Monday, January 12, 2009

Remembering Red Dog

January 29 1997-
January 12 2008
RD copy

A year ago today, I held my big brown border collie in my arms, and watched him die. I told him I loved him and that I was sorry I couldn't save him, and that one day we'd see one another again. But as his chest stopped rising and falling I wanted to take it all back. It wasn't fair. I wanted Briggs to see another birthday; I wanted my dog to have the chance to grow old. He was just a couple weeks shy of his 11th birthday - it was not long enough. Briggs was my best friend.

I got Briggs when he was about 5 months old, from a "breeder" in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. Before the ubiquity of the internet bulletin board, I occasionally chatted with other dog owners on rec.pets.dogs and this is where Briggs' breeder found me, I guess ... she emailed me one day, and said "I heard you were looking for a red & white border collie, and I have one. I can't seem to sell him, so if you want him, he's yours. Come get him."

I wasn't, in fact, looking for a border collie, but her email intrigued me. I asked her to tell me more. She'd imported an AKC male, a "champion" she said, from a breeder in Ontario, Canada, and then bred him to 'the bitch up the road.' She took a female pup as a stud fee, and bred her back to her father - linebreeding, this is called. At the time, I didn't know what a good breeder of dogs was, or a bad one, or what an AKC title meant, and how that was different from the farm bitch up the road ... or how many unwanted border collies there were in Idaho.

And I didn't know that a puppy that was so shy and reserved that his whole litter sold in 48 hours except for him would be such a handful his whole life, or that his life would change mine. But when the breeder mailed me a VHS tape with video of 18 week old "puppy" bending in half in a full body wag for the camera, I knew he was going to be mine. We drove to Leavensworth Washington to meet the woman and my new puppy.

He was a mess. He had never been on a leash, or walked on pavement, or been in a car, or seen so many strangers - and the surreal Bavarian theme town of Leavensworth really freaked him out. He crapped in the car, and threw up in the car, and it was a long, long trip home. And it was a long, steep learning curve for Briggs and me.

There are many stories about Briggs I could share - the ones that make me laugh, like the morning I realized that every day when I went into the bathroom to brush my hair, he sneakily drank the rest of my coffee; or how when I got Tweed, he used to pile toys in front of Tweed's crate every day while I was at work and then play with them not 9 inches from Tweed's frantic face ('ha ha! You're crated, I'm not!'). There are stories of the times he made me cry, biting various strangers until I thought I was going to have to put him to sleep, and attacking the neighorhood dogs, or biting me when he was foiled by the leash and redirected his rage.

But the most amazing thing about Briggs was his complete willingness to do what I asked, even when it was his instinct as an abnormally shy, and unusually aggressive dog to do something completely different. I combed the internet for resources for help and found ways to manage and retrain him. We worked through his fear of people until the day Briggs rolled over for my bank manager to give him belly rubs with no hesitation, and I knew we'd licked it. I worked and worked on his dog aggression until he could even go to the dog park without incident on a daily basis. They were long hard battles, but they taught me so much - about Briggs, about dogs, and about border collies.

Because of Briggs, about 500 dogs have found new homes through TDBCR over the last decade or so. It was in my searches for help that I learned about border collie rescue, and the good work they did, and I started doing it myself. My experience with Briggs lent itself to helping other people who wanted to understand their dogs but could not, or to help their dogs when those people could not handle them anymore. In looking for things to do to keep Briggs occupied, I found agility, and then stockwork and flyball. Through these activities I met some of my best and closest friends.

Throughout the many highs and lows of our all-too-short time together, Briggs never changed. He got older, and slower - his hips began to fail him and his elbows crapped out on him. His thick curly coat became dull and thin, and half his face became paralyzed and saggy and droopy. He couldn't run very fast, or do as much, but he never, ever lost his completely unshakeable faith in me. No matter what I did to him, or what I asked of him, Briggs gave himself utterly and completely to me - no dog I have ever had before or since has ever been so 100% my dog.

