Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Furrari's Irresistible Biko

Biko
Oct. 22, 2001 - March 23, 2010

Biko's many faces

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!

56 comments:

2paw said...

That's such a lovely story of Biko's life. I can tell how much she was loved and how much she loved in return. I am so glad she has handed on her and Sam's legacy to Happy. It is also good to know that you did all you could for her. Harki's leg is sore today and so I feel like we're living on borrowed time more sharply. I had a few tears today.

Charlotte said...

I was only a recent reader of your blog, but I was immediately attracted to it because of the dogs, I love them so much too and yours were so beautiful.
I feel so sad for you, I hope in time your pain eases, you have wonderful photos to remember Biko.
Hugs from Australia,
Ingeborg

lexa said...

How sad, the poor dear thing! My heart is broken for you all. Take care.

Pugs and Kneedles said...

What a beautiful memorial to the lovely Biko. She was beautiful and extraordinary. Thank you so much for sharing her with all of us. She touched so many lives through your blog and she is missed by so many. Her memory lives on and I will forever think of her and smile when I see a white german shepherd.

Kimberly

aelva said...

das ist alles so traurig - es treibt einem scon beim lesen die tränen in die augen. wei müsst ihr euch da bloß fühlen? es tut mir so leid! liebe grüße, maria

CelticCastOn said...

ack I've got tears rolling down my cheeks. I can't imagine how hard it was to have her there and just sick to being gone just like that.
It is good Happy got to say goodbye though he would have been looking for her all the time if she just didn't come home.
*hugs* to you all!

freyalyn said...

A lovely and thoughtful post to remember her.

Jane said...

A beautiful, beautiful friend. Thank you for telling her story.

Dave said...

I'm so sorry. She was loved, and loved in return. Hugs to you, David and Happy.

momsue84 said...

Lots of tears. Hard tears. Thank you so much for telling her story and for the pictures. She was so loved and so special. My heart is still broken for all of you. Milo and I will pause today, again, to remember Biko. Sam, too. Prayers for you all.

Ruth said...

It's so sad about Biko. Our pets become parts of our family and we love them more than we can ever say. It seems that she had a very good life, was well-loved and cared-for, and gave the family all her affection in return.

Marianne said...

Such a lovely, heart touching post. and yes, Biko and Sam and Happy... loved by many.

Sharon V said...

I grieve for you and David, and I know that you were Biko's best life family, that she lived well and happy.

Biko and Sam are in doggie heaven now, and she won't let him eat until she's taken (at least) the first bite. She can go back to being princess (or was it queen?) again.

I send you my heartfelt sympathy.

notablyindigo said...

I've only recently started reading your blog, but even in that short time I've loved reading about your dogs. I have a dog, too, and I can't imagine what my life would be like without him. I think you're dealing with Biko's loss the best way that anyone can by remembering her life with joy and appreciation and hoping that, wherever she is, she's in a happy place. Grieving for a pet is hard, and I wish you the best of luck. If these comments are any evidence, you have a lot of people thinking about you.

Take care. :]

shannon said...

Monika, you have allowed us into your life and have shared your beautiful companions with us. For that, we are thankful. Our hearts break for you and your entire family as you navigate this sad road.

with tears falling down my cheeks, much love friend...

Michelle said...

Biko was so loved and she obviously knew it. I hope that you and David and Happy know that we're all grieving with you over such an enormous loss in your lives.

Renata S. P. said...

Biko was such an incredible dog!
I'm gonna miss her a lot... my heart is broken.
I hope she find Sam now...
Love,
Renata.

TracyKM said...

What a beautiful tribute.
We lost our golden retriever unexpectedly on Christmas Eve, after a brief illness (don't know what exactly). He was my husband's first ever dog. It's not easy...I was bawling my eyes out the next few times I vaccuumed. Popcorn and other tidbits would stay on the floor for days until I could force myself to pick up. I even had to start scrubbing our pots and pans.
During all this I kept thinking it would be so much easier if we had another dog but we hadn't wanted two at once.
We have just found out that our dog's brother has become a father and are so excited to become doggy parents again, but we're still so sad about our first dog.
Dogs really do become part of the family; I hope you all find comfort with each other and Happy.

keila said...

I want you to know that you are a very special person! Well loved both
Biko, and I know it well. I follow your blog to more than 1 year and I
love with their dogs, I know how you feel ....
I'm from Brazil and I know very well how to lose a friend so faithful.
Be at peace and God bless ....
kisses
Keila

Connie said...

Dear Monika
A wonderful tribute to a wonderful companion. Take care of yourself.
Connie

keri said...

Oh this made me cry a little. What a wonderful story of Biko's life and I'm so blessed that you shared him with us - I always looked forward to seeing the photos on flickr of their puppy adventures.

runswithneedles said...

Oh, Biko, I will miss you but I'm glad you were such a good teacher for Happy.

Monika - hugs to you and your family. I wish we could get Happy and Sadie together for some playtime. She didn't say goodbye to Kishka and is still looking for her.

Paula said...

Thank you for sharing these memories and photos of the lovely Biko. I pray you are healing as you write and lean on your family, both human and canine.

Dreams of Yarn said...

I'm so so sorry, I felt so sad when I read that. My heart goes out to you.

Terri said...

I'm a new reader to your blog. I too was fighting tears as I read your tribute to Biko. She seemed like an awesome companion and I know she will be greatly missed. You gave her a long, love-filled life. I, too, think she's running free with Sam over the bridge.

Shirley said...

I've never had a pet, and probably never will, but part of the reason I like your blog is reading about and seeing pictures of your dogs. So sorry for your loss.

Jill said...

I am so sorry about Biko. What a sweet pup...

