When I was a puppy everyone thought I was really cute and wanted to cuddle me. But when I got bigger strangers started crossing the road to avoid me because I was a big scary rottweiler. So I would strain at the leash because I was desperate to say hello and get a pat not knowing that I was scaring them even more!!! But the cycle of life is a funny thing. When I became a Tripawd people would cross the street to meet me, not get away from me, curious to know the story of my missing leg. I will get to that story, I promise, but first, please humour me as I tell you a little bit about my life as a monkeybutt (ah, the good old days!). You see, it’s not just old dogs who can ramble on about themselves. We spirits can be just as guilty of it! And after all, it isn’t easy to condense nine years into one single blog! So, sorry in advance for the length. Feel free to skim over it and just “read” the pictures!
It was a cold, sunny winter’s day when I first saw my mum and dad. I knew straight away that I wanted to be a part of their pack so I raced to greet them before any of my brothers and sisters could get to them first. After lots of cuddles I wandered over to play with my siblings for a little while and was a bit embarrassed to find myself pinned beneath two of them. I couldn’t beat them with brute strength so I showed off my cunning by waiting for them to lose interest and then stealing the toy that we had been fighting over. At first I was worried that mum and dad would think I was too sneaky but then I discovered that they revelled in my intelligent and mischievous nature. They laid claim to me that day and returned one week later to pick me up. I was 8 weeks old.
My back left leg was always a bit “funny”. Mum and dad noticed that it moved a little differently to the other leg when I ran but when they tried to point it out to our vet and other rottie owners no-one else could see it. But mum and dad could see it. Did that have anything to do with what would happen nine years later??? I know mum thinks it is more than coincidence that the nasty bone cancer should strike that “funny” leg.
A few months after my second birthday I was just getting over a very scary bout of pyometra (uterine infection) when mum and dad separated. I was devastated. I couldn’t understand and was worried that I had done something terribly wrong. But, it didn’t take long for me to realise that both mum and dad still loved me very much and that the problem wasn’t with me.
So for the next nearly eight years I got to have two homes. I would generally spend two weeks with mum and then two weeks with dad. Sometimes it seemed a bit weird but I was always a very confident and sociable dog so it wasn’t too bad. For the most part it meant that I got extra attention from both of them as they tried to make up for their lost time with me. Even our oncologist, who only knew me a short time, agreed that I probably thrived on the stimulation and extra attention of moving between two homes.
I was blessed with a very active life – long walks every day and trips to the beach and river whenever mum or dad could manage it. I loved meeting other people and dogs and going to the vet. Life was good. My most favourite thing of all time was to chase the ball and that was something we did at every opportunity.
My diet consisted of a commercial dry food (Supacoat) together with fresh beef and chicken wings. I also got meaty bones, lamb shanks and pigs ears as well as liver treats and dental bone treats (rice based). I would also occasionally be successful in begging for the odd chip, BBQ chicken or piece of ham! I remember how Mum would often sit with me and hold the big bones for me while I chewed. That was special time that we shared together.
I really loved my food so it was always a bit of a battle to keep my weight at the optimum level of about 42kg. I was probably always a couple of kilos heavier than I should have been (and there was a short time when I was a good 5 kilos heavier. I was fat!).
The year I turned six (2008) mum brought a “friend” home to meet me. He seemed harmless enough so I took myself off to bed and left them alone. Big mistake!!! I don’t know what I was thinking!@#$%. It wasn’t long before he was coming over ALL the time and getting in the middle of mum and me. I tried to warn him away with my best growls but he would always call my bluff and hug me anyway. Oh how I wanted to bite him but damn mum for teaching me my manners too well. I had to settle with ferocious licking instead.
Mum and dad started me on glucosamine and omega 3 oils sometime in my seventh year. Then when I was about eight and a half years old (the timing is a bit fuzzy) they switched to Joint Guard (glucosamine/chondroitin/MSN). I couldn’t believe how much better I felt when they did that. I felt years younger.
Around my ninth birthday (May 2011) mum found more mammary glands due to tumours so it was under the knife again to have them removed. It was around this time that I started slowing up again. Mum and dad put it down to “just arthritis”.
By this time mum’s “friend” was well and truly entrenched in our lives and soon to be my new step dad. Of course, I was very happy for mum because she was so happy. And while I missed it just being the two of us my step dad to be was a good man who was happy to come along with us to the beach and river and take lots of photos of me showing off.
Life was good and we didn’t think anything could come along and spoil it for us. What we didn’t know was that shortly after mum’s wedding in July 2011 our lives would be turned upside down by sucky cancer. My life as a monkeybutt was nearly over.