Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bridget (Nov. 22, 2002 - Feb. 24, 2010)

Three months ago, on a Wednesday evening, Bridget had her first seizure (that we saw). It was a very small one, and we didn't think a whole lot of it, I think because we didn't want to think of it too much. But it was the first of many to come... many longer and more serious ones.
She didn't respond to medical therapy, and we weren't optimistic at the outset that she would. There just aren't any good reasons for a 7 year old Boxer to begin having seizures.

We were able to tolerate them when they were fewer and further between, but about 4 weeks ago they started coming every day. Treatment helped a little bit, but not to the degree that it restored any quality of life. As things played out, yesterday afternoon she was as close to normal as we had seen in weeks... and then last evening came. It was clear that she was not moving in a good direction, but rather a direction that was a slow downward spiral. We didn't pursue MRI because we weren't going to pursue surgery for the brain tumor that it would reveal. We stopped the suffering today because she didn't deserve any of it. We didn't want to put her to sleep because we didn't want to lose her.
But we had already lost her.

We have so many good memories of Bridget that we can't recount even a fraction of them here. In fact, Bridget didn't create a single bad memory for me. Sure she chewed one of Jenn's shoes when she was a puppy, but we asked for that, leaving her outside of her crate with things to chew on.

God really did bless me with a great dog for my time in vet school, and Bridget was always our "good" dog. She was absolutely wonderful with Lincoln from day
one when he was a cryer/screamer, and all they way through her last day when we were still teaching him how to pet a dog nicely. We couldn't have had a better family dog.

Jenn and I were blessed to have a few bonus years with Bridget.
You'll recall a few years ago that she had discospondilitis, a horrible bone infection of two of her vertebrae. I remember the evening like it was yesterday that I thought we were going to have to put her to sleep because her pain was so severe she could hardly walk straight and she couldn't use stairs. She endured extreme suffering before we could determine what was wrong, and she made a remarkable recovery. Her radiographs were never the same, but she was a happy, functional Boxer.

Bridget was part of our marriage from the start. Jenn and I picked her out in the winter of 2002, the year before we got married, after looking for weeks for a Boxer puppy. We went to a breeder that seemed to have good answers to our questions and there were two that held our interest. One was a fawn with a black mask and little flash that was darn cute but very mouthy. The other was a fawn with a lot of flash, a cow-lick like patch on the back of her neck, and not mouthy at all. Had we left the breeder with a pup on our first visit, we would have left with the former. But I insisted that we leave and think about it. We returned a few days later and came home with Bridget, and we never regretted our decision for an instant over the past 7+ years. In fact, from 2006 throught 2009, I told folks that my three least regretable purchases of my life were our cedar picket fence (at Norton Rd.), Jenn's engagement ring, and Bridget, and not necessarily in that order!

She was a great dog with Casey, Mom and Dad's old Yellow Lab. When she knew Casey, Casey was an old lady that couldn't wrestle too much, and Bridget was gentle with her. She was also a good dog with Kyra, our Doberman, as she could wrestle and bang with her and the two of them could wear each other out.
She was great with Betty because she could take a lot of her crap, but then lay the smack down with the swift movement of her paw, pinning Betty on her back and showing her who was boss. How can we replace that?

There's so much going on in all of our lives that
seems so much more serious than losing a dog. It may be hard to identify with our grief, and that's okay. Lincoln doesn't understand why his Mommy and Daddy are so sad right now, and he'll have no memory of Bridget when he's older. This is extremely sad for both Jenn and for me, by the way. But it's important to know that Bridget held a special place in our family that we simply cannot replace.


Mary Zolene said...

So very sorry to hear of Bridget's passing. I know how hard it is...

Emily said...

Ryan and Jenn, I am so sorry to hear about this! I am sitting in my classroom during indoor recess just crying as I read your blog. What a loss. She was a wonderful dog.
Love you guys,

Anonymous said...

A Special Place
You have a special place Dear Lord
that I know you'll always keep
A special place reserved for dogs
when they quietly fall asleep
With large and airy kennels
and a yard for hiding bones
With maybe a little babbling creek
that chatters over stones.
With wide green fields and flowers
for those who never knew
about running freely under
Your sky of perfect blue.
Lord, I know You keep this Special Place
And so to You I pray,
For one Special Boxer
Who quietly died today
She was full of strength and love
and so very, very wise.
The puppy look she once had
Still shining in her eyes.
She is dearly missed my Lord
By a very good friend of mine.
She went to join her ancestors
To Your land that is Divine
So, speak to Bridget softly please
And give her a warm hello.
She's a Special gift to You Dear Lord
From Ryan, Jen and Lincoln, who loved her so.

angela said...

So sorry to hear this, guys! I know how much you treasured Bridget. Praying for you!

Gary Fetters said...

Hey, Ryan and Jenn...

I just wanted to say that I'm really sorry to hear about Bridget's passing. She was a good dog! I am gonna miss her.


Laymani Boxers said...

Ryan and Jenn,
Thanks for visiting with us today. We hope the time with Boxers and puppies gave you some peace. The photos of Bridget are just great, especially the running one. Hold your good memories of her close. If you feel the need for some Boxer time, come on down and we'll each take a Boxer for a walk on the back forty.
Guy and Denise

allison said...

I am so sorry about your losing Bridget. I remember losing our family dog and how that felt. I still dream about her. I hope your new puppy fills you up with much love and happiness!