I'm not generally one to wax sentimental over much, but when I lost Briggs I really felt like I'd lost a piece of my soul. I looked at my other dogs and thought what pale imitations they were of The Great Red Dog and how unable they would be to fill the huge void his death left behind.

But they filled it. I have never stopped missing Briggsy, but now I remember him fondly, with much less sadness than before. Without his tyrannical presence - for while I loved him, he really was a bossy asshole of a dog - my other dogs have learned to be themselves, and they are comical, sensitive personalities of their own. The lessons I learned from Briggs did not leave with him, and many many other dogs have benefitted from them. Briggs' time here on earth was not just for him, or for me, but for a greater purpose and the 500 dogs or so who have found new homes through rescue all owe a little tiny bit of their happiness to that big red border collie.

So today, hug your dog, or dogs, from me and Briggs. And if you have a Briggs of your own, a dog that looks right into your heart and sees himself resting there, then hug him a little tighter, from me.

I miss you buddy. Thanks for everything.
rd copy

In honour of Briggs' passing, I thought it would be nice to give you an update on another old, grumpy, unwanted stinky dog that was a fixture of 3WAAW for a while. You know him as Sporty. His forever home sent an update:


Having Sport with us for his "end of life care" has been, and continues to be a complete joy. When we first met him in July, (when we kept him over night before taking him out to Sheena in Vancouver), he was sick, emaciated, and very very sad. Christopher and I were afraid that despite the best efforts of Sheena, Sport might die. We are pleased to report Sport is a happy, spoiled little old man. His teeth are fixed and his skin and coat are in beautiful condition; we now have to worry about him putting on too much weight (he is presently 40 pounds as compared to the 27 he weighed in July!)

There is no doubt however, that he is definitely in the twilight of his years. We take him in to see the vet every 30 days to have his medications adjusted. His heart problems are getting worse; he needs his daily Fortekor. We are now giving him Percocet (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen) to manage his arthritic pain. His medications have improved his quality of life to the point that he is able to go up and down stairs, walk and stand without loosing his balance. Actually, once the Percocet was introduced, he started to rocket around the house like a dog half his age. He finds it difficult to eat while standing up, but he loves reclining on his big pillow to have his meals served to him "Roman style".

He has also learned to manipulate the younger three dogs most shamelessly. If anyone goes near "his" stuff, whether it be toys, his blanket or The Big Fluffy Pillow, he comes to one of us and whines most pathetically until we make "those guys" let him have what he wants. He has trained us very well. In people years, the vet estimates he is about 96. He is a very spry 96.

I love working with TDBCR because I get to do cool stuff like make an old abandoned dog feel loved again.

Thank you for taking the time to read such a long posting, but I really wanted to share with everyone how well Sport, aka Sporticus, aka Sporty Pants, aka Sporty is doing.

Sonja & Christopher
Barney, Max, Eric and Sport


55 comments:

riosmom said...

Dear Sheena, Your post and the post about Sport tore me up. What a beautiful tribute to Briggs - it seems strange to write his name as you never shared it until after his death. And Sport's life now is a tribute to you and his new family.

Gracie, too, came into her own after Rio's death - a terrible price to pay but part of the cycle. You may be interested to know I just adopted a 7 year old BC mix called Patch, a sweet sweet dog. Gracie is being a hard-ass but I knew she would be.

Thank you for sharing Briggs with us through your blog and now sharing your thoughts about him.

dawn said...

I've been reading your blog for a few months now, reveling in the photos, enjoying the captions, loving your gorgeous family.

I've never commented before but now, through my tears, I must. That was a beautiful post. I must go now, though, and hug my dog... for me and from you.

Thank you for all you do and all you share... with us and with your dogs.

BrittBeah said...

What a sweet, teary post. I too have my own "Briggs", she is in her last years with me. Your post really hits close to my heart.

Molly said...

Thanks S, now I'm crying in the middle of a staff meeting ;( Thank you for a wonderful tribute to Briggs and a reminder of how much we need to treasure our companions while we have them.

Barbara said...

Thanks for sharing that wonderful story. I feel like I know all your dogs so well from your pictures, but the story of Briggs just makes it even better.

