At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted him. Cody was a basement dog, rescued out of Philly. He had scabs all across his front and hind legs from sleeping on concrete for so long. He’d never been neutered, which made me suspect he’d just been used for breeding. He was a big, powerful, yellow lab with a coat like a lion’s mane. When I first went to meet him, he didn’t know how to act around people. I brought him a few toys, and he ignored them completely. He seemed wild and to be honest, a little scary.
At the time, my daughter was just eight, and tiny, and the night before we brought him home I lay in bed terrified that something would go wrong.
The rescue foundation had taken a picture of him while he was still chained up in the basement, and in it, he was looking up at the camera. I started to wonder what his life had been like, lying down there, listening to the family above, maybe wanting nothing more than to be a part of the pack.
Me and the kids went to get him from the shelter, and I took him over to the car. The kids got in the back seat and I had to heave him into the front seat, because he seemed too confused to understand he was coming with us. Well, I thought. Here goes nothing.
The second the car started moving, he squeezed between the two front seats and forced himself into the back. He laid down across both kids’ laps and they petted him and played with him the entire ride home. That was it. He was our dog after that.
I dressed him up Star Trek shirts and cool bandanas and took him on daily walks and yelled at him to move over when he took up the entire bed. I carried him through the snow when he decided he didn’t like the way the ice felt on his paws and wouldn’t walk any further.
It lasted two years. Two very good years. The vet found the first tumor in his back leg and operated on it. Assuring me it was all gone. It came back six months later, worse than before. Inoperable, they said. Something needs to be done quick, they said. Continue reading “Blog Post by Bernard Schaffer”