Monday, April 7, 2008

My Pup, Cody.



So right after Aidan was born, Steven surprised me with something I had always wanted...a golden retriever!! Truth be told, I was up to my eyeballs in the new baby and adjusting from having just one child to two, but somehow, we managed the chaos, and Cody was welcomed into our family.

He was such a smart dog, right from the beginning. He pretty much came to us potty trained and he learned very quickly how to sleep in his crate w/out whining. When he grew a bit older, I enrolled both he and I in Puppy Class at Petsmart and he was the "Star Pupil"! He loved (true to his breed) nothing more than to make his "people" happy.

Cody also loved my favorite place on earth....Lake Cushman. We took he and Max w/ us and Cody spent hours swimming in the lake (especially if we were swimming). He loved to float on the air mattress chair with me, and would fly off the end of the dock to retrieve his tennis ball.

He was always wonderful w/ the boys, and as just happy as long as we were all together.

This isn't to say we didn't have our "issues" with this dog....he was a digger and a chewer (also true to his breed), and we still have our fair share of land mine looking pits in our backyard to remind us of this fact.

Right around Halloween of this last year, Cody started dropping weight and was coughing and hacking a lot. To make a REALLY long story short, Cody was diagnosed w/ something called Megaesophagus and it was secondary to a diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis. (Both very rare, and not very promising diagnoses). He basically had no movement of the muscles in his throat so when he ate, his food just sat there and wouldn't make it to his stomach. Everything he ate just came right back up. He also contracted pneumonia easily as it was easy to aspirate the food back down into his lungs when he would try to cough it out of his throat.

For a while I was blindly optimistic, assuring everyone that I could "do what it takes" to manage all this (and a job, and three kids, as Jackson had now entered the picture). Cody was put on lots of medication and had to eat three small meals a day (can food only, mixed w/ water in the blender to a soupy mixture).....in the standing position... and then we would hold him up for 15 minutes afterward in the hopes that gravity would aid in getting his food to his stomach. It was a lot like feeding and burping a baby. And for a little bit, it was all working...

And then he developed his second pneumonia in a month and a half and the weight began to fall off again. Shortly after Christmas this year, I realized we were losing the battle and my dog's quality of life was suffering terribly. So Steven and I made the choice to let him go.

Never had I planned that I would lose my dog after just 2 1/2 years. In that short amount of time that dog had taken up a HUGE space in my heart. I had to go to work the day we made the choice to have him put to sleep so I think the closure is taking longer than it would have if I had been there to hold him. Cody has been on my mind a lot lately, and this morning I came across some pictures of him that made me smile, so I thought it might help the whole process to tell his story. We still have our other dog Max, and I love him very much.....I just miss Cody.

6 comments:

The Kinney's said...

It is amazing how a family pet can easily turn into a member of the family. Cody was a beautiful dog. I'm glad that you were able to have him in your home, even if only for a short time. Thanks for sharing this Laura.

Stephanie said...

Oh, hon. You're breaking my heart! Our golden, Maya, is one of the family too. That breed is so amazing and I can't imagine going through all of that. There's no replacing a family member, but we are breeding this fall if you're interested!! (:

Stephanie said...

Hey there!! You're so sweet to put our fam's blog site on yours, but would you do me a fav? For some reason the margins got screwed up, and the only way to fix them is to use a different html. Would you mind putting this one on your link instead? I know, I'm crazy. Thanks hon! See ya next Thursday!!

Stephanie said...

I'm such a dork!! Here's the link!!
wolfpackpups.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_archive.html

Heather said...

Laura, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Dogs are so much a part of the family and they love us unconditonally. I lost my 14 year old cocker/ lab mix 2 summers ago and it so incridibly hard.I pray that in time your pain will lessen and you will be able to remember the good times you had with Cody without all the sadness. He sure was a beautiful dog!

Anonymous said...

Hey there Laura! I just found your blog and I love looking back through the first 1/2 of this year. I love this entry! The way you share your memories on-line I can hear your voice...I've got your blog bookmarked and I'll be checking more often. Love, Teresa