"In Memorium" of our dogs

We now have four dogs having just adopted a Cane Corso puppy back in February 2014 when she was 8 weeks old!  We had only the other three dogs for quite a while -- Rocky, Joey,  and Boo.  A few years back we had seven dogs!  Then one horrible year we lost 6 of the 7 from age or disease.  We still had Rocky, and then adopted Joey and Boo back in 2010, I think. 

Anyway, this page will become my dog memorium page.  I will add descriptions of the rest of the dogs we've lost eventually.  But for now, I simply prefer not to dwell on that.  So . . . for now,  here are our last terrible losses ---

ROCKY - Catahoula

Friday the 13th, 2015 was in fact a horrible period.  Rocky had reached a point that week when he could not use his right rear leg at all and he had a very hard time standing on the back left one as well.  NOT good.  He had to have help getting in and out of the house to go to the bathroom and even to get up and move around at all.  So we carried him out to the truck and took him to the vet, and they gave him a shot that was supposed to help him feel better about walking.  But in fact he got worse.    

We originally got Rocky because we had adopted Niki, a Black Russian Terrier who was driving all our older dogs nuts!  We checked out a number of new ones who also couldn't deal with her.  Then someone brought Rocky over to check him out and he did wonderfully with her!  

Rocky with Niki

See - he didn't even bite her when she harassed him!  

They became perfect friends.

After Niki was gone, we adopted Joey, and Rocky also got along quite well with him as well.

Rocky with Joey.

He would put up with about anything with any other dog!  

But then last week when he had trouble walking, he wouldn't eat anything at all anymore either.  Then just two days after that vet visit, he woke me at 3 AM when he was crying loudly and then all the other dogs started making noise right along with him!  I got up and went out to the living room and sat down on the floor next to him and helped him move his legs around so they weren't hurting and I stayed out there for a while and petted him until he quieted down and went to sleep.  Then I went back to bed. But when I got up a few hours later, he was in exactly the same position he was in when I left him! . . . but he was no longer alive.  

Since he was an adult when we got him back in 2003, he had to have died at at least 13 or 14 years old.  Still, since he was completely normal right up until that week it came as a horrible surprise to find him gone.  Very VERY sad.

BEN  -  Lab or Golden Retriever / Chow mix

BEN was probably the oldest of the group.  He's was either Lab or Golden Retriever mixed with Chow.  I'm sure about the Chow part -- his tongue was partially black, he had the world's heaviest undercoat, and his personality was aloof and very Chow-like.  But as he aged, he seemed to get more and more outgoing, strangely enough.  He was more puppy-like toward the end than he was when we adopted him all those years ago!  Maybe there's such a thing as senility in the dog world, too!
We kept him shaved down so his coat would be manageable, and so he wouldn't roast to death in the Louisiana heat and humidity, but he still had a LOT of hair!

We adopted him from an animal shelter.  My best friend used to be the Animal Control Director for an adjoining Parish.  We went over to visit with them one weekend and she said she had to stop by her office for a minute for some reason.  Then she brought us to the back and showed us Ben.  He had been dropped off there because he killed all the ducks that belonged to his former owner.  And he was so depressed and demoralized by being locked up that he refused to eat or even acknowledge anyone.  He just lay there staring into space.  He was due to be euthanized the following Monday.  We took him home.  (I know that's REALLY why Janet hauled us over there.  She had gotten attached to him and didn't want to see him put down.)  I don't know how old he was when we adopted him -- he wasn't a really young dog, but beyond that it was hard to tell.  He was never a very playful sort.  He was very Chow-like in that sense.  But overall, he was the perfect dog.  He never had an accident in the house, no matter how long we got delayed.  He warned us of strangers, but didn't bark or bite once someone was inside.  Just a really REALLY nice dog, with a few notable eccentricities. 
NOTE:  Ben died on August 23, 2010 at 6:35 PM.

GRACIE  -  Boxer

Then we had Gracie, our boxer.   Here she is when she first showed up in our yard about five or six or so years ago. 
At first she wouldn't let anyone anywhere near her.  If you even looked in her direction she would take off.  But every morning she would be back out there.  The poor thing looked SO thin.  I started setting bowls of food out on the front porch.  At first she wouldn't come up to eat no matter how hungry she was until no one was in sight, but  slowly but surely she began to come up to the food bowl even if I stayed out there while she ate.  And eventually I got her to come inside to eat.  And that was it.  She's was an inside dog ever after! 
 Here she is checking to be sure there's no one around before coming up onto the porch to eat the food I left out for her.

