11 1/2 years ago I got my very own first dog. I always loved animals and always wanted a dog of my own. Back in the early 2000s, my brother-in-law brought us a puppy as a surprise, but we had a new baby and we just could never give the puppy the home and attention she deserved. So we re-homed her. When I met Panda in the summer of 2010, I bonded with him immediately.
Panda was special. The breeder was going to put him down because he had a pretty drastic physical anomaly. His boy part was not formed properly. But he was perfect. He ate and drank and did all the things a healthy puppy should do. His coloring was beautiful and his face…oh his cute little puppy face melted my heart and bled into my soul. I loved him.
Panda is the naughtiest dog that ever was. He would bite. Growl. Refuse. Eat everything. Fight with his brother. But he was also the most lovable, sweet little cuddle bug that ever lived. He snored loud enough to wake the dead and his farts would clear a Catholic church on Easter Sunday. He loved blankets and tennis balls, and couldn’t get enough of walks. He had weird habits and maybe some OCD, and definitely anxiety. But boy, was he loved, and did he love back.
Last May, Panda went for a teeth cleaning. Blood tests showed some levels that were concerning. Suddenly, odd little things that had been happening with Panda started to make sense. More tests were run. Panda had Cushing’s Syndrome. Within 2 months, Panda had lost 15 pounds. He formed sores and lost fur. He developed muscle weakness and major incontinence. He wouldn’t tolerate the medicine. His brother died a month later and Panda’s condition worsened. He developed an ulcerated cornea and within a week required an enucleation. He stopped eating. We had to carry him downstairs to use the bathroom and hold his little body up while he relieved himself. We knew it was time to let him go and made the difficult decision to say goodbye. And that’s what we did on October 6th.
It’s been 5 months and I miss his big, soft potato body every day. I got a new puppy right before we lost Panda, and I love her to death. But Panda will always be my first puppy love. My daughter and I send each other pictures of Panda every day. Sometimes we talk about him together and we cry. I didn’t get long enough with him, but I’m so thankful for getting the time we had. Miss you, sweet Panda.