Posts in Category: 2014


The following is written with the deepest gratitude to Brandy, a rescue Weimie that I recently lost to cancer, after being blessed by her presence for almost 2 years:


It never ceases to amaze me how so many of the heartfelt joys that we find with each pet is truly unique to that pet.  So I suppose t

hat it shouldn’t surprise me that the heart rending sorrow that we feel at the loss of each pet is also so very unique.

In background, Brandy had come into rescue as an unknown, a Weimaraner left running unattended in a bird dog training field.  She was a beautiful specimen of what this breed was originally meant to be – 60#s, compact, well muscled, strong joints…and had obviously been used heavily for breeding.  She had multiple mammary tumors that, tragically, had not been removed while small.  They were found to be malignant, and 9 months after surgery to remove the masses, we found that the cancer had metastasized to her lungs.  With excellent care, a noble spirit, and lots of luck, Brandy was able to live an entirely asymptomatic additional 13 months before the cancer simply went crazy.  I euthanized her this past Wednesday. 

(Parenthetically, for heaven’s sake, if you are going to need to give up a pet because of a medical condition, that’s unfortunate but it happens.  It does not necessarily reflect on your love for your pet.  But please don’t delay – talk to your vet about it, talk to the shelters - any time lost can often make the difference between a full recovery and an early death.)


But to move back on point (like a good Weim J), every dog is truly and absolutely the ‘best dog’ – but Brandy was hands down the ‘goodest’ dog that I have ever owned.  Her one ‘problem behavior’ was that, right after adoption, she wanted to snuggle too much.  I’m serious!  (I always imagined that her former owner was a good old boy who would wrap her up in burley arms and pull all 60#s of her onto his lap – despite the lack of medical care, and even several birdshot in her, it was always obvious that Brandy had felt loved in her previous home.)  In the 48 hours when it became apparent that I was losing her, I tried to turn back the clock on discouraging her ‘over-snuggling’.  (I’m not exactly proud to admit that, during euthanasia, I held her so tightly that I am pretty sure I slobbered on her head.  I should probably ask her forgiveness for such an indignity, as even at her pushiest, she had never slobbered on me J)


Which brings me full circle back to the simple fact that, with every loss, some aspects of grief are so very unique to that pet alone.  Among the jillion things that I’ll always miss about Brandy, perhaps the most profound is simply that…we shared a secret.  Ever since I learned that Brandy had something inside of her that was simply, inevitably, going to kill her (unless she was hit by a car first), I had a partner in a shared secret, as due to a commercial plane crash, I also have some damage inside of me that is simply, inevitably, going to kill me (unless I am hit by a car first).


As any of you know who are ‘living like you’re dying’, contrary to the popular song, it isn’t an entirely peachy way to live.  There is a certain loneliness about it, as especially if the condition isn’t (thankfully) in an acute stage, it makes a whole lot more sense to focus on the blessings of life than to constantly be in the midst of an ‘organ recital’.  There is always the gratitude for another good month, another good year, even (for me) another good decade.  Yet there is always, in the back of your mind, an awareness of the guillotine hanging over your head – when is the blade gonna fall? 


Trust a good dog to be better at this than we humans!  With Brandy trotting alongside me, active and happy even while harboring an active terminal cancer, it was simply easier to remain light-hearted and in the moment myself.  I know that neither Brandy nor I are unique in this circumstance.  But I will greatly miss that sense of walking in step with another sentient being on the same existential journey.


Before closing this testimonial, I want to also add a thumbs up to the experience of adopting an older animal.  To anyone who has adopted a middle aged or older dog, you already know just how fulfilling that relationship can be.  And if you have not, please consider the benefits of doing so.  Sure, they leave us all too soon – but really, isn’t that the case even if you’ve had your dog since a pup?  The sense of briefness is the same, and the sadness is the same, whether we have been blessed with their company for 2 years or 10.  (And to be honest, missing out on the ‘joys of puppyhood’ can become a great motivator in itself J) 


In conclusion, everyone deserves a song of their own!  So I offer the following song for Brandy - sung to the tune of The Ballad of Davey Crockett.  (Now that’s a test of your age!  And yep, I admit that Brandy’s song does reflect some of my frustration towards owners who breed their pets without regard to their health.)  


Brandy, Brandi-licious,

Dog of the wild frontier!


Brandy was a good ol’ dog from Tennessee

Raised by some country boys a’ lookin’ fer a fee.

They thunk’d to themselves, ‘Our dog is so purdy’,

And so she’d had a million pups before she’s even three!


Brandy, Brandi-licious,

Dog of the wild frontier!


Thank you, my dear, sweet Brandy.







07/DD/YYYY Categories: 2014