will my children) always have a hole in my heart where Shakespeare took up residence. I like to believe that he is now in heaven with my husband chasing balls and running in the surf as he couldn’t do in his last years.

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