A sweetheart of a dog, he nevertheless presents an imposing barrier to anyone brave enough to travel up our 500′ driveway.
In fact, Boris’ proudest moment came several years back, when an unknown car turned up our driveway.
Seeing it make the turn, Boris leapt off the deck and raced down the driveway, meeting the car halfway. Boris stood his ground, standing in front of the car with his hackles up and barking. I noticed his tail was wagging as well, which sent a mixed message.
The car stopped.
The impasse lasted for thirty seconds. The car sitting still, the driver not daring to roll the window down. And Boris… well, he was acting out his favorite movie scene.
Finally, the car began inching backward, slowly backing down the driveway.
Boris escorted it down the driveway, staying in front until it reached the bottom, turned and left somewhat faster than it had arrived.
When he arrived back home shortly afterward, there was a nifty bounce in his step. I heaped praise on him and gave him a double helping of biscuits.
It remains to this day, Boris’ Proudest Moment.
Goodbye, Good Buddy
There are other Boris stories worth sharing, but I’m finding it hard to type through my tears.
You see, we’re putting Boris down next Wednesday.
Two years ago, he went mostly blind. Some kind of auto-immune ailment started attacking his eyes. He woke up on Easter Morning, 2017 unable to see. The next day animal eye specialists were able to restore some vision in one eye, but the prognosis was complete blindness within six months.
He adapted just fine, and I worked with him to teach him new commands.
“Step!” for whenever he needed to step over a log, rock or up stairs.
“Wait!” for the times I needed to clear a path.
“Stop!” for the times he was getting too close to a tree, stump, wall or hole.
I was fully prepared to live with and love this blind dog for the rest of his life, which I thought would be another couple years. But a few weeks ago he took a turn for the worst. He lost energy; he had chronic diarrhea; and he started coughing after strenuous hikes.
An X-ray showed an enlarged chamber in his heart and the EKG showed heart arrhythmia. We were informed that Boris would suffer a heart attack or stroke within a few weeks. Nothing could be done.
Boris is not the dog he was just a few weeks ago.
Even blind, he’d take off into the bushes at any sound; he’d bark whenever the mood struck him; he’d jabber at me when he felt the need for food or attention.
He does none of these things like he used to. And when he tries, it sounds half-hearted and strained.
He has always loved long walks, but now he can’t walk up hills without slowing down to a slow plod, and at the top he looks thoroughly beat.
Boris’ Farewell Tour…
We’ll take Boris out a lot in the next days. He’ll eat cheeseburgers, pumpkin pancakes, canned dog food (a rarity in this house), and pretty much whatever else he wants. I’ll dig a big hole. And on Wednesday, we’ll try to keep our composure as we say goodbye to this sweet, sweet dog.
I’m gonna miss him terribly.
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