In this edition of ‘Behind the Scenes at DD’ we are going to share with you one of the more personal, most incredibly rewarding, and yet traumatic, parts of our lives.....
We always see our relationship with the DD family dogs as a ‘whole of life’ affair.
We aren’t just there for the easier times, when your dog can run and play in the woods and fields like a lunatic and flop on the couch at the end of the day, belly full with a huge smile on her face.
Nope, we are in this for the long haul, we truly are ‘friends til the end.’
Last year, 15 year old Coal Peluso started really slowing down. He wanted to play with everyone, wanted to still be that dog that could run and chase all the girls and try to have his wicked way with everyone, but his age started catching up with him.
We began to very carefully pick his playmates and manage his play sessions and now, after a much shorter but just as interactive play experience, he goes inside and hangs with the staff when we feel he has had enough.
Inside the house, Coal follows Jeannie around the halls as she cleans, or settles down right slap bang in the doorway of the main room and directs operations with his wonderful high pitched voice.
“You missed a bit!”
“ Has anyone put the chicken on to cook yet?”
“ I’m thinking sweet potatoes, carrots and green beans to go with the pot roast today, okay everyone?”
He actually loves his new position and really feels like he has the best of both worlds.
We love that he gets to enjoy many facets of his old routine without risk, running (albeit a little more slowly) out in the field, hunting with the pack and moseying around in the woods, and when he is inside ‘working’ with us, he’s getting more hands-on care. A belly rub here, an ear scratch there, being told he is beautiful every time we lock eyes with him......not as much fun as catching a chipmunk, maybe, but valuable and meaningful all the same.
In early August, Janet, his mum, emailed me and told me that the vets had found a splenic tumor, a hemangiosarcoma, and that his time would be short.
Wisely, due to his age, they decided not to do surgery, but instead to focus on his quality of life and working on his bucket list.
We have lots of experience with hemangiosarcomas and so were able to share some tips with Janet about the use of supplementation and natural ways to help him through this and recommended a kind and gentle local mobile veterinarian, Dr Karen Jordan, to guide them through this final part of Coals’ life journey, his home hospice care.
Coal spends his days these days getting fabulous golf cart rides around the neighborhood; his body may be in decline, but his voice is still good, and he can cat-call all he wants when zipping by at 10 miles an hour!
He enjoys family gatherings still, can do a very short walk and is living very much in the moment.
As we have done with many other dogs before him, we arranged a farewell party for Coal and his close friends at the Ranch, a chance to have one last ‘hurrah’ before he no longer can.
On Wednesday of this week, Coal Peluso was the guest of honor at his own party, a party thrown to celebrate a truly beautiful soul who has brought joy to many, many people. His DD dog pals were there, helping him to relive his finest glory days, even the weather was kind.
There were hugs, a few tears, lots of chicken nuggets....and a bit of a swagger from the man himself as he sashayed around the field, showing his human family how he and his pals like to tear it up when he’s not with them.
Aunty Kris, Uncle Doug, Aunty Jeannie, Aunty Julia, all made sure to be there for the occasion and wasted no time letting Coal know that he is valued, loved and, to be honest, downright adored.
Take a look at these pictures, look at his beautiful face...isn’t that the face of a happy chap?
He’s almost smug with all of the attention, isn’t he? Good for him!
Funerals and eulogies are all very well, but nothing, NOTHING beats the value of time spent while the dog is very much alive and present, to receive the love that we all feel for him.
As you look through these pictures, feel the emotion of the moment and see the joy in Coal Peluso’s face, please think about how important relationships are to your dog, how his pack means EVERYTHING to him.
Dogs live and breathe for the ones they love, they glory in every simple act of kindness towards them, and they seize the day, every day, especially when they know those days are numbered.
At DD, we believe it is our deepest honor to be a part of that, and we relish in the joy that it brings us.
Hold your dog close today, make every moment count.