A Stray Dog In Need Walked Up To A Man Going Through Tough Times... And The Rest Is History
July 24, 2014
A little over a year ago, my wife and I lost two children back-to back through miscarriage. At this point in our new marriage we had already dealt with so much and losing those potential lives served as a bottomless pit; a hole that seemed unlikely we would ever fill.
I was working at a wood flooring factory a couple months after. I had an entire wing, basically, to myself. One day I was staining some custom furniture for my boss's getaway Florida home when I looked at the other end of the hangar length building to see a little puppy. I instantly wanted to abandon post and grab the thing for cuddles but I had work to get done. This pup wasn't having none of that though.
He walked up to me and stared at me with his huge eyes. I pet him and noticed instantly that he was flea covered, matted and not in the best physical shape. As I looked closer I realized that he had a lot of gray around his muzzle, ears and face.
I got him chicken-ish fast food during my lunch because he was so thin that I could feel his bones. I started sending these pictures to my wife planning on pleading to bring him home. I didn't have to because she beat me to the punch.
I thought that I would have to herd him away from doors all day until I could clock out and take him home. The little guy fell asleep on the floor and stayed there all day.
I took him home and washed dozens upon dozens of fleas off his body. My wife and my daughter dried him off and brushed his fur. He looked a lot better but still seemed worse for wear. We are lucky he made it through that first night. After that night we named him Rooster Cogburn, after John Wayne's role in True Grit. We found it fitting; due to his ability to keep moving despite it all.
When we took him to our veterinarian the whole clinic fell for him instantly. The vet had a hard time identifying his breed because of his size. They landed on Shetland Sheepdog, an age of somewhere between 8 and 12 with a weigh-in of 7.3 lbs.
His impressive list of existing conditions were:
1. Stunted growth from malnutrition.
2. Cataracts and one small pupil from blunt force trauma to the head.
3. Ulcers in his stomach causing vomiting.
4. Four oronasal fistulas in his mouth caused by his teeth rotting out of his head.
5. Completely deaf.
After a surgery on the fistulas, a strict medicinal regiment, months of spoiling and a family who loved him as much as two children and then some; Toothless (Nickname added by our Five year old daughter because of her love for How To Train Your Dragon) Rooster Cogburn was a dashing elderly gentleman in the vein of Sir Ian Mckellen and Christopher Plummer.
I now present to you a photo journey through the good times;
He would gum my boots, dominate my foot or donkey kick my heels if I tried to leave the house. He also made a very gruff *Harumph* noise when frustrated.
He loved being spoon fed by his mommy, greek yogurt was his favorite treat. He would snuggle up into our necks when he wanted to tell us he loved us.
Here he was getting in touch with his timber wolf roots. We had watched The Grey together that same day.
Here he was given a Normal-Type item to boost his SP. ATK.
The cutest Who in 'Whoville'.
He had had enough of that.
The Gambler. He loved sitting on playing cards or in the middle of a game.
Most of all... he loved naps. He had a nest (the red blanket) and a mistress (the brown blanket). Such sleep.
He would sleep next to us on the floor for his second breakfast nap.
Here he practices his Lucille Bluth wink.
Toothless Rooster Cogburn was given three months to one year to live. He made it to one year before he got too sick to grace us with his awesomeness for one more day.
On June 2, 2014, I watched the greatest friend, most loving pet and the most heroic fighter I've ever met sink into a well deserved final nap while his mother and I held his paws. I never thought I could love a pet as much as I loved him; as much as we loved him. Everyone who met him instantly loved him. His vets, our friends, a theater full of patrons when he performed a walk-on role in a play. He truly was one of a kind. We hope that we gave him enough good memories to wipe out any bad ones that came before.
Toothless Rooster Cogburn: We love you and always will. Enjoy that nap... you definitely deserve it.
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