And the update on Sport! How wonderful for him.

Thanks for all the pictures and updates and how much you have inspired everyone to rescue dogs.

Barbara & the bedlam pack

Leanne Hurren said...

I've been following your blog for a few months now and this post really made me cry. I am struggling with a rescue BC at teh moment who has issues with dogs and people when on the lead. You have given me hope that we can work through it!! Sweet dreams Briggs - he looks like a gorgeous boy

Buzz's Food Lady (aka r0ssie) said...

Oh, Briggs, we miss you! What a wonderful dog.

Kathleen said...

Well, it's kind of hard to read this without wiping away the tears. Thanks for the post and the update. I need a Kleenex now, but I'll be back.

Mutt Gal said...

Thank you for this post about Briggs. I have a heart dog, too, and though I understand the strength of your connection to Briggs, I cannot imagine the pain of losing my best friend, my soul mate dog. Clearly his life changed yours and the lives of so many homeless dogs. I guess I don't know what to say- I just want you to know your post meant a lot.

Also, I'm glad Sporty is livin' the old man dream! He deserves it!

Tania said...

"And if you have a Briggs of your own, a dog that looks right into your heart and sees himself resting there, then hug him a little tighter, from me."
I am blessed to have such a dog and l cherish the ground she walks on.
Thankyou so much for sharing your feelings for Briggs with us. l am sitting here tears streaming down my face. Our dogs are such an important part of our lives and each moment spent with them is so very special, perhaps even more so than every other minute of our lives...

shihtzustaff said...

What a thoughtful and insightful post. We learn the most from the dogs who make us think. Thanks for sharing that today. I can't believe it has been a year.

delilahbowie said...

I started reading your blog just before you lost the Red Dog...and remember reading and crying over that post. I'm facing losing my own heart dog to a neurologic disease, and am comforted by your perspective on the loss of Briggs. I will hug all of my monsters, but especially my old man, this evening in honor of Briggs.

susan said...

Oh, dear Briggsy...i feel for you. i cried over this tribute of a red dog who hit the jackpot. i am so glad you found each other and i am so surprised that it has been a year already.

thoughts to you and the rest of your crew. :)

Companion Animal Solutions said...

Now that I've had a good cry, I'm sending you and the fur kids a virtual hug. I lost my heart dog two and a half years ago and still find myself tearing up occasionally when I tell a "Miles story".

We all get so much enjoyment from your blog but it's nice to be reminded that sometimes the dogs who mean the most to us and teach us the most are the most difficult. Your journey with Brigg's is an inspiration to all owners with "difficult" dogs.

Aussie Rescue in Seattle sends you wet noses, doggy snuggles, and much "U" shaped happiness. Thanks as always!

Carol said...

Thank you so much for sharing the story of Briggs. My kleenex box is emptier and my trash can fuller. I gave the Giz a big hug and thanked him for being my Briggs. He looked deeply in my eyes for as long as I needed to tell him how much I love him. He didn't even mind the tears splashing on his muzzle. He's my Red Dog and I want him to be 8 years old forever...

Fenway said...

I did as you bid:

I hugged and kissed my Fenway tenderly as he slept—he did about 10 "sleepy licks" (rearranging his tongue and mouth) and exhaled a long contented sigh. All this was in tribute to Briggs and Sport.

You nailed it with the description of Briggs doing what you asked for rather than let his instincts take over. That's a DEEP connection.

This was a most WONDROUS blog.

Sheena--We went through similar things with Logo's "twilight" time. He even took "walks" in a wagon when his legs no longer worked and got to sniff his favorite bushes and greet old friends. And thank god for Percocet. I can still feel him relaxing in my lap as the pill started to work. Caring for a dog at this stage is an experience like none other. It's just pure trust, love and grace.

Sweet~Ceana said...

pOh Sheena, if I could reach through the computer to hug you I would. I cannot believe it has been a year already.

The passion Briggs gave you for rescue has influenced more rescues than just TDBCR. You have educated tons of people on rescue, including myself. That education helped bring about our adoption of Poke and our new found love of fostering. Briggs has an amazing legacy that reaches across borders. Thank you for sharing his life with all of us.