I kept her inside all the time at first because when she first arrived, she was completely vicious with everyone and everything other than us.  She did a Cujo thing when anyone else came around that was frightening even to the other dog people we know.  But we had Maxie at the time, an aging golden lab who loved and was loved by absolutely EVERYONE.  Other dogs could do all the posturing dogs do to threaten and Maxie would simply refuse to acknowledge that they wanted anything other than to play with her.  Finally, Gracie gave in and accepted her as a friend.
We also had Bruce Lee at that time, a Rottweiler who had come from a guard dog service.  They discovered he had hip dysplasia and could no longer work as a professional guard dog, so I adopted him -- another long story.  We'll go into all that when I add him separately to this dog memorium page later.  But given his aggressive history, we were pretty freaked about possible dog fights, so we never left Bruce in with any other dogs unsupervised.  And given her aggressive nature, we had decided NEVER to let Gracie come in contact with Bruce at all.  But one day Gracie managed to get out of her yard and into the yard with Bruce Lee.  We were terrified when we realized where she must be.  But when we found them they were playing happily together and it turned out they absolutely adored each other.  Wonders never cease.  Our two MOST aggressive dogs had fallen in love with each other!

After that, Gracie came a long, LONG way.  She was a much happier girl.   We could even safely leave her with the dog sitter when we traveled and she no longer tried to eat them!  In fact, when Torri stayed with them the last time, she said Gracie was her favorite! 
Here she is taking a little nap.  ;-)

NOTE:  Gracie died on April 25, 2010 of internal bleeding as a result of cancer.   Her ashes will join my own when my time comes.  She is very much missed.

NIKI - Black Russian Terrier  
Next was Niki ("La Femme Nikita" -- she's Russian), Rocky's pal.  Niki's mother was a pedigreed Black Russian Terrier imported from Russia.  The woman who imported her (who planned to show her and later to breed her) had a stroke and her daughter was delegated to take care of the dog.  Apparently she wasn't a dog person, because she "took care of her" by staking her out in the unfenced back yard while she was in heat where she ended up being bred by a passing Catahoula!  It was obviously a Catahoula because half the puppies had those distinctive Catahoula markings.  Niki, on the other hand, looked very much like her purebred mother.
Here she is when we first got her as a baby:

Those pictures look like such a sweet puppy.  But she was already developing a serious attitude!  Here she is getting ready to talk back in response to a command to sit:

These were taken at about 6 months (that tail is already becoming a serious weapon):

I normally don't have any trouble training our dogs, but as Niki reached the point where she really needed to be worked with, I was having a bout of painful arthritis in my hands, and she was SO strong, and SO hyper that I just couldn't handle her.  So we sent her to be trained by Ken at AAA Guard Dogs.
Afterward she was MUCH easier to handle.  But she would still try to play with the other dogs by racing full speed and slamming into them, knocking them ass over teakettle like so many bowling pins!  They did NOT appreciate it.  The rest were all much older than Niki and she was also rapidly coming to outweigh everyone else, so we decided we needed to find her a playmate who could actually put up with her shenanigans before she hurt someone -- or the other dogs had had enough and decided to hurt her!   So that's when we adopted Rocky, a sweet calm laid-back Catahoula who was willing to put up with all her harassment.  We were VERY glad to have found him!

Here she is harrassing Maxie.  Maxie loved absolutely everyone, but eventually Niki could manage to drive even Maxie absolutely over the edge!  (Note, however, that she is NOT harrassing Ben.  She might have been crazy as a pup, but she wasn't stupid!)
NOTE:  Niki died June 28, 2010 of advanced pancreatic cancer.  We had no idea prior to her autopsy that she had cancer.  She died suddenly and quickly.  Our home doesn't seem the same without Niki. 

BOO   -     German Shepherd/Husky mix who died 8/7/2016

We got Boo when his owner (a teacher at LSU Vet School) was about to put him down after he killed a few of her goats. But a friend of mine whose horses hung out with ours let me know about Boo and asked if I wanted him.  So I decided to go ahead and take him since we had no goats!  He had been a blood giver there at LSU several times a year and could continue until he hit age 10, so we took him in for a few times after we got him.  But that hasn't been necessary over the last almost-seven years.  He would have turned 17 this coming December.  But we thought we might have had to have him put down in a day or two ourselves since he was feeling really unhappy, but as it turned out, when I went out to feed him this evening, he was lying on his bed out on the back porch and simply wouldn't wake up.  He LOOKED pretty much normal, but I discovered that he was no longer breathing!  So he apparently had just gone out quietly in his sleep. I was concerned about him feeling less than good, but I guess it's a lot better that he was gone simply by going to sleep instead of having to be put down at the doctor's office!  

He had been such a sweetie!  He might have gotten rid of some goats, but he sure liked other dogs and cats and horses etc. And he LOVED people, too.  Well, he's about to be cremated. (He'll be joining ME when I die and I get cremated as well.) Poor guy -- but I guess 17 years was probably sufficient.  

See also "Remembering Pete" and "Dog Memorium Page."