Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our Beloved Bear

Oh, so many things I want to say.  I know I wrote a post a few days ago but feel if I don't write one now about Bear, I'll never be able to write one again.  Bear will be with us a few days more.  Bear is dying.  There is no other way to put it.  No sugar coating it.  He is suffering and we can't allow him to go on like this.  Bear is 13 years old.  I guess we should tell the Bear story that we never told before.  So, here goes. 

Warren and I got married.  I had a dog named Aspen.  He was my dog from college that I had rescued from an abusive situation.  And no, I will not go into that.  When we got married, Warren was working and I was working.  We thought Aspen might be lonely during the day without us there.  We thought about a puppy but that is about it...just thinking.  Never acted on it.  Well, one day Warren and I decided to go to the local fairgrounds here to look around, spend some time together.  NO intentions whatsoever to actually get a puppy.  We both worked.  We didn't have time.  We had a dog.  So what on earth possessed us to get a dog that day?  Bear.  Plain and simple...Bear.  One look and Warren was hooked.  Bear was a tiny little thing(ironic, huh?) but chubby.  Cutest puppy in that little box.  though I had my eyes on a German Shepard in another area, Warren was set on this dog and wasn't letting him go.  We assumed he was some type of mutt.  BTW, he's a flat-coated retriever.  Bear had the softest fur.  Puppy smell.  We were so, so unprepared for another dog that we even had to stop by the pet store on the way home for supplies.  LOL.  Brought him home, Aspen sniffed him and turned away.  Umm, is this going to work honey?  Took some time but it did work.  Very well.  Aspen and Bear became great buddies.  They played together, slept together, etc. 

Soon after Bear got home, we knew we were in for a wild ride.  Aspen was older and more settled.  Bear was all puppy.  He chewed everything in site.  Our bed, my shoes, furniture, etc.  One year, Bear even ate Christmas!  All of it.  Well, dummy me wraps up a Hickory Farms Beef Stick and put it under the tree.  Bear opened that up and then decided anything else in wrapping paper would test good including Barbies.  It was nuts.  Bear has given us way too many great memories to count.  He swam in our pool.  Bear was protective of our family and our kids.  No harm would ever come to anyone here if Bear was around.  You could be rest assured. 

Bear went with us on our honeymoon even.  This dog is special beyond anyone's realization.  Bear has helped us through some really tough times in life.  He loved going for walks.  He loved chasing squirrels in the yard.  Caught a few too!  He used to NOT like any other dog in our yard.  Would attack them.  Over the years though, he's mellowed and will let other dogs in the yard but not in the house.  That is his turf.  Bear loved his ears being scratched.  Loved it.  Bear hated getting a bath.  He'd rather wallow in the dirt.  Bear loved laying outside taking in all the happenings in the yard.  When younger, Bear would play stick with the kids.  He also had his "nappy."  That's what we called his old stuffed animals.  This big dog loved his stuffed animals.  He'd have a stuffed animal in his mouth and greet us at the door.  Looked so silly this huge dog w/ a baby stuffed animal in his mouth.  

Bear was a survivor.  Remember, we have 7 children, all with issues.  Things are bound to happen.  When Bear was just 4 months old, we thought he was dead.  He was hit head on with a pick up truck in front of our house.  I scooped that puppy up and layed him on the concrete sobbing.  He got up!  We scooped him up again and ran to the vet.  He made it.  He survived the pick up truck collision.  What a dog.  Bear also survived Yana breaking his leg.  Not intentionally.  She took him for a walk and he chased a squirrel into the woods.  She yanked on his leash to turn him around yet never realized his leg was stuck in a hole in the tree.  His leg was very badly broken and in a cast for a very long time.  Yet, Bear survived.  Bear survived being poisoned by Irina.  She dropped an industrialized size bag of chocolate chips.  Bear ate the entire couple pound bag!  yet, he survived.  Threw up a lot that evening but survived.  Bear is such a trooper.  He's survived countless hours of the kids playing soccer around him and accidentally hitting him.  He survived being shot with a bullet in the tail( not by us mind you).  He survived the kids dropping countless things on him as they're carrying stuff upstairs.  Through all this, Bear has NEVER EVER once bit any of our kids nor the kids I care for.  Not a once.  He has always loved everyone in this home. 

Bear has always been there to greet you at the door with a tail wag.  Bear was distraught the day Warren was gone for work over night.  That dog laid outside in the pouring down rain waiting for him to come home.  Now, where else can you get that kind of faithfulness?  I could tell countless Bear stories.  I don't think anyone in this home could love a dog any more.  Bear will be remembered for his unwavering love of this family, his gentle giantness of sorts, his doggy smile and tail wag every time the school bus pulled up at the driveway, his tearing open of Christmas presents in his Christmas stocking every year, and too many other things to name.  I can not even begin to describe what this dog has meant in our lives. 