Clarese said...

I can't believe a year has passed since Briggs crossed the bridge. Thank you for sharing his memory with us.

I am so happy that Sporty is doing great in his forever home. What a wonderful update.

R. M. Preston said...

I am a newcomer to your blog, but I wanted to thank you for such a beautiful and moving memorial to Briggs. Made me cry at work this morning! And then I sent it on to all my friends with dogs to read as well.
I am lucky, I have always had some amazing dogs in my life, and what they have given me has always been far greater than whatever I can give to them.
I have a heart dog, my Cheyenne, who is 11. This really hit me since she is getting older and having some issues, and I am having to confront the eventual lack of her in my life.
She and her sister get extra extra hugs tonight! And we send hugs and good thoughts your way too.
I am lucky, I have always had some amazing dogs in my life, and what they give me has always been far greater than whatever I can give to them.

Tristan - I'm a Heavenly King said...

Hey RDM,
Thanks for sharing Briggs'life and your dogs' lives with us, through the miracle of the internet. A BC is not an "easy" dog in any defination, but surely at the end of the road, when we all look back, we will realize how colourful it all has been.

Thanks for the update on Sport. So happy to see him happy.

rosalie(ta) said...

A truly exquisite post.
You know that at least within Judaism a year after the death of a loved one family have a ceremony in which the headstone is unveiled. The unveiling is a nice event because it gives people a chance to remember loved ones after the grief has had a chance to pass, and acknowledges the way that a loss is sustained through time. Your thoughts on Briggs is just what an unveiling is all about.

So glad to hear that Sport is doing so well.

myhandle said...

I can't believe it's been a whole year already. RIP, Red Dog, there's a whole internet full of people out here you've touched.

And congratulations to Sport, for finding such a wonderful home and people.

I wish I could hug my dog, but I'm out of town, and she stayed home. :(

AllieMackie said...

Given all that Briggs inspired, there is one thing to say:

Good boy.

Lauren said...

Thanks for sharing that story. It is so hard to be with those special friends in the twilight years when you know the end is near and you've shared so much. You really put into words what I think we've all shared. My pups are still young, but it's only because after my special Vinnie died, I just couldn't fill that hole for a little while. They are truly always a part of you.

Lexi, Qwill, Shiner and Trophy said...

Thanks for making me cry AGAIN today over the talk of old dogs. I'm so glad that Sport is doing so well. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow...I cant believe a whole year has gone by. I remember reading thru tears then and tears now. Briggs was a wonderful dog and you are a wonderful writer and dog-mom. I have a heart dog with health issues and need to be reminded like this that days are precious...all of them. Thank you Sheena

Shelly said...

Wow!!! I just came upon your blog and must tell you that this post really brought a tear to my eye and gave me goose bumps. I have three BCs of my own and I love them dearly, they are such a part of our family. So thanks for the beautiful story and for reminding us to live each day fully and love our dogs.

Anonymous said...

Way to make me blubber. I just had to hug mine.

Gotta bandaid?

F

dog_ma said...

What a beautiful tribute to Briggs. It's hard to believe he's been gone a whole year already.
Thanks to you and him for giving so many dogs a second chance at life.
I'll be sure to give extra hugs to Bleu and Deja tonight.

Daisy & Alfie's Mom said...

Thank you for posting about Briggs. I came upon your blog after he passed, but I took the time to read about him when I first arrived, and it's clear how special of a boy he was. Good dog, Briggs.

And that Sport. I LOVE that guy - glad to see that he's retired in comfort!

Jen said...

Sheena, thank you for your beautiful tribute to Briggs. I too have a heart dog- a Border Collie cross named Spike who is an asshole too in his own right but has wormed his way so deep into my heart he can never be shaken out. He too has reduced me to tears many times, after chasing cars, biting my neighbors and bossing around my other dog. But, it's dogs like Briggs and Spike that teach us the most and touch us the most. Thank you for your reminder to never give up!
You've inspired me to get more actively involved in rescue and to foster dogs. And, you've also inspired me to investigate dog sports like Flyball and Agility which have helped to heal my boy Spike. Thank you for an amazing blog, beautiful photos and reminders to hug our dogs! :) And thank you for sharing your life with us all!
RIP Red Dog

Black Jack's Carol said...

