I mentioned Gunner briefly in my post about Kira. He was a rescue, that was one big health problem. But we loved him dearly. When we rescued him I backtracked his history as best I could. From what I could find out we were his 7th home and he was about 9 months old. He was skin and bones and didn’t know how to walk on a leash.
Initially we just assumed that he needed some consistent food and he would come along nicely, but in no time at all (and lots of bloodwork) we found out he actually had portosystemic shunting. A birth defect that usually only affects small breed dogs. The vessel that bypasses the liver while they are in utero didn’t close before he was born. So he had very limited liver function. We changed his diet and started him on a small pharmacy of medication and were told we would be lucky if he made it to 2 years old. Although we didn’t think we would have him for a long time, we loved him and wanted to give him the best life possible. Once we got him feeling better he started acting like a normal dog. He was a goofy guy, it felt like he did stuff just to get a laugh. And although he was a big goof most of the time he was also my biggest protector. He would change his posture and demeanour as soon as he could sense I was uncomfortable.
He wasn’t as eager to please as Kira was, so training was a little more work with him, but since she still loved to learn we did lots of training. And eventually he caught on to things and had a decent repitore of tricks down pat.
When Kira got cancer he was already 5, way older than anyone predicted he would make. But when she died he grieved so much for her. It broke our hearts to see how despondent he became. He went on a 12 day hunger strike and ended up with a bleeding gastric ulcer. I think he ended up losing 14lbs in those 2 weeks. I was worried we were going to lose both our furbabies. So the search began for a little brother or sister for him.
I knew I didn’t want another rottie right away. I was worried the poor thing would just be compared to Kira and would never be able to fill her shoes. So I started looking for a dogue de bordeaux. I had always liked the breed, but was pretty worried that by the time we found one it might be too late for Gunner. We were lucky though. When I found a breeder and explained our situation she bumped us to the top of her waiting list. And she had a litter due right away. We kept Gunner going with lots of “special” treats and spoiling and anxiously awaited our new puppy. We were all still grieving, but at least we had something to look forward to.
We brought Sloan home and it was like Gunner had a new purpose in life. He bounced back, started eating normally again and played with Sloan and tolerated his puppy nonsense like the best big brother ever.
And when they weren’t playing together, they were sleeping together
Unfortunately a new best friend only helped Gunner for 1 more year. He made it to 6 1/2 years old before his liver just couldn’t do it anymore. Which was 4 1/2 years more than we thought we’d have with him. That knowledge didn’t make it easier to let him go, but we knew we had to.
His memory still makes me smile. He was such a fun loving guy. Made every day count. He lived each day to the fullest. Almost like he knew it might be his last.