It has been a few years since I've posted on here, so I'm sure no one remembers me, but since so many of you were such a huge help to me when I first rescued Cody, I felt like I needed to return here.
On October 4th, I lost my best friend. He was 10 years old and had been with me for a little over 7 years. When I first met him, he was a scared, neglected, abused, underweight basenji, and when he looked up at me with his sad golden eyes, I fell in love. At first, life together was a struggle; I was learning about living with a basenji, and he was learning to be a well-loved family member. But we settled together well, and he somewhat mellowed with age.
He really was my best friend. We moved a lot, so sometimes he was my only friend. He had only been around a few children, so when I got pregnant last year, I wasn't sure how he would react. I realized very quickly that I didn't need to worry. He was very protective of me during my pregnancy. He became a velcro dog, following me everywhere and always sitting near me or on me, which was very out of character for him. He was also selective of who was allowed near me. The list was short, just my fiancé, my parents, and my brother. I was put on bed rest early in my first trimester because I had subchorionic hematomas and would hemorrhage. I lost my son in a late miscarriage, and almost died myself, so when I finally came home, Cody never left my side. He wasn't big on cuddling as he got older, but he let me hold him, cry on him, and use him as a pillow. After that, he never really went back to his overly-independent ways. He continued being a velcro dog that cuddled on the couch and in bed.
One night in late September, we were getting ready for bed, and I noticed that he was hesitant to jump on the bed. I thought that maybe he was just starting to feel his age, so I tried to pick him up and he screamed. I made an appointment, but the vet couldn't see him for a little over a week, and suggested giving him doggy aspirin until then. He hadn't escaped and no one had hurt him, so the only thing I can think of that happened is that he was playing too rough with the other dog and cat, both of which are much younger than him. When the vet saw him, she didn't take X-rays, but he was diagnosed with a herniated disc near his tail, and she prescribed some meds. I thought he was getting better, but then a few days later he got worse very quickly. He was in a lot of pain. He would fall when he was walking, and he started dragging one of his back legs. He lost the use of both legs within 24 hours. It was a weekend, so the vet office was closed, and we don't have an emergency vet here. Plus at that point, I didn't trust the local vet here. My aunt has a friend that is a vet about 3 hours from here, so she called him, but he wouldn't be able to make it here for another day or so, and Cody was in so much pain that I couldn't travel that far with him. He told me to keep him medicated and comfortable, and he continued to call to get updated. When Doc finally made it here, he quietly and gently ran his hands over Cody, checked a few things, and then cursed the other vet. There was an injury to Cody's spine, but it was more than just a herniated disc and it was near his neck. Within another 24 hours or so he would be completely paralyzed. His front leg was already showing signs of paralysis. There was nothing we could do. The other vet should have xrayed him, at least it would have saved him from the pain and confusion of going paralyzed. I held his face in my hands, kissed him, and told him how much I loved him as he was helped across the rainbow bridge.
Through all of his last week, especially when it got bad, I never left his side. I didn't eat or sleep for days, I just couldn't. I laid on the floor next to his bed as he slept and just watched him and prayed. He stayed with me through the hardest time in my life, and I couldn't leave him during his. It's been 2 months, and sometimes it still hurts so much that it takes my breath away.
I've never been a very religious person, but in his last few minutes as I told him how much I loved him, I also told him that he had been my best friend for 7 years, but now he would get to go be Liam's best friend until I got to see both of them again. He would probably be just as protective over him in death as he was in life. That thought has helped when the grief is overwhelming.
Fly high my sweet grumbly old man. I'll see you at the rainbow bridge.