You and Briggs have touched lives to an extent I doubt you could ever have imagined when you first came to know him. You shared your heartbreak at having to let him go, but also the love and laughter and learning and depth of friendship that were so much a part of your trip together. Thank you, Sheena. The spirit of Briggs lives true and lives strong.

Jean said...

What a beautiful tribute to Briggs, and how very much I enjoyed reading his story. Thank you for sharing it (and Briggs) with us.

And thanks for the update on Sporticus - what a long way he has come since last July!

Off to hug my dogs now.

2halves said...

Wonderful tribute for a wonderful guy who is missed by so many. I'm so sorry for your loss, Sheena.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing, Food Lady. I was wondering if you were going to post about Red Dog. I had lost a dog two years before Briggs' passing and grieved again when reading your blog last year and today. Your tribute is beautiful and reminds me to always be grateful for what I learned from my old boy. I don't mind being a little sad. It is important to pay tribute to those good old companions.

Lindsay said...

How you described your connection with Briggs is how I felt about my last dog. It's been 7 years since he died and I still miss him all the time. My current dog sounds a lot like Briggs was at first, only I just don't seem to have that connection with her. I can only hope that with continued work we will be able to break through to her somehow. Your post was beautiful and I've been a long time reader of the blog so it was nice to see an update on Sport.

Fenway said...

I just went back into the archives to read about RD's struggle.

Logo went down the same road (Prednisone, arthritis, Cushings, etc.), but without the margarine incident.... Even down to the bed sores that mysteriously erupted despite my all-consuming attention to his needs and the countless vet visits. His embolism took his life and this magnificent BC died on his own terms, sparing me that extra heartache of assisted death.

Goddam these BC's are a brave and thoughtful bunch!

DĂșnedan said...

i've got a red dog of my own. he's got a very similar face to Briggs and all the pictures of Briggs make me think of what Dune's gonna be like when he's an old codger. he's the standard to which i will hold every dog i ever own or foster.

dunethebordercollie.blogspot.com

thanks for a great post. nothing like a few tears on a tuesday evening :)

citydog said...

Whoa. Way to make your readers weep, Food Lady.

I lost my heart dog three years ago. Like Briggs, he taught me so much more than the dog I set out looking for (a fairly issue-free sport dog) ever would have, and many other dogs have since benefitted from that knowledge.

I'll cry a few more tears into the ruff of my NEBCR rescue for my Vilkas and for Briggs and for everyone who's ever suffered the loss of that one special, life-changing dog; it's a hurt like none other.

Nice one, Food Lady.

tualizzy said...

(((((hugs))))))
Thank you for all you do, and esspeciall for sharing Briggs with us.

MahnaMahna said...

Thanks for this post... you got me all weepy with the section about Briggs (may you rest well, Red Dog), then you really got me with the section about Sport.

Thank you for what you do. Now I'm going to go hug my dogs, including my 12-year-old deaf Border Collie, Doc.

Lindsey said...

Well I too am writing this while tears are streaming down my face. That was a wonderful, touching tribute to Briggs. I had my own Briggs but he was a Rottie. He has been gone for almost nine years but the lessons he taught me have affected the path of my life in many ways and continue to do so. His memory will always be honored every time I work with an agressive or shy dog and I thank him for giving me the tools and desire to help these difficult dogs.

My oldest Border Collie reminds me (looks-wise) of a black-tri version of Briggs. He is getting older and I see the years taking their toll on him. I hate seeing that, I wish he could remain a young dog forever. Thank you Sheena for your eloquent tribute and also for giving us all an update on Sporty. All my dogs have now gotten several huge hugs while I cry on them and pray for them to live forever. Virtual hugs to you.

FiStrach said...

