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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words

Hogie

By: Deanna Dube

I always wanted a dog and decided that at the age of 40 it wasn't too late to experience that joy. I also thought it would be good to have a dog for protection and companionship for my elderly mother who lives with me, when I needed to go away on business. So at the end of February, we adopted our very first dog from an overcrowded shelter, who came with the name of Hogie.

We were told he was 2-3 years, in good health and wonderful with cats, (we had 4)! One look at that gorgeous face and both Mom and I were gone. It was love at first sight and we took this half Samoyed and half Aussie Shepherd home.

It was a rough beginning for us all. Hogie had chronic diarrhea, vomited a lot and was coughing a strange and strangled sound. When we took him to our Veterinarian for a check up we discovered that he not only had Kennel Cough, but a severe parasite infestation, was at half his body weight, closer to nine years of age and had a suspicious mass in his gut that upon emergency surgery a few weeks later turned out to be terminal cancer of the tissue surrounding the intestines. He had only a few months to live.

It was devastating that this lovely soul who we became so immediately attached to would be in our lives for so short a time, yet there was absolutely no way we were going to take him back to that horrible shelter. As long as he wasn't in pain and his quality of life wasn't suffering, we were going to give him the home he probably had never known for as long as we could.

For a little over two months whatever he wanted Hogie got. We spoiled him with love and affection, even taking him to a beach that allowed dogs to romp and run freely. He had a wonderful time and I couldn't believe the change from whimpering fearful dog to loving and tender companion in just a few short weeks of being with us. We teased that such a playful and happy dog couldn't possibly be sick and were considering enlisting him in acting school.

Sadly however, he took his sick role in life too seriously when at the end of the first week of this month we had to let him go when Hogie took a turn for the worse. That was very hard but I held him in my arms as we laid on the floor and the Vet helped to ease him gently on his spirit journey.

No matter how many experiences I have had in the spiritual realms and know life goes forward from here, the physical parting is so difficult. The body demands to grieve. And grieve I did.

When I woke up the next day after Hogie's passing, the house felt so empty. Mom immediately asked if we could get another dog quickly.

I was ambivalent about getting another dog until we had a rest from this, but Mom insisted we get another one right away. It has been a long standing tradition in our family that when we lose a fur-kid, to honor the memory of that family member by adopting another. So we went to another shelter and were found by a 9-month-old Australian Cattle Dog. She was a turn in from the owner who's Doberman just didn't like her. Her name is Ashley and she looks nothing like Hogie. But she poses like him in that unusual stance he had so I took it as a sign that she was meant for us. Also she was raised with cats and just walked in the house with no transition time to get used to them. So, as hard as it was losing Hogie, at least this little one would have a good home in his stead.

Yet though she was a sweet dog and I was sure would be wonderful, I still couldn't stop missing Hogie. And she was quite a contrast from our quiet Angel Boy. Ashley has enough energy to power the entire matrix. The first few days were rough because I just wanted to have Hogie back and no matter how I tried, didn't feel the same bond with Ashley yet. My Mother did, so I just let it go and decided that was what I wanted a dog for in the first place, so Ashley would be "Mom's Dog."

A few days passed and I awakened at one in the morning. I tried to go back to sleep and couldn't. So I got up and played with the new puppy, who whined to come out of her room. Well about three thirty, she was suddenly barking at the door. I figured that she just needed to pee, so I took her out. She sniffed around the front yard and then ran to the end of the fence barking outrageously and practically pulling me off my feet by the leash. I ran to quiet her and to see what she was whimpering and barking at.

Well, about 2 houses down on the sidewalk, there was Hogie in complete physical form sniffing around the ground and wagging his great ostridge feather tail. He looked up at me once and then trotted off down the street. Ashley was making such a racket that I put her in the house quickly before she awakened the entire neighborhood, and then ran down the street in the direction of the dog. He was nowhere to be found. I was hoping for a quiet moment with Hogie, but well, I guess he had other places to go and just wanted me to know he was all right. And also to let me know to stop grieving (which I did almost instantly upon seeing him), that he was leaving me in good paws: Ashley's, who has since become my Angel girl.

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