Seven years ago a large black and white mixed breed dog walked into my life and joined my pack of three dogs. More accurately, he walked into the glass door of the store I was meeting him at. He had my heart instantly. The rescue worker told me he was at least seven years old, he might be hard of hearing, vision impaired and he definitely was prone to seizures. She offered to give him to me but I insisted on paying full price for Lenny.
It did not take long to realize Lenny was not hard of hearing and he was not vision impaired. He just did what he wanted to do and on his time schedule. Nothing fazed him. I only heard him bark one time in these seven years.
The fifth dog into my pack was Moose. Once Moose came into my pack, Lenny became what a dog should be. Lenny bonded with him and trusted Moose. He would chase Moose, jumping and trying to block his path when Moose was running after a Frisbee. Moose never once lost patience with Lenny and they both had a fantastic time.
Earlier this year I learned Lenny had cancer. I don’t know how long he was living with it before it became obvious. A tumor was removed from inside Lenny’s mouth and his toe was removed as well. Malignant melanoma was the diagnosis. I had no idea a dog could get a skin cancer. The vet told me Lenny had about 5 month to live.
Five months later, that prediction came true. Those five months were filled with fun, chasing Moose, eating as many cookies as he wanted and whatever dinners he desired. You would be hard pressed to know Lenny was a sick dog.
Then today Lenny fell and something was obviously wrong. He could move his legs but could not stand. His neck was stiff and his eyes kept involuntarily moving from the back of his head to the forward position. His 130 pound body was immediately loaded into my truck and off to the emergency vet we went. Moose came with us. He was his one canine friend and I hoped he could offer some comfort to Lenny.
The doctor was kind and he did a great job explaining things to me. He believed Lenny’s cancer had likely spread to his brain. He was not going to recover. I knew it was time to let him go and the tears free flowed down my face. The doctor told me if it helped, it was what he would do for his own dog. It did, but I continued to cry. Moose came in the room and Lenny seemed to perk up a bit as he recognized the scent of his old friend. I lay down with him and held him while he was injected with the anesthesia. It was easy and peaceful. I knew the exact moment he took his last breath. I stayed there with him for several minutes after he was gone.
On the ride home, Moose licked my face then dropped his head onto my chest and stayed there for the rest of the ride. I think he knew my heart was broken. I am grateful Lenny found his way into my life and blessed me with seven years of the purest form of love only a dog can give. Run cancer free my kind, gentle soul.