What a lovely, lovely tribute to Briggs...and then as if that wasn't emotional enough, you go and give us an update on the Sportster too!!!!

I'm a relative newcomer to 3WAAW, so I'm not too familiar with Briggs, but I feel like I am now - thank you! And also I caught my breath several times during your description of him, as you could have been describing my dog, Barney, both in terms of how he is, and how I feel about him.

So, thanks for making me shed a tear in my office (as well as being a shameless dog-nut, I am also pregnant...I had no chance of staying composed!!!)

So wonderful to hear how well Sport is being cared for in his twilight time, and the old Sport-spirit is still there! Such a lucky old chap to have come across you, and his new owners.

love Fi and Barney,
Inverness, Scotland (cold, but not as cold as Vancouver by the looks of it!!)

jane said...

I can't believe it's been a year since you told your best friend good-bye. I'm glad you were able to help Old Sport and give him the same wonderful love and care that Briggs had toward the end.

Christy said...

Wow. What a great post of remembrance for such a special dog. It's easy to see why you miss him so.

I think I'm gonna go love on my Ruthie Dog now. :)

Paula said...

Me, Miss Babbly-Mouth, just can't find the right thing to say about Briggs. Your tribute to him is so moving, and he shines through, you know?

I'm glad time has eased the pain, but I know Monday was not a good day for you. Thanks for sharing with us, I can't wait to get home and hug my three.

Kim said...

I have been a fan of your blog for about 4 months now. Your tribute to Briggs reminds me of my connection with my Maisy Mae. I saw her grey face and emanciated body in a picture on petfinder. She was an older boxer and no one came to get her. When I looked in her eyes I was so drawn to her I knew he had to be mine. I made the 5 hour drive to pick her up and from the moment we looked at each other we were inseperable. She was already near age 7 and not in the best of health, but she was my girl. I already had 2 other American Eskimos that I had since baby and they were already 6 years old, but still the connection was no where as deep as what I had with my girl. She passed away 2 years later from cancer. A big part of my heart died with her. I love my dogs, but none of them will ever replace the connection we had. I was the lucky one that she allowed me to be the one to pick her. Godspeed Mr. Briggs. Give my Maisy Mae a big hug for me ..she's the cute little boxer with a white wiggle bottom:) Sending you fellow dog loving thoughts that the memories of Briggs will continue to be positive and the pain of the loss lessens with time.

MaryP said...

Gosh, I guess I missed the actual anniversary, but I so vividly remember when I read your blog entry about Briggs' passing. Though I guess it wasn't really unexpected, it still felt like someone knocked the wind out of me. I never knew him personally, but your stories and pictures made him so real to me that it felt a little like losing a friend. Thank you for sharing him with us.

Thank you also for sharing Sporty's successful adoption story. It gives me hope. I wish you could clone his adopters a hundred-thousand times and then sprinkle them liberally around the US and CAN. Wouldn't that be great to have more people like that in this world?!

RachelB said...

Food Lady, I'm for the time being dogless and I get my fix of lovely border collies here. Thank you for sharing your Briggs stories, and thank you for giving him a good home when he needed one. I still miss my heart dog, Midnight, whom I hugged goodbye in 2003.

TroopDogg said...

Like a lot of others here I miss my Briggs dog. But even as tears roll down my cheeks I am thankful I have something to cry for... it wouldn't hurt so bad if it hadn't been so so good.


I really enjoy your stories and photographs, thank you.

Blue said...

This is such a beautiful tribute to your Briggs. I teared up when I read it! I remember your stories about the Red Dog from a long ago message board. Thank you for sharing him with all of us.

false_acacia said...

I just recently found your amazing blog... but I have to share with you my story of another amazing Border Collie. I apologize if there are any mistakes in this entry (I'm on the latter end of a six-pack)...

I digress.

My Border Collie's name was Smokey... but to any who knew him well, his name was "T"... RIP: June 28, 1997 - April 16, 2008. He was just shy of his 11th birthday as well. Living on "borrowed time" as my dad likes to say. You see - Smokey was diagnosed with epilepsy before his first birthday (another poor breeding problem for BC's).

