What Your Dog Can Teach You
Happy Thursday. As some of you know..our family experienced a huge tragedy that we did not see coming last Tuesday. We had to put our baby Rico down. You have probably seen his pictures either on here or on my Instagram but he was our 6 year old French Bulldog. He was such a huge part of our family and he truly had the “Gosnell” spirit. He wasn’t like most dogs as he didn’t immediately like people and he had no interest in impressing you if he didn’t know you but when he did show you some affection, you knew you had made it in the world. Just ask some of our friends. lol. I got Rico from a breeder when he was a puppy and the funny thing is, I wasn’t there to get him but instead his sister. Well, once Rico laid his eyes on me, the chance of me getting his sister went out the window as he picked me and wouldn’t let anyone else get any of my attention.
If you aren’t familiar with the Frenchie breed they are probably one of the greatest dogs out there. They are absolutely hysterical, have huge personalities and their farts could knock someone unconscious. I will forever miss the snorting like a small pig all around my house. In many cases they are bred via artificial insemination and delivered via cesarean so as you can imagine, these are expensive little dogs. Along with having such an amazing breed of an animal they also come with a lot of health issues. Mine specifically. The very first day we brought him home, we had our first trip to the ER. I should have known that night it would be a long journey together but a journey well worth it.
Throughout all of the laughs and many wonderful memories he brought us, we sadly also shared too many vet visits to count. His medical chart was 37 pages. No lie. When he was 3 he had started to show signs of pain in his back and losing feeling in his back legs. That is when we learned via X-ray he had narrowing of the spine in four places. We were able to treat it with steroids and pain meds and let me tell you, this dog’s painkiller, muscle relaxer and anti anxiety med supply could have probably put some lonely housewives to shame. It was intense but it got him comfortable. Fast forward 1-2 years later and he was in pain again and lost function in his back legs except this time it was much worse. We took him to a neurologist where we learned he had degenerative disc disease and a slipped disc in his spine. After much discussion and $10k later, we knew he was worth it and we decided to move forward with surgery. Although nothing could correct the disc disease, he recovered beautifully and we went on to be our little Rico. This surgery was only one year ago.
Last Tuesday, September 4th…Rico woke up in the worst pain we had ever seen. He couldn’t move anything at all. He lost complete function of his bladder and his bowels and his eyes were glazed over as if he went into shock. We took him to his vet to load him up on meds to get him comfortable until he could see his neuro but nothing was working. Within a couple of hours he was declining so quickly we knew it was time. It was one of the worst and hardest days for our family but we knew we had no other choice. We were willing to pay for another surgery, do physical therapy, anything to save him but it just wasn’t an option.
I had never put a dog down before so I was really scared. I was scared it would haunt me seeing that but I knew it wasn’t about me, it was about him. He didn’t ask for all of these health problems he was given and nothing was going to keep me from being with him until the very end. Hearing is the last thing to go when a dog passes so the vet told us to keep talking until the end. When the vet stated he had passed it felt so unreal. Steve and I sobbed over him and couldn’t believe he was gone. I remember thinking how unfair it was he had to go through that. Even though he was the most loved dog ever and went in the most peaceful way possible, I still felt so bad he had to die. During the process of grieving I couldn’t help but continue to think about all of the dogs out there that die every single day all alone with no one crying for them. Rico knew he was loved….millions of dogs don’t.
Our home felt so empty like a huge chunk was missing and we struggled with accepting we couldn’t save our dogs life. As the week went on, for some reason I just could NOT get the image out of my head of so many dogs, just as equally deserving of the same love Rico received, dying all alone in a shelter with people who really don’t know them at all. Just one right after the other. This is when I decided, our next dog will be a rescue. We couldn’t save our dogs life so we wanted to save another’s. I am usually that person that thinks you should wait awhile before getting another dog as I didn’t want to disrespect Rico but something in my gut was telling my I needed to look into it and that it would help me heal. I knew it was going to be the only way I could feel okay about everything.
We are big believers in signs/divine intervention and one day last week Steve came home from work and said there was a big sign at the building next to his office for puppy adoptions that Saturday. When we arrived we saw a Cobb County Animal Control Truck which meant the dogs they had brought were from a shelter that euthanizes. All of the dogs were such sweet dogs. Some older, some large, some small, but we saw 2 puppies (not from the same litter) we fell in love with. They both had such different personalities and even played great together. We weren’t planning on getting 2 dogs that day but something just felt right so we got them both. We were so happy knowing we not only saved one life but two. The girl was found as a stray and the boy was turned in on the exact same day Rico was put down. We named them Bella and Bruno. We were even more excited when the officers told us they were only $40 each to adopt. $40 you guys! That included their spay /neuter, they were microchipped on site and were up to date on all of their puppy shots. That’s insane! We knew some people would think we were crazy for not only getting another dog so soon but for also getting two but we didn’t care. As a family, we knew Rico would be happy we did that and we knew it was the right thing to do.
Although Rico’s time with us was cut extremely short and he ended up being such a huge investment for us, we wouldn’t take any of it back and losing him showed us just how much love our family had to give. I will admit it guys, I was THAT person. The person who heard a few stories of bad experiences of adopting a dog from the shelter and never really listened to the good stories. If I wanted a new dog, I would troll the internet for a breeder of the specific dog I wanted or would go to a pet shop. Now I’m not dissing anyone who does do that because all dogs need love and a home and I have had amazing dogs that lived to be 16 years old from breeders, but I will never look at it the same way again. So far our new babies are doing great. We can tell they are happy and this may sound strange but they are grateful. It’s like they know they were saved. It has been very rewarding for us to experience this and we would like to think Rico would be proud of his family. Thank you to all of the doctors who helped our boy stay healthy as long as possible and a huge thank you to the Cobb County Animal Control for all you guys do to try and give these animals a good home they deserve. #adoptdontshop