Friday, August 10, 2007

The Love of my Life

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the passing of my big, beautiful Saint Bernard, Brandy.

The following is what I wrote as a tribute to her the following day (August 11, 2005):

I remember when I brought you home. You were bought from a breeder that lived near Claremont. When I got home, I gave the puppy some food and water. The dog walked around a bit. I noted that she was awfully. I ended up naming her Brandy. Zoe (my other dog) seemed to like her. Mayo, the cat, wasn't as convinced. Brandy grew fast. It was always amusing when the dogs would see someone at the front door and they would both be barking, Zoe with her higher pitched voice and Brandy with her deep one. I took them to the dog park on a few occasions.

In early 2000, Brandy started having seizures, so I got her checked out and was able to keep them mostly in check over the years.

Zoe passed on in December of 2000. She had low blood platelets. She was receiving medication for this, but one weekend, she started moving her head in a weird way. I took her to the vet who gave her a shot. He said that it would take a couple days for it to truly take effect.

Unfortunately, she passed on before this could happen. The disease had apparently gotten into her brain. She passed at 3 and a half years old, much too young. I cried the next morning knowing that I wouldn't be able to spend time with her as before. However, on a couple of occasions, one in particular, I did feel her presence. Lying in bed, I heard the bark of a small dog. It came from near the garage door and sounded just like Zoe. One of the last things I said to Zoe before she passed was that I would see her soon. I continue to look forward to that day.

Life continued with Brandy and Mayo. Brandy didn't seem to notice Zoe's passing too much. If anything, she was more energetic. Perhaps some of Zoe's spirit passed on to Brandy at that time. I spent extra time with Brandy and Mayo appreciating the pets I still had. Brandy developed hip dysplasia, but was able to walk alright for quite some time. As she grew older and became a senior, I helped her up and down the stairs and made sure to bring her inside if the weather was too extreme. I checked on her regularly; made sure she had water and food, etc. She pretty much always let me know if she needed something whether it was help getting up, someone to give her a massage, or just someone to give her attention. For years, I couldn't stand the thought of getting another dog. Losing Zoe just hurt too much.

By the summer of 2004, I was ready. Having a lap dog is fun and it would be great to have someone else around to give Brandy some attention when I was gone. I bought a Pomeranian and named her Zoe as well (I was comfortable with using the name again). In fact, Zoe 2 has many of the same characteristics as the first. They both pee on the floor when excited. They both like sleeping under our bed near the head of it. They both love playing with Trolls. They both love chewing on female's underwear for some reason. And they both like to lick Brandy around the corner of her eyes. I sometimes wonder if the first Zoe has come back in the guise of my young Pomeranian in order to spend some more time with us. Zoe 2 and Brandy spent a full year together. Zoe 1 and Brandy spent a little over two years together. In between, it was us, Brandy, and Mayo. Now, it's me, Zoe 2, and Mayo.

Yesterday, I left work at 7:30am after giving Brandy her medication in the back yard. She had water next to her. I returned home a little after 6pm. She was lying with her back legs up in the air. There were flies all over her. She had passed. I don't believe it was the heat. The heat index wasn't very high yesterday especially when compared to other days we've had this summer. I think it may be that her heart gave out. Saint Bernards are quite susceptible to heart problems. I have to say that I felt a tangible sense of peace in the backyard yesterday afternoon. It was as if her spirit was amidst us saying, "Thank you, kind ones. I am free now".

She was exactly 6 years and 10 months on the day she passed. For a large breed, that translates to being about 55 years old in human years. I believe I did all I could. In fact, the vet tech who did some in-home sitting for us earlier this year said that I really did take the best care of her. I don't believe most other households would have had the time, money, and inclination to do as much as I could for her. It was easy for me, though.

When she was still a puppy, she was jumping around near the front door wanting to go outside. I started to yell at her a little bit, but then looked into her eyes and realized that she was just a puppy wanting to have fun, wanting to live. I made a promise to her then, audibly, that I would take care of her for the rest of my life. So, as the years went by, I always kept a close eye on her to make sure that she wasn't in pain and discomfort. I helped her walk if she needed it, laid next to her, sat in a chair next to her when she was in the wading pool, talked to her, massaged her, reassured her. I saw a beautiful, beautiful soul beneath all that fur in those big blue eyes. And I cherish every day I had with her. It will be hard not having her around, not being able to talk to her, touch her. My eyes are misting as I write this. But I know that she is OK, that she is no longer suffering, that she can walk unencumbered now and is free and I'm sure she is thankful for the life we gave her from the fall of 1998 until the summer of 2005. I wasn't so sure she would last this long due to her being diagnosed with epilepsy at such a young age, but she hung in there and she still had fun. She enjoyed going into the wading pool, laying in there to cool off, licking the snow in the backyard after a big snowfall.

She was so kind and tolerant and beautiful. What a gift to my life she was. I will never forget you, Brandy girl. You have my love forever and I look forward to seeing you again someday. Take care, Brandy Lyn. You will be in my heart always.

Postscript: 4 days after Bran's passing, the following occurred:

I was lying on the bed by myself in a relaxed state and quietly saying things like, "Brandy, are you out there? I miss you. If you're still around, could you please give me a sign?". I swear not 2 seconds later, the doorbell rang! I was like, "That can't be her". It was a friend at the door. I wasn't expecting her since she usually calls first before coming over. But, wow, immediately after I ask for a sign, I hear the doorbell ring. I thought that was quite awesome.


Rocketstar said...

That last photo is perfect, wow.

the108 said...

Brandy is stunning.... you are so very lucky for having known her.

Beautiful tribute to your lost, little pup.

M said...

What beautiful photos of a beautiful dog. So sorry for your loss.

Thomas said...

Thank you, M.

Happy Holidays!