It is with great sorrow we have to say goodbye to a wonderful family member.  Our teddy bear.  The one and only.  This dog will always have a very special place in our hearts.  He has added so much joy and love to this family.  It was an honor and a pleasure having him as our dog.  I don't even want to think of what tomorrow will be like.  There will be no pictures.  Just us alone with Bear saying goodbye to one of the best dogs to ever live.  He changed the lives of many children in this household.  Love is such a little word for the feelings that we hold dear for this dog.  Love doesn't even begin to touch it.  We may not be up to posting much in the next day or so so don't be surprised.  Our hearts ache already for what we've witnessed with Bear over the last day.  I think many hearts will ache for the loss of such a great companion.  We love you more than words can say teddy bear. 


  1. one morning, in july 2003, we went downstairs to let our two dogs out for their morning "potty break." my doggie, a 3-year-old black lab named Brydgette, was breathing heavily & panting. it wasn't strained, it was just like she'd been running, except she hadn't. i was going through my first course of treatment for my medical problems, and was literally too weak to go to the vet with my parents. but Brydgette would be home in a few hours, so i went back to bed.

    that night i wanted to go visit. but the vet said she needed her rest - they didn't know what the problem was, but she was wheezing, and seemed to do quite well only when she was calm. Brydgette would've qualified as the world's most ADHD person had she been a child rather than a dog, and no amount of Ritalin would've helped. so we decided to let her rest & visit in the morning.

    in the middle of the night, the phone rang.

    i can't repeat what i heard... but the bottom line is, she was gone. my doggie, just 3 years old & more full of life than any animal i had EVER seen, was dead.

    most people didn't get it. it was like they heard & said, "oh, i'm sorry! so what else did you do today?" like it didn't matter. my world was stopped.

    i'm so sorry you're having to go through this. try to make the most of what time you have & cherish the chance to say goodbye properly - it still haunts me that i never got that chance. it wouldn't make the loss easier, but would've brought some small comfort rather than knowing my doggie died with strangers in an animal ICU. it comforted me that my Mom had told them to spare no expense & go to ANY extreme to save her, because although it didn't work in the end, knowing there was NOTHING else they could've done made a big difference for me mentally & emotionally. i'll always be grateful my Mom thought to tell them that so that i don't have to wonder if the time they spent seeking our authorization would've made a difference.

    our other dog is nearing her end days, she's a 13-year-old doggie who is part of the family. every morning we pray she's still here with us.

    i say all this so you know you're not alone, and that some people DO understand the significance of this loss. i will be praying for you & sincerely want to offer any help & support i can. please keep us posted.

    and thanks for sharing your Bear with us!

  2. I'm so terribly sorry you have to go through this. Bear has had a wonderful life, and he knows he is loved. As a dog mom to 4, I know exactly how hard this is for you!! Is there a vet in your area who will come to your house instead of having to take Bear in? It would be SO much more peaceful for him. To just lay in his own favorite spot, at home with his favorite people.

  3. This summer we had to say goodbye to our 17 year old "mutt' - she was the sweetest dog I have ever known. I stayed with her during the procedure and for quite a while afterwards. It is very quick and very humane. Be comforted to know that they are no longer in pain and suffering. My thought and prayers are with you at this very sad time. ((((((((((HUGS)))))))))

  4. As I type this my labrador retriever "Pache" is snoring next to my feet. I'm sooo sorry. I know how hard it can be and that no words will make it easier. Take care today. You will be in my thoughts.

  5. Abdulina -

    I'm sorry and really feel for your whole family. A dog is so much more than just a dog and the unconditional love they give is beyond measure. Thank you for sharing the story of Bear and how he touched your lives. Y'all will have to hold on to the thought that you did what was best for HIM even though it hurts you.

    I'll be thinking about y'all....

  6. We have 2 dogs and 3 and 1/2 cats - the 1/2 being a neighborhood stray that 3 families have adopted,he pops up and eats at all our houses then excuses himself! They are all special but Sammy - one of the cats - is our "Bear" He is 11 years old, born on the 4th of July, hence the name Sammy for Uncle Sam!He is an inside kitty and got out and lost about 6 years ago. We were so distraught! My husband took a week of vacation to walk the streets looking for him. Our house was so quiet. We cried every day. We had a huge sign in our frontyard offering a reward. Droves of schoolkids roamed the neighborhood looking for him, We couldn't imagine life without him! I called a man across the country who uses dogs to track humans and he told me to take the urine from the family member that Sam is closest to and sprinkle it in the yard and make a trail leading from our house with it - honestly, we were desperate! We did and had to leave that day to drive 6hours to pick up my mother. The next day, on our way home, our next door neighbor called and said Sammy showed up in his garage that morning! We sped the next 3 hours home and found Sam 6 lbs lighter, sunburned, scared and scratched up but HE WAS HOME!! Sam is my child - not "just a cat" as others have said. When I sat on my bed crying the day my grandmother died, I felt something and opened my eyes to see Sammy licking the tears off my arm! My family tells me that when I leave for work, he howls and howls as soon as I walk out the door. He loves me and I love him. I am already starting to think about that day when I will have to say goodbye and I can't imagine it. We had to have another cat put to sleep in April this year and that was such a guilt ridden period. I am soooo sorry about Bear - I read your post, knowing exactly how you feel - I could have written it about Sammy! Please accept my sympathy!