Jewleigh said...

It's ironic how dogs can give us the happiest memories and when they leave, they leave us in the greatest pain. I'm so sorry about Biko. Tears are still falling. I have been reading your blog for a while and I hope you can find comfort in all the beautiful memories of Biko you've shared with us. I know Happy will be there for you to keep you smiling.

My Deepest Sympathy,
Julie

Wanderingcatstudio said...

I'm so sorry Monika, She was a beautiful dog and as you can see from all your comments - much loved in the blogsphere.
Our thoughts are with you and your family

Susan said...

What a beautiful dog she was, both in spirit and in life. Don't you feel blessed that you were able to share in her time on earth?

Your experience is so much like I had with Harrison last May. It is hard when they die before you think it's time. It's tough to make the decision to euthanize a pet but at least you then you know the time has come. When they go suddenly, well, there's no time to prepare yourself.

Sending lots of love your way.

Kim D. said...

I have enjoyed all of your stories and photos of Sam and BIKO! I cry as I type, I am so sorry for your loss, it is not easy when your heart brakes. I do hope Happy does alright without his Biko. Big hugs to you and your family. Kim D.

tinebeest said...

What a lovely photo tribute to Biko, and your words full of love for this lovely creature. I'll miss the posts and pictures of Biko, she was certainly very loved by this reader!

Donyale said...

You know I have Sam and Biko to be thankful to, for bringing me to your blog a couple of years ago. I was, and am, still entranced by your lovely crisp white friends, frolicing in the snow.

I thought of you again this morning - the first thing I did when I turned the computer on was to check your blog to find out how you were going.


Thanks for the lovely story about Biko and sharing it with us.

RC said...

I'm floored. So so sorry. Sending lots of furry love and hugs from our pack to yours.

BeatrixB said...

thank your for telling the wonderful story of Biko, though I never knew her, I will miss her!

sgeddes said...

What a beautiful tribute! It is very sad, but I got a big smile when I saw the pictures of her and Sam together. I know they are together and having a great time.

Jeanne said...

Such a sad and beautiful post - thank you for sharing her story - it made me cry, and I hope that the memories and pictures (and Happy) bring you and your family comfort.

Robin said...

This breaks my heart, too! I have so enjoyed Biko's pictures on your blog. Please take care and know you and Biko are in my thoughts.

SNOWBIRD said...

Oh poor Biko. Makes me so sad. I am sad for you and your family. I know how attached we all become to our pets. Please give Happy hugs and pats from me. I have loved reading about your white shepherds. They were and are so beautiful. I think God has a special place for our pets.

BlackCat said...

I have tears in my eyes reading your post. So sorry! What a lovely dog. I've been where you are with beloved pets and my heart goes out to you.
hugs--susan

Dandy said...

What a sweet story about Biko... read it at work and had tears in my eyes...I'm so sorry for your loss!

Mary said...

I am so sorry you lost her. I do know what it is like. {{{hugs}}}

Mrs. A said...

Oh Monika,

Thank you for sharing Biko's story. I'm so sorry that you've all lost her. I know what you mean when you say the house is empty without her.

SockPixie said...

I am so sorry about Biko. Take care.

Raven said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It is always hard to lose a close friend. Much love.

Lynne said...

Was crying while reading Biko's story, she was so loved.

Gloria Patre said...

Oh Monika I'm so so so so sorry! May her many photos and happy memories console you! My heart is with you...

Virginia said...

I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. Lots and lots of hugs to you and your family.

Brought tears to my eyes to hear about Biko...

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

Thank you for sharing more about Biko and your lives together. I loved seeing her puppy pictures too. I was fine until I read about David wanting to take her to the vet my himself. Can't stop crying now.

dillpickle said...

I'm so sorry to hear that. I've only just caught up with your sad news. xx

Dianna said...

I am so very sorry, Monika. We seem to share our beloved dogs' passings together.... my hugs and energy are being sent your way!

Susanne said...

Liebe Monika,
ich habe gerade erst gelesen, dass nun auch Biko von Euch gegangen ist. Es tut mir unsagbar leid. Der einzige Trost für Euch mag sein, dass Ihr so wunderbare Erinnerungen an die Zeit mit Biko habt. Die bleiben Euch für immer.
Ich bin sehr traurig und umarme Euch fest,
Susanne

illusions said...

Each time this happens a part of me dies, I have no words to express my feelings. I chanced upon your blog sometime in 2008 -2009 through Sam's going away and came to cherish you as a person as well as enjoy reading about Biko and Happy's escapades (not to mention the great surprise to find you to be such a wonderful knitter too).

I am so sorry this happened so soon all over again. My hear felt condolences for your loss. Biko like Sam is irreplaceable but yes as we say at least pain free and having fun with Sam up there. My heart goes out to you and David in your loss. The memories of sharing her fun and joy are with you forever and the love she showered in her not so long life is vast. Hope she is happy with her mate now. Love to Biko.

Bea said...

tja, was soll man da noch sagen?

Ich fühle mit Dir.

Bea

Carrie K said...

Oh Monika, I'm so sorry! I've just now caught up with you. Biko was such a good dog (even if Sam and Happy are my favorites) but she was always a love. I don't think it's ever easy, pets, parents, friends.

Isabel S./Lisboa-Portugal said...

I LOVE dogs! And use to come here to see the photos of Biko and Happy. But for several reasons it's been a while since the last time and I couldn't believe when I read about Biko, only now. I broke into tears.My heart is broken for you all.I have a beagle, he is 12 years and can't imagine my life without him! So, I can only imagine what you've been through. What a beautiful memorial and wonderful photos. Take care.
Hugs
Isabel S./Lisbon-Portugal