It has been a poignant Christmas season for us. A year ago, Mosby was recovering from his amputation and we were still reeling from his osteo diagnosis and his prognosis. It was a Christmas I’ll always remember as the beginning of the end. We lost him a scant 6.5 months later. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of him, but the holiday season has been especially difficult. In some ways I suppose it always will be.
But we have a bright spot this year, one that was several months and two trips out of state in the making. Maybe it started even longer ago, with my first canine love, my grandad’s black lab, Thor.
Santa came early for us this year and delivered the sweetest, perfect black lab puppy, who we have named Aspen (after my favorite tree and our love for the Rockies), but who has a much fancier name with the UK Kennel Club. He’s brought so much light into our lives and has proven to be a great addition to our family. He has big paws to fill, but he’s smart, attentive and so sweet, so he’s got a great start. There will never be another Mosby, but there is now an Aspen, who has squirmed his way into our hearts.
I’m posting this from my phone so let’s see if I’m savvy enough to add pictures, which are the most important part.
Today was my first day at the barn without Mosby. We’ve been at that barn for 10 years now, and, of course, 9.5 years of those were with Mosby, and it was his favorite place. Most pictures of me at the barn are with Mosby and Arlo. I have two photos that are especially precious to me – in both, I’m leaving the barn, heading up to the ring, with Arlo beside me and Mosby following along. One was taken probably in 2010 or so. The other was taken in late May. It was hard today. It was good to see Arlo, and he was a good boy. People were very nice, but it’s still hard to talk about losing Mosby. I’m sure that’ll get better in time.
It has been hard to write this post, especially because in the prior post, which was only 3 weeks ago – and only 2 weeks before we lost Mosby – he was doing so well and things were really looking up. Very briefly, because it still hurts to talk about, Mosby started limping shortly after his trip to the barn. Concerned, I took him to his vet, who suspected a soft tissue injury. It didn’t improve so we took him to the ER vet, who took x-rays, said there were no metastatic lesions, and also suspected a soft tissue injury. They recommended a visit to the rehab vet for a treatment / rehab plan. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the rehab vet saw some suspicious moth-eaten bone on the x-ray, took more x-rays, and we were delivered the news that the osteosarcoma had returned, this time in his right front humerus. Knowing then how much pain he was in, and how he was struggling to get around, we made the decision we knew we had to make for his sake, even if it was one we had no idea we’d have to make so soon. Last Saturday we were able to give him a wonderful day with many of his favorite things (including his very own cheeseburger and a trip to the barn), and last Sunday we let him go, peacefully and with dignity and kisses. He was brave and sweet and loving and trusting to the very end. Our hearts have a Mosby-shaped hole, our house seems empty, and we remain in shock that we lost him so soon.
In an effort to remember the good times, rather than the bad, I wanted to celebrate him here, with pictures and anecdotes. I could probably write a novel, and Mosby deserves one, but this will have to suffice.
I adopted Mosby from a shelter when I was 27 and in law school; in other words, a terrible time to adopt a dog. The shelter called him “Boots” and said his family gave him up because they had “too many dogs.” I like to say I fell in love with him on the internet, because I found him on Petfinder. I’d wanted a big dog for so long. This is the picture I fell in love with, in January of 2008:
Would you have been able to resist? Be honest. I went out to meet him, and while I was sitting with him, he put his paw on my knee. I told them I’d be back the next day. I went home, purchased a crate and some food and a bed, and soon I had my dog, who I renamed Mosby. The first few weeks were a struggle as we got to know each other, and as I realized Mosby definitely had a separation anxiety problem. But I also learned that he was very bright, an awesome runner, and an incredibly sweet dog. We were soon attached at the hip.
The rest of the post is just going to be pictures. Sorry if it’s a picture overload. I saw some article about how people take more photos of their pet than they do their spouse. Sorry, Chris, but I have to say it’s true. I know you did the same, though.
Adventures Through the Years (in no particular order)
We Love You, Mosby
We and Mosby were so unlucky in much over the last 6 months. But we were lucky to have a day and a half last weekend to love on him and spoil him rotten. I’d have preferred years but a day and a half is what we had, so we made the best of it.
Mosby, you were so, so, so loved. I hope you knew that. I’m so sorry you were in pain the last few weeks. I would have done anything to make you feel better. You had an epic life and you are missed every hour of every day.
Mosby had his 6 month ampuversary the other week, which is crazy – time really flies! He’s been doing well. He handles his daily chemo pill well, and we mainly work to manage his back and neck pain (discs). He enjoys his daycare and his yard. We FINALLY got sod in our yard, so Mosby has been enjoying that. He’s especially missed wallowing around in the grass on his back.
Today we went out to the barn, and he went all the way down to the pond to get Arlo with me – like old times. I recently purchased the Ruffwear Core Cooler, which is a cooling chest plate that you attach to the Ruffwear Web Master instead of the brush guard, and it worked great! It really helped him stay cool, and it was a hot day. That didn’t stop him from lying in a mud puddle, though, necessitating a hose-off of his belly.
Mosby continues to do well. We haven’t started his metronomic chemo yet, because he had some tummy issues for a week or two. They came and went, so we kept thinking he was getting better, but finally took him to the vet. All labs and x-rays are good (poor guy must be an expert at chest x-rays by now), so they treated his symptoms with some meds and things are good now. Something must have just gotten him out of whack. But he’s better, and the vet only had good things to say about him, and was happy he was doing so well (it’s the first time he’s seen him since he was so sick on the Cipro a while back).
This weekend my parents are visiting with their shar pei, John Henry. Mosby and JH get along pretty well, although Mosby wonders why he has a little fuzzy caterpillar sitting in his beds.