In April of 2005 my sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law and I, along with my sister's dog, Zoe, were in a car accident. We couldn't take Zoe with us as we were being transported to the hospital to be examined, so dog control held on to Zoe. She escaped from them, and despite our searching, we found that she had been hit by a car a few days later.
It was three days after that when my sister went to the SPCA to adopt another dog, with the idea that it would help her to cope with the loss of Zoe. We found a scared, seven month old Rottweiler mix there, "Emerald". He'd been a stray transferred to our area's SPCA from the city nearby. We brought the family dog, Brutus, to meet him. Old Brutus approved. My sister and her (now) husband adopted "Emerald" there and then.
I still remember the car ride home. The poor puppy was terrified. He didn't want to get in the car, so my brother-in-law had to carry him in the truck. He rode the whole way home in the front passenger seat, over his shoulder.
"Emerald" was quickly renamed Khloe, as my sister wanted it to rhyme with Zoe. A girly name, but it fit him somehow - though we joked from time to time about how no one had thought of a 'boy' name like Joey!
My sister now says that adopting this dog was the wrong decision for her … But it was one of the best things to ever happen to me.
Khloe was my dog from the start. I was about 10 or 11 years old when he joined my life, and from the start we were connected. Khloe, when left without me at my sister's apartment, would pace and search for me and refuse to eat. And I … well, being young and loving this dog so much already, threw a fit about him not living with me. Eventually he became mine. Somehow, I think he knew I needed him.
I've suffered from depression for a long time. At the worst of times, Khloe was there for me. I wasn't always the best "mother" to him … I didn't walk him as often as I should have, and fed him poor quality food (along with lots of human food that wasn't too good for him - not that he'd have complained about that!). But he was there, always at my side.
I was molested a few years ago. Khloe stopped the man - he bit him. I'm sure things would've been worse if Khloe hadn't been there. I was so scared I didn't tell anyone what happened for years, but he was my hero from then on (I was so happy when I finally did tell my family what happened and they called him "our hero"…).
I started caring for Khloe better. I took him for walks - when I realized how happy it made him to get out, it encouraged me to get out more. We took bike rides together, and long walks, and even started going to the dog park. I started training him - he learned to stay and roll over and speak and jump and crawl under things on command, we even started getting compliments at the store on how well behaved he was. Khloe was so happy - and along the way, this was helping me to feel better … I learned to cope with depression better because of him. I don't know if I'd still be here if it weren't for him.
He was an odd dog. He was so, so protective of me (and women in general, but mostly me). I couldn't hug anyone or sit too close to someone without him getting jealous. Playfighting was a huge no-no around him - he'd even get upset when the other dogs in the family would play too rough.
Khloe's best friend was his doggy cousin, Sasha the Basset Hound. Sasha was a few weeks old when my sister adopted her ... Khloe wasn't quite sure what to do with her, she was so small! They became friends quickly, though. He taught her lots of things ... How to chase the four wheeler at the cabin, and chasing chipmunks, how to wrestle (Such a weird dog! Khloe was allowed to play rough, but he'd get upset if anyone else did). Khloe always used her long basset ears against her in their playfighting. They were "attacted at the butt": they often could be seen together laying with their backsides against one anothers. They went on adventures together in the woods and loved to run together.
He liked to think that he was a big, tough dog ... But he was really a big baby! At the dog park, he liked to run up to the other dogs with his head raised and his tail up like "I'm the boss!" but as soon as he got to them, he'd turn and look to me like "oh no, Momma, what did I do?" Fireworks terrified him (poor guy would hide under tables!), as did little kids. When we had a litter of kittens running around and they climbed all over him, he stayed absolutely still and cried until I moved them away from him. And, as he was a 75 pound, strong dog, he was fully capable of winning a game of tug-o'-war with his doggy cousin, Lucky, a 15 pound Parson Russel Terrier ... But he'd always let her win.
