Dog: Hunter (Beagle) – Framingham, MA (Sep 2001 – Apr 29, 2014)
I knew I wanted to rescue a dog, but I’d never imagine in late November 2006, I was not just rescuing a dog, I was about to embark on an incredible journey with my best friend in the entire world.
My pet Beagle dog – Hunter and I shared a unique language and bond. I would talk to him everyday and he responded. When I went to the store, I’d ask if he wanted to come and he’d respond by stretching or getting up from his comfortable and favorite tempurpedic bed or raise his head and look at me as if to say, “of course I am coming with!” As always, we went everywhere together. Friends and family knew if I was coming over, or going somewhere with them, he was also going to join us.
We traveled to NYC many times where we took long walks in Battery Park and went to the dog boutique where he would get a new collar or leash and of course treats!
We hiked a mountain in Maine. I was worried he wasn’t going to be able to do the hike and I wasn’t leaving him behind. He was getting older and had recently had bilateral knee surgery and physical therapy. The mountain was 4,000 ft. to the summit. Well, he proved me wrong! He made the ascent and decent without issue and loved every moment.
One of his favorite things to do was hike at the state park near our home with me. We would go to the park (he knew that word well) nearly everyday. His favorite time of year was the Fall or Winter. The Summer was just too hot and he was not a water dog. In the Summer we got up extra early so we could hike before it got too hot.
He LOVED the park. He’d run through the trails smelling, and exploring but always stopped to ensure I was within sight. If the distance between us on the hikes got to be too great in Hunter’s mind; he’d stop, looking back and wait for me. We’d have a picnic in the woods where we would share lunch and spend time together simply enjoying what he loved, what I loved most; just being together.
In the Spring, Summer and Fall, we would sit outside while I barbequed. He of course always got some of what was cooking; his favorite being salmon and he could never get enough. He LOVED food!
When it was getting late, and he was tired, he would tell me when it was time for bed by standing at the bedroom door where he’d wait for me. We would settle in our warm bedroom together and drift off to sleep, happily.
I knew after about 2 years of rescuing my best friend, he had PLN or kidney issues and we had to fight this horrible disease. No big deal; I was a veterinary technician and had the world’s best veterinarians at my finger tips. And he was a stubborn but great dog who would do nothing less than fight.
I monitored his kidneys and administered his meds hidden in hot dogs or deli meat or whatever the days flavor (which he decided) was. Hunter knew no different. He was happy and living life to its fullest.
In late Novemeber 2013 Hunter’s kidneys almost got the best of him. A trip to the vet given he wasn’t acting quite like himself, showed his kidney’s were beginning to fail. I treated him at home with IV fluids and meds.
We took short walks in the park, and when he wasn’t feeling great, just sat in the grass and spent time together. After fluid therapy and meds, I rechecked his kidney values. All efforts proved to be ineffective. I decided at that time, knowing he hated going to the vet, knowing our efforts were not helping, knowing I wanted his life to be about quality of life, to stop all treatment and continue to make him as happy and comfortable as possible.
The vet told me at that time we had 1-2 months together.
Hunter as stubborn as he always was, fought for 6 months. He was happy during these months. He ate, and walked and spent quality time with me doing everything and nothing at all.
This is just a small snapshot of the incredible journey, bond and friendship we had and the incredible dog and friend he was.
April 29th 2014, Hunter lost his battle to kidney disease. A piece of me also died that day. The day before we spent a beautiful day together. We took a short walk on the beach, he ate his favorite meal-salmon and we spent our last night together with friends reminiscing about all of the wonderful times and moments we spent together.
The vet came to the house the next morning as Hunter would not have wanted it any other way. Friends surrounded him, us. We laughed about the memories he created with us. We cried, I cried a lot. Holding Hunter on his favorite bed, talking to him through tears, kissing, hugging and holding him and telling him, reminding him what a wonderful, great and extraordinary friend he was, I said goodbye and sent him on to his next journey where I know in my heart he will be waiting for me.
Hunter ~ You ARE and will ALWAYS be my best friend. You are a part of me. Thank you for all of the great times we spent together. Thank you for being such an incredible friend. Thank you for making my life that much better because you were a huge part of it.
I will forever miss you and hold every moment we spent together; your smell, your bark, our bond and friendship dear in my heart, my mind and my dreams.
Rest in peace my best friend. I love you.