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What can I say about Brownie? He is my heart dog, best friend, companion, and protector. He has taking care of me for over 11 years. His cancer was confirmed on 2/26/2019, and now it is time for me to take care of him. Below is a love letter I wrote to Brownie. This is his story.
THREE PROMISES TO BROWNIE
Brownie, I remember the first day I saw you. You were about eight weeks old. The man next door brought you and your sister (litter mate) home. You were two of the cutest puppies I have ever seen. Even though the man had three acres fenced in the back, he let the two of you run free in the front. I use to watch the two of you play, climb the dirt pile, and just living the puppy life. Your name was Playboy and your sister’s name was Barbie. I didn’t really care for the name Playboy, so I referred to you as “Brown Dog”. For some reason the two of you would hang out on my front porch, so I put a bed on the porch for the two of you. One day I looked out my window, and what did I see? Your sister was laying in the bed and you were pulling her around in the front yard. I laughed so hard! I thought that Brown Dog is going to be a handful, and it is also the day I fell in love with you. One day I was leaving and I saw you sitting in my garage. I asked you “Where is your sister? The two of you were always together. Then I looked around and I found her. Sadly, she had been hit by a car. So I wrapped her in a blanket, and put her by the man’s fence. That was the day you became a chained dog. I asked the man, Why are you putting him on a chain when you have a fence? He said “This dog is valuable, and I want to make sure I don’t lose another one”. Even though you were the sweetest, most loving puppy ever, to him it was about the money.
So as days, weeks, and months went by. My heart sunk every time I saw you on that chain! You were on concrete with no grass to lay in. No dog house, no doggie bed, or even toys. At times I would throw you a treat over the fence. I would go over to where you were, and give you attention untangle you, and change your water that was constantly full of algae. One day I was out back playing with my pack. I looked over at you on that chain, and knew what you were thinking. Why can’t I play? What did I do wrong? I had enough, and I knew you did too! So when the man went to work, I would take you off your chain and put you in my yard where you enjoyed running and playing with the pack. Even though it broke my heart, I had to put you back on that chain before the man got home. Brownie, I made my first promise to you. I was going to get you off that chain! We continued this charade for a few months. I had several conversations with the man but had no success. But then you figured out how to get off the chain, and climb the fence into my yard. That made the man mad! One day I looked over, and he had you on a huge chain, the kind you tow a car with. You couldn’t even keep your head up. I remembered what the man said about you being valuable. I ran to the bank and pulled out some cash. I went next door, and asked the man how much he paid for you, and told him I would double it. He agreed! YEA at last! That is the day you became part of my pack and you became Brownie!
But boy were you a mess! You would run up behind me and knock me over. You chewed up my leather purse along with the 20.00 bill that was inside. No treats that week! You jumped up on the bay window, and broke it. But the worse thing was, you chewed a huge hole in our new leather couch. I thought, your father is going to kill you! So mom made a few phone calls and found a repairman that could come out that day. Your father never knew what happened and to this day it is our secret! Brownie, I called you “Bad Dog” so many times. But the truth is you are such a Good Dog, Best Dog, and most Loyal Dog ever! It just took a little time, a little training and a little love.
Then the day came when it was time to leave the house in the country. So you, I and a suitcase went to the city and stayed in a hotel for a week, then moved into an apartment. I was worried about how you would adjust to the apartment life, but you did. You enjoyed your many hikes a day, and your trips to the park. You even met your best buddy Grizzly. On nice days I would leave the patio door open. I was working in the office and I heard a bark. I thought “that sounds like Brownie” I opened the front door, and there you were. You jumped over the paito, I guess to take care of business then wanted back in. I asked you, “you let yourself out, but you can let yourself back in”? There was a day when I got a call from Grizzly’s dad. He said you were barking at their door wanting to come in to visit, so he let you in. That means you ran across the apartment complex, up to the third floor and found Grizzly’s apartment. From that day on, no more leaving the patio door open.
Brownie on left, age 3. Grizzly on right, Age 2
Do you remember when you dropped toys into the toilet and flooded the bathroom? Do you remember when you locked mom out of the apartment. When I left to run to the store you jumped up on the door, and I guess you turned the keyless lock, because when I got home I could not get in with my key. The maintenance man had to break in. However, I do remember and will never forget the amazing thing you did. Mom wasn’t feeling well but I knew you needed to go out. The next thing I remember is Grizzly’s dad carrying me into the apartment. Apparently I passed out during our walk (low blood sugar). Again, you ran across the apartment complex to Grizzly’s door and barked. But this time you would not go in. Grizzly and his dad followed you, and you brought them to me. I always knew we had a special bond, but that is the day I realized you were my HEART DOG!
