About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view jdndog's profile
    Posted November 28, 2012 by
    baltimore, Maryland
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Loving and losing a dog: Your tributes

    I want the world to know about Bear

    Bear and I found each other at the Maryland SPCA in June, 2001. We didn't know it at the time, but we quickly found out it was a match meant to be. Being mostly yellow lab with a mix of rhodesian ridgeback, his favorite activities were swimming in a lake, fetching large sticks, and chasing neighborhood cats (they always got away). He was a big foodie and would stare at the frig even after he had his kibble, a bit of canned food mixed in, maybe some steamed vegetables, and sometimes a little bit of pasta (don't tell anyone). I invested a small fortune over the years in beef marrow bones, which Bear adored.

    Bear would accompany me in the car whever possible, usually most days to the park, but sometimes on longer trips and vacations. He sat very straight in the front passenger seat and many people did a double take when they realized he was a dog and not a person. I moved his seat back as far as it would go and positioned two old sofa cushions on top of one another in the footwell of his seat. If he wanted to stretch out or go to sleep, he didn't have to move to the back seat to do so. But mostly he liked to take in the sights while we were out and about.

    I realized one time at a local park that Bear had a huge desire to chase golf balls. A man was practicing his golf swing and before I knew what was going on, Bear was retrieving all of the balls. We returned the balls to the understanding man, slobber and all. Bear also developed a love/hate relationship with one particular small white boulder in a local creek. Bear would bark furiously at it for as long as I would let him, and if the boulder wouldn't do what Bear wanted it to do, he would try to flip it around in the water. This went on for years. I finally brought that very same boulder home and put it in Bear's baby pool.

    When I needed some physical therapy to help with a painful knee, Bear was able to accompany me and hang out while I did my mandatory exercises. One activity I had to do was walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes at a moderate pace. Bear must have thought I was leaving him, because he kept trying to get on the treadmill with me. The physical therapy staff had to restrain him and reassure him that I wasn't leaving him.

    Bear had an ACL tear in his right rear knee at 8 years old and the same type of tear in his left rear knee at 11 years old. I took him to physical therapy to help him recover and signed him up for weekly swims at an indoor facility during the colder months. He recovered well but of course was becoming a little slower and taking longer to recover from his activities as he got older.

    There are so many other wonderful, quirky, special things about Bear, but those are just a few.

    Earlier this year, he began to limp more and more. At first it seemed as if his arthritis was progressing, so we visited the vet and tried to increase the pain medication. It wasn't long before I realized something more serious was going on. Bear was diagnosed with bone cancer in his left rear leg this past June. Some tough decisions had to be made and I may have tried to hold on to my sweet Bear longer than I should have. On our last days together, he actually had the desire to swim indoors one more time. He ate much of his favorite food, chewed a couple of bones. We laid together and I would say "I think we're going to have to say goodbye soon". We did say goodbye on June 19th, 2012.

    Bear was the most special dog I have ever known and he brought so much joy to my life everyday. I hope I did the same for him. See you again one day, Bear.
    Add your Story Add your Story