I said goodbye to Eddie on Saturday. With his Mum’s permission, I am writing this post.
Eddie and I first met in June 2016 when he was the tender age of 11 weeks. He was the newest addition to a family that already included his French Bulldog sister, Jorgie – also a regular massage customer.
As he rapidly grew, he developed his rugby player neck which earned him my nickname “My Little Boofhead.” It didn’t take him long to understand that the table meant massage – leaping up to get started:
In the intervening 4+ years, Eddie proved to be an enthusiastic Lover and not a Fighter (contrary to what so many people believe about Bull Breed dogs). Always eager to please, he learned strengthening and rehab exercises quickly.
He was also an Over-Sharer – I lovingly called him this because he would often howl in my ear for part of his massage session. I am convinced he wanted me to know everything he had been doing since I last saw him. (I just wish he had come with subtitles and a volume control).
Eddie was one of those dogs that seemed to go from crisis to crisis. He needed soft palate surgery after suffering from enlarged tonsils, he developed digestive problems that did not respond to various therapies and, after biopsy, was diagnosed with IBD. He then ingested rat poison when visiting a neighbour and had to go to the emergency vet for what was – thankfully – a quick intervention. He then ruptured one cruciate and had surgery followed by 12 weeks of rehab- only to become a statistic and rupturing the other in good measure.
And then in September, just as it looked like we had fully rehabbed him from his second cruciate surgery and he was ready to strengthen and return to normal activity, out of the blue he developed pancreatitis that wasn’t linked to a food indiscretion.
As it turned out, his ultrasound revealed that Eddie was likely suffering from stomach cancer and our focus turned to his quality of life. Eddie’s mum asked that we continue laser therapy for pain relief, knowing that laser therapy is contraindicated in cases of cancer – this was about keeping him happy and comfortable as a cure was not possible.
Eddie’s time has come. A follow-up scan has shown that his tumour has grown significantly and, tomorrow morning, he will be helped across the Rainbow Bridge.
In Eddie’s case, I see him mounting the Bridge in his custom-built stairlift (this video made him something of a Facebook star with some loyal followers on my page).
Eddie has taught me a lot about living in the moment; no matter what the health challenge of the time, he seemed to roll with it. But cancer is a wasting disease and only in the last few weeks did we notice how flat he had become – definitely not his normal self.
Goodbye, My Little Boofhead. It’s been quite a ride – one that I wish would have lasted for much longer.
Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand