Early this year I met a very special dog, Drew. Drew was adopted by a very special family, a couple and their two boys, who took in a special needs senior without knowing how much time they would have with him. Drew recently passed on, and I asked Janet to write a guest blog about their time with him.
“When I first saw Drew, I knew I had to meet him. We have an active 5 year old Pointer, Stripes, (he came with the name – that’s another story), who is left alone for a few hours each day, and I thought he would benefit from a canine companion. I had been casually surfing shelter and rescue sites for a while, and when I saw Drew I just knew he was the one. He looked a little Pointer-ish, a little Lab-ish, but mostly just sweet. I know that looks don’t tell the whole story, but the short bio that PAW posted tugged at my heart. Drew was a return. A 12 year-old discard. Adopted at 2, he was brought back after spending 10 years with the people he knew as his family and loved. Apparently, mother-in-law was moving in, and simply didn’t like dogs. Really? Good luck to mother-in-law as she begins to age.
I completed an online application, and heard back within a day. Yay! We set a date to meet Drew on the following Saturday, to make sure the chemistry was right, and make sure he and Stripes got along. Saturday morning, the phone rang, and it was Ken from PAW. He told us that Drew had had a seizure early that morning, had recovered and seemed fine, but he wanted to disclose that information before we set out to meet him. It didn’t stop us. In fact, I knew that an epileptic senior was less likely to be adopted, and we hoped that the meet and greet would go well.
It did. Drew was a love. Easy-going, like an old uncle. He fell into a routine with us pretty quickly. Stripes was always “my” dog, my shadow, but Drew belonged to all of us. He slept often, and was a cozy pillow for my boys. He surprised us with his frisky side every now and then, and liked to play chase and tug. He and Stripes mostly co-existed, they never really became “pals” but they certainly got along, and Drew brought a mature presence to the house. My sons said that Drew was Stripes’ long lost step-father. Maybe. Who knows?
With Drew in the house, I didn’t feel bad leaving for a few hours, knowing my dog-boys had each other. Drew loved to hike, always close by, and would dip in the stream to re-energize. For every mile Drew and I hiked, Stripes would run 5, and circle back to meet us. He was just as happy with a short stroll in the neighborhood, and was always a gentleman on the leash.
After a few months, Drew’s seizures increased in intensity and frequency. We tried medication, and it helped for a while. We put more time between the outings, and spent more time just cuddling with our new buddy as he slept. He was always there to greet us with a wag, and his needs were simple: food, water, walks and some love. In return, Drew awarded us with a generous dose of unconditional love each day.
We knew our time with Drew would be limited, but had hoped it would be longer. On November 14th, we buried Drew in the backyard, next to our first rescue dog, our first canine family member, Zola. Drew’s seizures had become unmanageable, he showed signs of brain damage, and our vet diagnosed him with a brain lesion.
My sons loved Drew deeply and discovered that a senior can be just as fun (and less destructive) as a puppy. They learned that it’s great to love, it’s hard to lose, and it’s important to honor your commitments. Drew graced our home with love, and taught us all of that.”