We learned one day as the family was sitting in the backyard and someone was blowing bubbles in the next yard over that Khloe HATED bubbles - he smashed right into the back of the garage jumping up to pop one. And balloons? My seventeenth birthday, an aunt brought me some … I don't think she'll ever do that again. We had to put them away because Khloe was so upset, barking and trying to get to them to pop them.
He hated water, too - he'd literally attack it. He'd dig and scoop at it with his mouth. He wasn't much help when I was trying to fish! On our morning walks at the river he'd get scared sometimes of the sound of the waves, but at the same time he always insisted on walking across a dock over the water. He hated rain, and would refuse to go outside in it.
There are lots of birds that hang around the river where we walked - pigeons and ducks. Khloe never really minded them. However, if he saw a heron, he'd go CRAZY.
He had a special brand of balls that he loved. At the dog park, he'd carry one around and make sure everyone knew it was his … He didn't like to let anyone throw it for him. If he had his ball when someone would hug me or get too close, he'd still get mad, but he wouldn't bark - just chew the ball really hard and stare.
He loved to run. Anywhere he could be off leash was paradise for him. The first time he went to the family cabin, he ran around so much he made me scared that he was going to take off and not come back! I came to find out that he'd never go far, though. Even when we came across deer in the woods that he wanted to chase, he wouldn't leave me.
He taught me so much in the short time he was here with me. I've loved dogs my entire life, but I never knew how strong a connection one can have with them before Khloe. I never knew how much one could change a person's life. I learned a lot about how to care for a dog, and he taught me a lot about caring for myself.
He was, and always will be, my best friend.
Khloe became sick in October, 2011 - he went off his food suddenly (still eating treats and we could get him to eat with yogurt or wet food mixed in his kibble) and started drinking excessively. He had a blood test and urinalysis done at the vet, which came back showing that he was hypercalcemic,no other problems. We went home with a diuretic and a steroid to help flush the excess calcium from his system. He did well on those - they made him SO hungry though - poor guy never stole food off the table until he was on those medications.
We took him back the next week to redo the bloodwork and had x-rays done at that time. His calcium was back to normal, nothing abnormal on the x-rays. So we started to ween him off the medication ...
He became sick again a short while after. This time it was much worse: he wouldn't eat at all (except a few baby carrots), he was stumbling & lethargic. He spent the night at the emergency vet.
They said his calcium was continuing to rise despite the medications and it had gotten so high the machine couldn't read it, & his kidney levels were elevated and they didn't know if it was because he was dehydrated or if it was failing. He stayed at the e-vet until late the next day receiving fluids and having other tests done - we sent one out to check his parathyroid levels, as at this point we had narrowed the causes down to either hyperparathyroidism or cancer.
When we took him home he ate some chicken and rice and was okay with that for a day or two before he stopped eating again. He managed to go to the dog park one more time, it was only a short while, but he had fun as much as he could in his condition. He became tired very quickly, but he had fun walking around the park with his favorite ball. We took some pictures together. He was going downhill that last week. He was so weak I had to help him to bed and into the car for rides, I'd never had to do that before. I force fed him, and he hated it. We spent most of that week laying on the couch or in bed together.
His last couple of days he was so exhausted, but he couldn't seem to get comfortable... You could hear him cry very softly as he breathed. The vet finally got back to me about his test results. His parathyroid levels were normal, which left the only other cause to cancer. She said we could pursue it and try to find the cancer (we had absolutely no idea where it was or anything like that) ... I don't think he was strong enough, even if we were to find the cancer, to undergo treatments or surgery at that point. He was shutting down. He had lost weight, the muscles on his shoulders were sunken in ... Being at the vet made him miserable anyway - his poor nose was rubbed raw from his stay at the emergency vet and I was told he wouldn't stop barking. I felt that would be cruel to put him through that. I couldn't let him suffer any more.
I helped him to cross the Rainbow Bridge the morning of November 12th, 2011.
Rest in peace, Bah-Bah, Momma loves you, and always will. Thank you for everything.