The time came when it was time for mom to go back to work full time. You were not happy! I would give you your favorite treat before I left, but you would not eat it until I got home. Also, when I would leave you would try to hide. I realized you were lonely. So I went to the shelter and Max entered our lives.
Brownie, you became such a good Big Brother. Max did whatever you did. You chased the ball, and Max would follow. You jumped into the lake, and so would Max. Max loves you so much! Everything was good again! I used to joke around, and I would call Max your live toy. Since our little family grew we moved into a bigger apt and you met your friend Hemi. You again, would go to Hemi’s door and bark for him to come out and play. Unfortunately Hemi got sick (cancer) and went to Rainbow Bridge. I believe one day you will see him again. Neighbors would amazed by your actions and how you would carry the groceries in for mom. But once you found the bag with your treats you would stop. Can’t blame you for that. My second promise to you was I was going to get you another house, and fortunately I was able to.
So you, Max and I moved into our new little house. Everything was good and we were all happy. Then Sassy entered our lives. As you know Sassy was a stray that needed help, so I brought her home. I don’t think the two of you were happy together at first. She would challenge you to be top dog, but you would just look at her and say “yeah right”. After some training Sassy realized her place in the pack, and that mom was top dog.
Even though we no longer lived in the apartment complex where Grizzly lived we still met up for play dates. The two of you have been friends for nine years now, since you were three and Grizzly was two. In February of 2019 we met at the park to go on our hike. Grizzly’s dad noticed you were not acting right, something was off. I said, “Yes, I know, I guess it’s just age”. The next day you started limping. I thought maybe we overdid it. However, after a few days the limp was not getting better. I took you to the vet to get an xray. Brownie, I am not going to sugar coat this. It was not good news. They said it was early, but it could be a cist, or most likely cancer. They told me to come back in two weeks for another x ray. On February 26, 2019 (worse birthday of my life) it was confirmed. You had a huge tumor in your left front leg, that was most likely OST Bone Cancer. All I heard your vet say was pain, amputation, or put down. It felt like someone punched me in the stomach. How can this be? Besides from a tummy ache you have never been sick. Not an ear infection, still have all of your teeth, no signs of arthritis. Due to you being 12, and your front leg, I thought the best route to take was to treat you with pain medication, and just to keep you comfortable. I was afraid if we amputated you would wonder why I did this to you? Are you too old for this? But the tumor was growing, and I could see your pain was getting worse. All I could think about was, I am losing my best friend, my companion, my protector. I prayed many nights on what to do. Then one day it came to me. It is time for me to get off the pity potty! This is not about me, this is about you! So mom went to work researching night after night. I came across the website tripawds.com and read many stories about senior dogs getting front leg amputations and doing great! So I thought, if those dogs can do it, so can you! The next morning I called the vet and asked “is it too late”? They scheduled you for surgery, and on March 21, 2019 you had your front left leg amputated. Two days after surgery you came home. Max, your little brother stayed right by your side. It was like he was saying “don’t worry, big brother, I got you”!
On your second day home I helped you outside, and I went into the house to change your bed. Then I turned around, and there you were! Oh my gosh! You walked back into the house all by yourself! I was so proud of you! You improved daily, and Brownie you inspired me everyday. You taught me when there is a will there’s a way. To be patient. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Stop what you are doing and look what is right in front of you. For me that is you, Max and Sassy. After about ten days you were recovering well, no complications. But, you were not the Brownie that I have grown to love. Were you mad at me? Were you in pain? You had not barked since you have been home. I just did not know what was going on. I remember the site tripawds.com and joined. Thanks to everyone on the site I got a better understanding of the amputation, cancer and behavior you were having. “Be patient he will come around” was the best advice I received. And you did! The first day I came home from work you seemed excited for the first time! You even said “please” for a cookie. Then the next day when I came home, when you heard the garage door open you barked! I was so happy, and knew my Brownie was back! That deep, loud annoying bark that I love so much!
Brownie, I do not know what lies ahead. We will take one day at a time. I hope to give you fun filled days, and to spoil you rotten. I want you to know that I love you so much! I pray that I have made the right decisions on your behalf. When the time comes that you are not feeling well, or you are in pain, I will not be selfish. I will not hold on to you for me. Even though it will be the hardest thing I ever do I will make the call, and you will begin your incredible journey to Rainbow Bridge, from your home. Now I have a third and final promise to you, but I will need a little help with this one. I promise, I will pray every night, and God willing, one day I will pick you up from Rainbow Bridge, and we will cross over together.