Oct. 22, 2001 - March 23, 2010
Biko was our first dog here in Canada. My son David worked on a horse farm for a couple of years, during his weekends, and during summer time. They had three dogs there, one German Shepherd, her daughter a Shepherd mix, and a Lab mix. He got to know and love them, and wanted a dog of his own. So we started researching German Shepherd breeder and Labrador breeder. We looked at a GS puppy, male, but it came from a guard dog breeder, and we wanted a female. We found a breeder for White Shepherds, and waited a few month for a litter to be born. The litter had 11 puppies, and one of them was our Biko. She got her name, because all the farm dogs names started with "B".
We brought her home in December 2001. People thought she was a Christmas puppy, but we had waited a long time before we could bring her home, and during that time I read many books on how to raise a puppy.
She was such a joy, that soon we realized that we wanted another one, this one for ME, since she was very much my sons dog. Sure, I fed her, I gave her medicine (later on), I played with her, but she always saw me as her servant. She was very smart, and I'm sorry we didn't do more with her. She had potential, but we were only looking for a companion dog.
She helped us raise Sam, and later Happy. Especially Happy learned a lot from her, and he adored his "Aunt Biko". He always wanted to be with her, snuggle with her, but she would have none of this for a long time, until one day, when he was about 4 month old, she started to interact with him more, not leave the room, as soon as he entered it. For a while she started to get playful again, like a puppy herself, even chewing bones, which she never did before, at least not those. She played catch with him, and he would not pee or poop without her! He would hold it in until she got up and joined us outside. Now he has to get used to being alone, doing his own business. I hope she taught him everything she knew, he always looked to her to see how she reacted. She was our alarm system, which made him run to hide, whenever she barked, even now, that he's almost 10 month old.
Biko enjoyed her tennis ball games, and chasing after them, endless it seemed sometimes, playing in the snow, swimming in the pool as soon as we opened it in April to closing at the beginning of October (who is going to teach Happy to swim now? and that swimming is fun?), going for walks, and lately going to the dog park. She would do things for you, if you'd play with her, but not for food. She couldn't care less about food. "Car ride" was a magic word for her, wherever in the house she was, as soon as she heard us call "car ride" she came running and was out and in the car in one swoosh.
When I think back, she too was never a total healthy puppy. When she was about 4 month old, she had some kind of seizure, and after that she was incontinent, and needed some medicine for that. She was spayed at 6 month, so we never figured out, what that exactly was. She had a sensitive stomach, and later she had to have back surgery, from which she recovered wonderfully. She was able to run and jump again, which was surprising to us, but also made us very happy.
When Sam died, she missed him very much, and was depressed for a while. The both of us grew a little closer, because I gave her all my attention, which she very much enjoyed. Then we brought home Happy, and as I said, at first she surely was mad at us for bringing home this little monster, but grew to love him too.
During the last few month we noticed that she was not her usual self. Checkups with the Vet didn't show that anything was wrong with her, but we saw something.
So last Saturday we went for a short hike, as I've mentioned before. She did well, but was tired afterwards. Sunday she got worse, so we made an appointment with the Vet on Monday afternoon. He saw that she was not well, did take blood, and did a check up again. She was bloated, had had diarrhea, and had vomited once over the weekend. She hadn't eaten all day Sunday, but she took some food he offered her there in the office. He suspected Addison's disease, but we had to wait for the blood results which we should have gotten on Tuesday.
Monday evening she vomited again, and was very weak, and had ice cold paws, cold ears, and was moaning a lot, breathing hard. When I massaged her head, and belly, she relaxed and slept for a while. During the night she vomited again, it was aweful, poor baby. We took turns petting her, massaging her, and she always relaxed while we did that, but it still got worse. We decided to pack her up and get her to the Vet's as soon as the first person showed up there, when she suddenly died at 6:45AM Tuesday morning. It's aweful to have to make a decision to put your beloved pet down, but let me tell you, it's not easier, when it comes suddenly. Until then I still thought the right medicine could help her. We were dazed, just sat there for the longest time. We've put Happy in his crate earlier to be out of the way. After a while we let him out, and he sniffed the air, and slowly went upstairs to where Biko was. He sniffed her, his tail wagging hesitantly, when he came to her head, he liked her muzzle, and her ears. Then he looked at us, tail in slow motion, before he quietly left the room. I'm glad he could say goodbye to her, I hope he'll be less confused.
We sat quietly with her, don't know for how long, until David said, he'd like to bring her to the Vet's by himself (which broke my heart). He's very strong, he wrapped her in his blanket, and carried her outside. I just opened the doors for him.
So now the house feels empty. In every room there are things of her, be it a dog pillow, the food bowl, her tennis balls, a blanket, the leash, her hair etc. When Sam died David packed everything up and away so quickly, but I know he does not want me to do the same for him, so I'll let him do it at his own pace. We have hundreds of photos of her, and as many memories. It hurts to have lost her, but I like to think that she's with Sam now, both pain free, and having fun.
BTW - the Vet says she died of heart failure. He thinks (because of the results of the blood test, and whatnot), she had a tumor on her spleen, which had spread. He said we could not have done anything for her. We did not want to let him do a post mortem. Wouldn't make any difference to us.
We thank all of you for your kind words, which brought tears to our eyes again, and again, but it's nice to know that Biko was loved not just by us. Thank you!