Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
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So. First off, I’m Garret. I had a furry son, Loki, a Siberian Husky. I remember the day I got him. Drove my brand new 2010 Camaro 400 miles to Carrolton, TX to pick him up at 8 weeks old. He wasn’t the one I wanted at first, but after playing with the liter, I knew he was the one. I had decided to call him Bandit after a few minutes in the car because of his markings around his eyes.
One we hit the road, everything went downhill. He’d jump in the backseat between the floorboard and front seats and whine like he was stuck, which he wasn’t, multiple times. He peed in the front floorboard. He would make howling noises constantly, while keeping eye contact with me, just to see a different facial expression. He was a mess. So I decided to name him Loki, after the Norse god of mischief.
Time went on and we had an awesome 2.5 years together in Louisiana. He completely wrecked my townhouse. Had to replace drywall and carpet in his room and all throughout the house. But I loved it. Not at the time, but I learned to cherish those memories. We would crash on the couch once I got home from work and binge watch Family Guy and whatever else we were in the mood for. I remember one night I had swung by Taco Bell and got a burrito for dinner. I placed it on the coffee table, went to use the restroom, came back and it was nowhere to be found. I stumble into his room and behold, him and the wrapper are in his crate. Another time, he felt like having a science experiment, to see if iPhones float in his water bowl. Another time I will never forget, I was making a Bananas Foster and thought I turned the stove off. Me and my then gf went to the store for last minute things. Walking back to the house, I hear barking and howling, crazy dog talk. I run 100ft, open the door, and there Loki is, barking at the skillet that’s on fire and saving the day. We didn’t have Bananas Foster that night.
I lost my job and was offered one in Baton Rouge, LA, which I accepted. My best friend had just moved there so I thought “Great!” I didn’t know Huskies weren’t allowed at my apartment until after I had moved in. Loki stayed with my parents for about 2 years.
I met my now wife while in BR at church and we kicked it off. After a few months, we decided to meet my folks. After we visited, she wanted to take Loki back with us and he could stay in her backyard until we got married and got a house. So guess who was back with Papa! Loki and her mut Sterling were our children, but Loki was my favorite. I’d walk him, bring him in the house when she didn’t know, sneak him people food (something I would probably be stoned for by the wife), just give him all the love that I knew how to give.
So after the marriage, I quickly knocked up my wife and our daughter was born. Afterwards, we moved to Mississippi, where my wife’s family is. He loved the cooler temps and seeing all the wildlife that you can see out in the country. Life was good.
September 2017 came around and he had a noticeable limp, favoring his right leg. The vet said he had a torn ligament and to give him a few weeks to see if it gets better. October 2017 came around and marked significant more lameness. X-rays were done and it looked like someone blew his knee away with a shotgun. We rushed a leg amp and bone biopsy to remove the pain. Two weeks later, I got the diagnosis: osteosarcoma. Vet said he had around 30-50 days to live.
We made the most of it. I brought him inside and fed him whatever I ate. He went on walks all over the country side, chasing other dogs and critters, him and his pal Sterling. He was spoiled on Prime Roast Beef lunch meat and chicken bones. He’d jump in the recliner with me where he’d get the best rub down of his life until the next time, or if I knew he was uncomfortable, we’d sleep together in the futon. He was my baby boy that I knew I only had a short time with.
Christmas came. He didn’t get up much so we brought his stocking to him. A stuffed Octupus, another stuffed animal, an amber necklace to help alleviate pain, and more bones than you could throw at him than three handfuls. The next day, he was so hyper. Constantly running around during the day and becoming more passive as the evening progresses. That night I gave him an abnormal amount of chicken wings from Buffalo Wild Wings. Afterwards, he jumped in the recliner with me and I I gave him the best petting I had ever gave him while we watched TV. He jumped down after about an hour and laid in his crate. Something told me to sleep with him on the futon but I dismissed it for some reason.
December 27th. I woke up to my wife telling me something at 5 am but I can’t make it out, as she’s asleep too. I wake up at 7am, put my clothes on, get ready for work and go to let the dogs out. Sterling is up but Loki is still lying down. I turn the light on and don’t see his chest moving as if he’s breathing. Turns out, around 5am my wife heard Loki howl and I didn’t do anything about it. He howled because he knew it was time, that he was scared because these were his final moments, and I couldn’t comfort him because I was too lazy to get up. Something I will never let go of. Loki’s last breath was sometime between 5am and 7am on December 27th. A time that’s been forever etched into memory.
He now rests along the edge of a pond he chased wildlife along. He rests at the exact spot I lost sight of him before chasing him a mile and a half a month earlier, him chasing two dogs that happened to be on our land. I always thought I would know when the time came and I could be there with him when we put him to sleep. It’s so much harder now, knowing I wasn’t there when he was scared most and him passing from this world with no one there to comfort and hold him. Every time I visit him, I can’t help but to say that I’m sorry. It is entirely too depressing to give an animal all you have to give and then lose it only 6 years later.
25 April 2007
Garret, my heart aches for you, I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing such a deeply moving and loving remembrance of Loki, I read every word and can totally see how much you loved that boy, and how much he loved you. There are so many times when our dogs drive us crazy with their antics, but you managed to find the humor in all of it. Loki was a lucky dog to have you for so many years.
Please don’t blame yourself for not being there at the moment he transitioned. Maybe it was the way things were supposed to play out during his last moments, and maybe Loki arranged it so you weren’t supposed to be there. My guess is that Loki may have howled not because he was scared, but because he saw his friends on the other side waiting for him. Huskies howl when they are joyful! And I know that might sound nuts, but I’ve heard that oftentimes when a human dies, they see their deceased loved ones just moments before they go on to meet them in their new, eternal form. My guess is that Loki saw how beautiful and fun and amazing his new life at the Rainbow Bridge would be and he couldn’t wait to get there with all four legs, to run and play with his buddies as only Huskies do.
It’s difficult to do right now, but as time goes on try to remember that the last moments of a life does not define who that dog or person was. What matters is all the time spent leading up to their last breath in their earthly form. You gave Loki the best life any dog could hope for, he was so blessed to have you! And when it was time for him to move on, he went feeling loved and cherished beyond words. In return, his energy and spirit will continue to surround you and your family with love for all time. And some day, you will see him again, I really believe that.
Thank you for being here. If you’d like to share photos and videos of Loki we would love to see them. Here’s a post about adding images to the Forums, let us know if you’d like assistance.
We send many condolences to you. May Loki’s spirit shine brightly in the sky for all time.
16 October 2012
Thank you for sharing Loki with us. I am so sorry to hear of his passing
Michelle & Angel Sassy
Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013
05/04/2006 - Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19 fought cancer for 4 months.
"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."
31 January 2017
Garret, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your wonder dog Loki. You were a great pup-dad, through and through and gave him a wonderful life. Please don’t be hard on yourself about the end–it is so rarely exactly what we hoped for, or imagined, and now Loki understands all and is free of pain. Catherine and Angel Lucy