Monday, December 21, 2009
Goodby Bandit, see you in the next life.
Last Thursday my wife and I had to say goodbye to our “wolf-dog” Bandit. He was a kind companion over these past 10 years. Gracious and individualistic, playful and loyal and at times a loyal “dog” and at some times every bit a “wolf”.
He had aspects from the wolf side that made his pack mentality be his shortcoming. When we first boarded him when he was but 2 years old while my wife and did a 4 day vacation to
When we picked him up he had ground one fang off grabbing the chain link fence of his crate trying to get out. He slept for three days straight it seemed but his pack was together again. Soon after we noticed some skin problems and this developed an auto immune illness. Only after some trial and error did we find the only remedy to be giving him steroids. So for some 8 years he was on steroids taking a slow toll on his body. The past two years he started to loose muscle mass. He dropped from 110 down to 90 pounds. These past 3 months he was like a fur draped creature. Bones and fur with little meat under it. He developed sores on his rear end from lack of muscled padding and this for a dog that was an inside dog his whole life. He would venture outside lately only for his business and little else except for camping. Carpets was his life, no hard concrete or dirt for him.
He went camping with us all the time, first when we were doing tent camping then a pop-up and recently to a pull behind camper. This past fall we had to get a folding ramp so he could get into the trailer as his muscled started to go south and he could no longer get up the steps. Within the last couple of months he had a difficult time doing his “business”, his rear could not hold up long enough for him to complete the task. He started doing what I called traveling dumps. Start here and wind up over there. Tuesday he plopped down after finishing and could not walk back into the house, some 5 feet away. This happened several more times for the next two days and our vet had advised us that when he got to this point it was time since neither of us could pick him up to take him outside. In conjunction with this recent turn of events we noticed that he was no longer the cheerful tail wagging dog we knew and loved. He seemed down and depressed. He had to be thinking his life sucked.
On Thursday morning, with many tears we took him to the vet and after filing out the forms and holding him for our last time on this earth said goodbye to our loyal wolf-dog as the vet administered the drug that took him home to his last field. The vets office called the next afternoon telling us his ashes where ready for pick up. He sits in a cedar box in the living room where as we walk by we can give him a gentle tap, reminding ourselves and him that the pack is together again.
See you soon dear friend.
We never told anyone he was half wolf. People would ask and we would say he was a malamute. The vet knew he had some wolf in him. His dad was a grey wolf, his mom was a papered husky. Size wise he fit closer to the dad, Bandit in his prime was just under120 pounds, over 6 feet in length standing on his rear legs. His dad was slightly longer and heavier. He has one blue eye from his mom and one golden eye from his dad. How was his wolf side shown you might ask. We never saw an aggressive dog at all. We had him fixed as soon as it was advisable, and my wife, a former breeder and dog shower, trained him well. She knew that as long as he knew who the top dog was as a puppy, when he got big he would never become a problem. He knew she was the top dog and I was his equal. He knew she was boss so while at times he would “talk back”; he never got out of line. The only time you saw the wolf side was when food was placed in his bowl. His bowl was his. Of course, when we ate, if we would give him a snack from the table, it was ours until we gave it to him. If we dropped something on the floor, he wouldn’t dart in to get it unless you snapped your fingers and pointed to it. But once anything was placed in his bowl, unless you were my wife, you didn’t go near him or it. He would lift his lip, show you his teeth and make a deep growl that gave others warning. My wife on the other hand could reach in and while he would try to snarl and raise his lip, he knew better and tolerated her doing it. When he was out in public with us, he was always a people pet. He preferred people when he was a pup at doggy school over the other dogs. People gave him a wide berth but he always approached people head down tail wagging furiously. He loved people. Other dogs he was interested in but only after seeing their owners. We will never try to replace him. There will never be another wolf-dog in our life as he was so special there is no way it would be fair to the next one. We will get another dog some time. A dog, maybe not as bright, certainly louder as Bandit NEVER barked. (Lets think about it, when he was outside, he would stalk other animals, head down, tail down, eyes alert, why the hell would you bark at something that you were trying to catch and eat LOL, people OTOH he would wag his tail furiously at, he never stalked people or their pets on a leash)