Back in November 2008, Amy, a friend, and I went up to meet our next dog. I had him all picked out. An excellent runner right off the track, and half brother to our late greyhound Triscuit.
When they first pulled him out of the kennel – yes pulled – they told us he was just nervous. He literally would not move. Trying to pull a large dog – all muscle at 80lbs was challenging but I was determined to show this dog that I could handle him. Amy thought I was getting a dog too soon after his sister died, but I just had to have him. Since we had fostered a dog as well as had another one – the organization we work with allowed us to foster him which really meant we got to take him home sooner than later. Evan was not even two so we also needed to make sure our new dog was kid friendly. We were told to muzzle Colby for the initial month until he got used to everything and everyone. After week 1, it was off, as Amy and I knew he would never hurt anyone. He was so easy going and just loved anyone and everyone. It turned out he was extremely stubborn, but I always say – no one will ever beat me at the stubborn game. His stubbornness was a challenge – but we got a trainer to help us win the battle!
The first few weeks were trying though because he had never walked on a leash, dealt with stairs, or understood the concept of windows. I remember thinking “oh my gosh, he is going to go right through the window!” – as he would run into them not knowing they were even there as he saw another dog outside.
Colby was the non-dog lover’s dog. Even though he was big, he never jumped, rarely barked (maybe 5 times in total that I can think of), and would love it if you pet him and rubbed his ears, but would leave you alone if you only wanted to say hi. He got all sorts attention by all. People always commented on how beautiful he was. Regardless of his 20 hours of sleeping – he always kept his amazing muscular physique. All he needed in life was food, water, some of your food, and a nice walk. For a long time – I would take him on a three mile walk each morning to ensure we both got out of the house and exercised. Nothing made him more happy…except perhaps when we all got home each day from being out.
Sure – he knocked over all of us at one point in time when coming home because he was so excited to see you – but as quickly as he got excited, he would also quickly find his way back to his bed. The kids would walk up to him, grab onto him, run their walkers into him and he would simply move away. He was insanely great with three kids and I loved him so much for that.
Colby also loved the couch but we moved into our current place he no longer needed the couch – instead he got his own carpeted room with a bed in one corner and a pile of blankets to nest in in the other.
Colby also loved his big fenced yard. He would lap around it and then stop to chew on some wild chives that we have growing until we would yell at him to come in. He loved to sunbathe in the summer and was even known to spend some time in our garden from time to time. I could always get him to run but never got him to fetch or even play with toys.
Working at home – he and I spent a lot of time together. Any time I would get up and walk around, he would come see what I was doing. If I was stuck on something I would go find him and pet him to break up the day. When I got my lunch, he would join me in the kitchen as he knew I would always give him some of my cheese and crackers. I always felt comfort hearing his nails click/click on our floors. Even though he would never stop an attacker – or even get up to see who it was – he always made me feel safer having him in the house with me.
This picture was taken a few days ago. Even though he limped while walking – he never winced when running.
A few weeks ago he came in from the back yard limping and barely moved the next day. Amy wanted to take him to the vet – but I had a feeling it was going to be like it was almost seven years ago. He was limping, but when he laid down he did not pant or look like he was in pain. He ate, he drank, he would even run back in the house after being out! Finally – two days ago Amy convinced me that he was not getting any better and that we should take him to the vet. She got me to take him on a walk – something she knew he loved – and something she knew would tell us if he was in pain. I decided to take him around the block but within the first few houses I knew it was not good. We had to turn around because he was in pain and finally knew we needed to take him to the vet. Amy made the appointment and told me she would take him and the kids the next day (last night) since I had a meeting. I knew it would not go well and so I told her I would miss my meeting and we would all go. We got him into the car (barely – he was having a hard time standing) and within the first mile – Amy pulled over and I got in the back and held him so he could lay down/brace himself against me.
Amy lifted him out of the car and helped him into the vet’s office. As soon as the doctor saw us she asked us if we ever had a greyhound before because she also knew the likelihood of the situation. She gave him heavy duty pain medication and took him back for X-rays. Since all 3 kids were there, Amy went back initially to look at the results and within a few moments I got called back to look at them too. I knew it was not going to be good, but it was a lot worse than we thought. It was bad bone cancer and his front leg looked like as she described it “swiss cheese”. She said it was so bad that it just fracture if he fell or even walked the wrong way. Treatment was not an option as even aggressive chemo and an amputation would result in maybe a few more months for our boy. We did not want him in pain – and so we knew what we needed to do.
We called in the kids and had the vet bring Colby in to say our goodbyes. We all cried and said what we loved most about him, then the boys decided they did not want to be in there when he died, so Amy took them out of the room and Cora and I were with him until the end (about 630PM). I held him and told him how much I loved him as he took his last breath.
That was a picture I took of him earlier in the day before he died. He had the best ears. He will be forever missed and will always be remembered as our perfect dog.