I was eleven years old when my T came into my life. He was the best friend I've ever known and I ever will know. When my grandmother died (shortly after I turned sixteen) T was the one who sat awake with me that night crying. My mom and my sister were able to fall back asleep but I had never experienced death first hand... and because T's heart was so tightly wound with mine, he never left my side. And so it was until I left for college.

I don't think I can ever forgive myself the pain I caused that boy by pursuing higher education and leaving him behind. Not that my parents didn't take care of him - because they did. He was a master manipulator and ALWAYS got what he wanted. Except me. He was always wanting to keep me closer. The day I left for college, that dog wept and moaned in a way no one had ever heard before. To this day it haunts me. Why didn't I find a way to keep my boy with me?

I digress again... Eventually (after two years of higher education) I figured out that my calling was in the veterinary field. I began work at a couple of veterinary practices near my University. I began to miss T more and more. I wound up with a cat... she was all black (perhaps I was thinking of that Border Collie at home, longing?)...

Eventually T's epilepsy caught up with him. Instead of immediate liver failure (due to the drugs he'd been on his entire life) he instead started out with AIHA... Auto-Immune Hemolytic Anemia -- his RBC's (red blood cells) were being destroyed by his own body. Because I work at an E-Clinic for animals, I was able to transport him to my facility and give him the best care possible. I'm still a student and not yet a Vet so I could only treat him with what I had available. Luckily, what was available to me were some of the finest veterinarians in my state. Because of them I got loaned time with my once-in-a-lifetime boy. From Feb. 22, 2008 until April 16 2008 my boy kept his system in check for ME.

There is a lot more to his story... but I can hardly see through my tears at this point. I loved that dog more than anything in the entire world. I have recently become a mommy to a new rescue BC (Roscoe) from the ARCBCR - http://www.arcbcr.org/.

I really wanted to write more T's last days... but it's so detailed and becomes very "woe-me" at times. I will spare you that.

I merely wanted to say, that reading about your Red Dog, so reminded me of my T that I had to share.

I will never find another T. I love my new boy, Roscoe (RPC as he is known by friends) very much. But my T was the dog that raised me. He took me through all of my awkward years... he loved me despite everything. He was my soul-dog, if there could be such a thing. I will never replace him and my heart aches for him daily. His ashes remain in my room and all who know me KNOW that he is to be buried with me. Usually people spread their animals ashes in the favorite place of said animal... T's favorite place was by my side. So, obviously, I cannot leave him anywhere. He will come with me wherever I go until I reach my final resting place.

I apologize for the length of this comment... I hope I have not offended any one in any way. I only speak of love for a boy named T and in the name of a dog I have come to respect whose name was "Red Dog" (ala 'Briggs').

Pippin, the Gentle Pup said...

It's been a long, long time since I've read something as thoughtful and poignant as "And if you have a Briggs of your own, a dog that looks right into your heart and sees himself resting there, then hug him a little tighter, from me." Thanks for that and I'm still so sorry that you lost Briggs.

Gracehoper said...

As the parent of one of the 500 dogs you have rescued - and as someone who has made the Vancouver - Idaho drive with a puppy in the car, Seamus and I send our sincere thanks to you and Briggs. I so appreciated hearing his story.

Roxie, Sammy and Andy said...

We have never been here before but we must comment on the beautiful tribute to Briggs. He was such a lucky fellow and his too short life was a blessing since it was shared with someone who loved him so much. We are sorry we never knew him.

We found you by coming from PetDoc where where we were reading an interview about another dog friend (Dannan) of ours. Your interview looked interesting so we read it and ended up coming to visit.

Mom is a true advocate of rescue since two of us are were saved from death row. Mom's first dog was from a breeder because she didn't know any better.

We would like to keep track of your blog on our blog (Dachsies Rule) but if that is a problem just let us know.

Mom has just about stopped the leaky eyes thing but we know they were good because she said she could feel how much you loved each other.

Thinking of you,
Roxie, Sammy & Andy