This article is from the Keeshonden Breed FAQ, by firstname.lastname@example.org (Kimberly J. Eashoo).
It was just a simple trip to run errands on that October day. I wasn't
looking for dogs, wasn't even looking AT dogs. I was simply getting
groceries and browsing through a bookstore. When I pulled into the QFC
parking lot, I found out this wasn't going to be an ordinary day.
He was pacing up and down the boardwalk in front of the stores. Not
looking at people, simply at cars. When he left the sidewalk and
entered the busy street, he almost got clipped by a car. Cursing
people who leave dogs outside stores I saw him go into Petco and went
into the grocery store myself. Half an hour later I emerged to notice
him again. Still outside, still pacing, more frantic now. I called him
but he ignored me, instead trying to climb into the UPS truck. Talking
to him I knelt down, he caught my eye and rushed into my arms. I
lassooed him with my purse strap and went door to door leaving my name
and phone number at each one. No one had noticed him, no one cared.
I was not set up for foster care, we rent a small 2 bedroom house with
a tiny fenced yard. We already have 4 Keeshonden, 3 cats and a rabbit
living with us. While our landlord is understanding, fostering on top
of that is enough to stretch anyone's charity! But what could I do? I
knew the shelter would hold him the minimum amt of days. I couldn't do
I took him home with me, stopping at a vets to scan for a
microchip. He wasn't much to look at, a dirty American Eskimo with a
few hot spots, weepy eyes and dirty ears. He had few teeth left in his
head, simply the canines and a couple others. The ones left badly
needed dental work. He was stiff with overexertion or else he'd been
struck by a car. I gave him water, food and settled down to make some
calls. It soon became apparent not many people would be willing to
take in a dog, let alone one requiring medical care.
We advertised, and checked papers not surprisingly no one answered. A
trip to the vet had updated his shots, a bath had made him smell
better, ears were clean and teeth were left as they were. His
stiffness was extreme arthritis in his hind legs. Age? Anyone's
guess. Old. Ancient. A real Geezer. That became his name Geezer. The
first week it became apparent he couldn't hear anything but
clapping. So that's how we called him to come. The dogs accepted him
fine, he wanted to be top dog which wasn't ok but they made allowances
for his age and condition.
2 weeks after he arrived I took him to a pet adoption day. No one
showed interest and he stressed out. I did have an offer of foster
care but after some thought turned it down. He'd been through too
much. I couldn't do that to him. He was staying with us. He had the
prime spot on the sofa, lots of time to sleep and since he loved car
rides, he went with us everywhere. He was happiest there, sitting on
his blanket in the back seat looking out the window.
Time passed. Geezer loved to be groomed and I spent hours brushing
him. Health-wise he was slightly improved, coat was better, I'd put
him on a diet to keep him on the slim side for the arthritis and added
shark cartiledge, vitamin C, glucosamine and chondroiten to his
food. I had originally been going to keep him on traditional dog food
but later ended up giving in and he ate the BARF diet like the rest of
my dogs. At first I mashed the chicken or turkey but later started to
give it whole. His teeth improved dramatically.
Geezer had made himself at home here. Not a really affectionate dog,
he'd still come up for petting in the evening and roll around
barking. He slept on a blanket next to the heater and his arthritis
was better that way. A very dominant dog we had discussions about lots
of things, you DON'T attack another dog, you DON'T bark all the time,
you DON'T bark to come in or bark outside. He slowly adjusted.
Still looking for a home, we weren't having much success. He had to
have a specific home and there weren't many people looking for a dog
at all. In my heart I knew no home would come at all.
The new year came, and he was still here. I started referring to my 5
dogs, Geezy was pretty much a fixture here. He was still a foster dog
of course. Still happy he'd started having a new problem. He was
becoming incontinant both with bladder and bowels. Cleaning carpets
became daily routine. It didn't help that it wasn't possible to
confine him to a hard floor or crate. His arthritis would get worse
and I couldn't stand to see him limp.
Life went on though, he still enjoyed his food, and while he slept
more overall he seemed ok. Then one day I woke up to him still
asleep. I woke him and he acted dazed, all day he acted confused, not
sure where he was or with whom. I knew a decision had to be made for
all of our sakes. While the dogs were OK with him, they were still a
pack, subject to all the things packs do. My alpha bitch started to
cut him out of the pack. He was becoming more confused every day. I
made the decision that I had to put him down.
I've owned dogs all my life. In all those years I've been lucky to not
have to put down a dog. There's a first time for everything. I made
the appointment, cancelled it, and made it again. The day dawned gray
and cold, perfect for my mood. Geezy and I set out early in the
morning, went for a long drive, stopped for burgers and otherwise
tried to put it off. I ended up getting there just on time. In the
room the vet was kind, I lifted Geezer onto the table, held him tight
and told him I loved him. He reached up, gave me a kiss and the
medicine took effect. He was gone. I left immediately, not able to
talk to anyone. I drove out of the clinic barely able to see the
road. As I turned onto the street, the sun suddenly came out and Mt
Rainier came in view over the Puyallup valley.
I still have reminders of him. His collar and rabies tag. The memory
of his dark eyes and bark. Once in awhile I find a white hair. He
haunted my dreams for weeks, then one day I had a vision. I pictured
him young and healthy, running in a field with other dogs, under a
blue sky. A feeling of peace came over me. I know in my heart he's in
Rainbow Bridge, playing and running. In my dreams I see him meeting
that special person who had cared for him. I picture an elderly doting
lady. Maybe she was taken to a hospital or nursing home. Surely she
had no idea what happened to her dog. He sees her and runs to meet
her. They're together again. If my dreams are wrong, I know he'll be
there with the rest of my pack, when I make the journey. He'll be
welcomed with open arms.
Sometimes I think of what I'd do if I met the person who abandoned
him. I'd probably be arrested. Why the person lacked the courage or
responsibility to take care of him, I don't know. Why they decided to
dump him in a crowded parking lot off of a major highway I don't
know. How they can live with themselves, I don't know. What I do know,
and what Geezy taught me, is that we can ALL take responsibility for
these creatures. Until the world decides that responsibility is
necessary, it is up to you and me to make a difference. And we can. I
know that Geezer had a great last 4 months with good care, plenty of
food, lots of love and a stable home. He changed my life forever. I
made a difference.
Written by Heather Campbell