Whether they went to the beach, crabbing or to the cabin, Tom Keeler and his Golden Retriever, Bear always enjoyed their time together. Tom shared some of his memories and photos of Bear and their life together. Tom says, "We always went everywhere together."
"One year ago today (12-9-13) that Bear passed away at the age of 10... The week before, I knew something was wrong. No one believed me, but I could sense it. He even fell in the backyard playing with me 3 days before. I wept at the sight of him struggling to not let me down. Then, that cold Sunday night, he started having trouble breathing. I wrapped him in his dog blanket and carried him to my truck, as he was too weak stand, and I didn't want him to hurt himself trying.
"Before I left my house, I ran back inside and took his favorite kerchief out of the laundry basket.. "just in case," I thought. At the Animal Hospital, they placed him in a doggy incubator. He was so upset, and the wonderful Vet team let me stay with him while the Emergency Vet prepped.
"They whisked him into a procedure room and I waited outside. The floor was soaked in tears between my feet while I thought if this was going to be his last night. Minutes felt like days. An hour or so later, the Vet came out. She told me that Bear had a large amount of fluid around his lungs, compressing them and making it hard for him to breathe. She said they had already drained out 1.5 liters and there was still more. She said she had a chance to look at the cells in the fluid under a microscope, and that the cells looked very cancerous, but didn't know specifically what kind of cancer. Though, she told me from her experience, that whatever cancer it was, it was real bad. She told me they could drain out the remainder of the fluid from around his lungs, which would help him breathe much easier for the time being, and then determine exactly what type of cancer it was, and to explore chemotherapy options. The other was to put him to sleep.
"I didn't hesitate at my decision. Bear had given me ten years of adventures, comfort, companionship, and unconditional love. Wherever I was, whatever I was doing, Bear was with me. I refused to even think about dragging out his suffering just to still have him with me. No matter how hard it was going to be. While the Vet was prepping the area, I clipped a lock of his fur to keep, and held his paw until he slipped away. I held him in my arms for several minutes after."
"I sat there while the Vet was getting the drugs/equip for the euthanasia and stroked his head, and speaking to him about all the places we went together in ten years. He was always the best listener"
"I always promised him I'd stick with him until the bitter end.. I brought his favorite kerchief.. RIP Bear, my companion canine."
"Here's Bear and me when he was around 2. In the winter he would follow me down to the beach and sit and watch me surf. I loved this so much. I like to think he did too."
"He was so gentle around everyone, and had a special gift with disabled children."
"This is Bear (Roxanne in the background) when he around 3 years old. They were building a new development near my home and there were acres upon acres of big dirt mountains, mysterious valleys (unfinished basements, and long, flat expanses that were conducive for launching tennis balls with a bat for extra long fetches. He was trained to be an off leash dog, and this is primarily where I trained him and gained confidence with each other on our communication."
"I fell asleep one day after a long night at work, and I guess Bear decided this was a prime snuggling opportunity. However, what both of us didn't know is from this angle, it looked like there was a half man half dog creature on the floor."
"My friends, Bear, and me would all go crabbing in the summers in the bay at this place called Seaview docks. We'd order pizza from Primo's pizza down the street and have them deliver it down the long dirt road to the docks. Bear especially liked this. A nice slice of cheese pizza was his lunch/reward for keeping all the seagulls away from our bait."
"This was Moose's first time around water, and Bear showed him it wasn't scary, by swimming out a distance then sending back a playful woof to Moose. I have Bear to thank for Moose's love of water. By the way, I should explain Bear's unique tail. When I went to the breeder, there was only two males left. One had a funny rash on his nose, and the other had a tail that had been broken when he was born. Giving it a shape kinda like a saxophone. The breeder said that no one wanted either of them, and that she was sorry she didn't have any other puppies left. I can't believe people can be so picky and cold. She insisted that if I really was set on the one with the broken tail, that she'd give him to me for nothing. I'm so glad I did. And he learned how to wag that thing just fine! (even though he would throw in a little butt-wiggle to enhance its' performance from time to time.) He also learned an alternative method to turn in the water, since he really didn't have a rudder like all the others."
"This is Bear on May 11, 2013"
"What's sad about a lot of these pictures at our cabin is they were taken a mere 6-7 months before he died."
"WABABABABABABAA. Bear drying off at my cabin on the river after taking an afternoon summer swim."
"I loved those spots on his tongue :p"
Photos reprinted with permission of Tom Keeler.
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