Friday, December 9, 2011

The Velveteen Despot: Eddie Bear

It’s Wednesday December 9th, 2011 and the Mountaineers are in the Orange Bowl, “The Product” is reuniting with some old friends way out in Arizona and wants Jeff Casteel to be among them, WVU and the Big East are set for some legal wrangling in the courtroom and sports is the furthest thing from my mind.

Earlier this week we found out that Eddie, our beloved Portuguese Water Dog, has lost ground in his fight with malignant melanoma. The cancer has metastasized to his lungs.

His prognosis isn’t good and our treatment options are now focused on palliative care and maintaining his quality of life for as long as we can.

Eddie will be 14 in February and we are determined to see that he reaches it.

I’ve written a lot about Eddie’s brother Yorick, who we lost last April, but relatively little about Eddie.  My omission wasn’t deliberate. Yorick had been battling IMPA for years and he just seemed closer to the end than his brother.  I just thought I would have more time.

Eddie’s nickname is  “The Velveteen Despot” and for good reason.  He is the sweetest, most loving and kind-natured dog that ever walked upon the Earth—He is also the most beguiling manipulator dog-kind has ever produced. 

This sweet and extremely loveable dog   uses his talents of persuasion and cuteness to procure food—and as much as can get.

Portuguese Water Dogs are supposed to be medium sized dogs averaging about 65 pounds; Eddie weighs in at almost 87. 

He’s worked long and hard to be fat and spends almost every waking minute  of his day plotting how to get tasty treats into his tummy.  Eddie’s  definition of tasty treats means anything that is not a  banana or lemon. This long list of items includes wrappers, popsicle sticks, paper towels and the occasional kibble of actual dog food.

Eddie has talents other than begging or foraging—he’s also an accomplished thief. Name it and Eddie has swiped off the kitchen counter. The list of stolen items is so long, and so varied, that an accounting of them would be impossible, but  Eddie would want you to know his greatest accomplishments in kitchen thievery:  an entire rasher of bacon and a whole pizza.

The Velveteen Despot’s thievery is legendary, his tricks, used to district and sometimes outright deceive, have to be seen to be believed.

Consider Eddie’s dilemma when there is food on the table protected by killjoy humans.  Eddie runs to the front door and begins to bark frantically as if he needs to go outside RIGHT NOW or he will whiz all over the floor. The human recognizes the “bathroom bark” and hurries to let him out. As soon as the door is opened Eddie wheels about and runs back to the table and steals whatever he can.

Another favorite  trick of Eddie’s is the plate flip. This cute and adorable dog will humbly saunter up the table and place his head in the lap of a human. The human begins to pet Eddie and relaxes. Eddie somehow senses his victim has relaxed and uses his head to bump the table hard enough to knock the plate off and onto the floor.

Eddie is certainly the scoundrel, but he is a lovable one. I don’t think I would have endured Yorick’s passing without Eddie’s calm and loving presence.

The tragedy of this all is very simple… we live longer than our canine friends. The pain and remorse we feel at their passing is both real and profound. I admit that I have struggled with depression since Yorick passed and I feel the pain of his absence on a daily basis. Yet having dogs such as Yorick and Eddie in my life has made it far better than it would have been otherwise. The joy and comfort they gave me is worth the pain.

As for Eddie, both my wife and I will be with him as he makes this journey. We will not let him suffer, but we will not give in to the cancer that threatens to take him from us. We will do everything we can to make Eddie happy and comfortable while fighting the cancer with an antigenic diet and heavy doses of curcumin.

Wish us luck.  

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