This week, we wrap our (virtual) arms around our dear volunteers, Melissa and Brian, as they had to say goodbye to foster boy Sleigh. We know he’s having a great time up above, but he’s certainly left a void down here. Until we see you again, sweet Sleigh.

Melissa writes: Monday was the day we had known would come. Our sweet Sleigh had fought all he could against the lymphoma that was defeating him, but he was tired and beginning to struggle. I had promised him I would not let that happen, so we made his final journey to Dr. Larsen.

So many foster dogs have been with us over the past 10 years and each one never fails to teach or remind us of something, and he definitely left his mark!

Sleigh came to our house and made it clear he was a solitary guy. He didn’t want to be around our furries, or even us, so we let him have his privacy for a few days.

Then, we started spending more time with him in his room, just sitting and reading and talking to him. Eventually, he stopped moving away from us and began sitting next to us, eager to have a loving hand pet him.

Oh, I learned my lessons…. never get near his food bowl or anything else he wants or you would receive a not so gentle reminder to move away. He would then cringe in fear and duck his head like I was going to beat him. Instead, what I did the first time it happened was burst into tears for this boy and tell him how sorry I was that he felt fear. It made me so mad that someone had made him feel this way, and it became our goal that no one ever would again.

We respected his bowl and his space and gave him love and acceptance. In return, he trusted us and began his process of moving out into the bedroom and finally, the rest of the house. He did everything at his own pace.

We loved and spoiled this baby as much as possible and loved watching him become a “pet,” not just a possession. He loved to put his head against mine and get kisses on his nose!

When his disease progressed and it was difficult to swallow, he even allowed me to hand feed him out of his bowl. I felt like I had won the lottery! He truly loved and trusted me! What an amazing feeling it was. This sweet guy had my heart for sure!

When I had to begin working from home due to COVID-19, he started following me around, and wherever I was, he was right behind me. I loved having a new bestie! He knew to sit in the kitchen for dinner at 5 p.m. and he was so patient with all the crazy dogs that live here. He was a joy to foster and to love. I could go on and on about his adventures and achievements.

It was such a privilege to have fostered this angel and hopefully make his final months ones of love and happiness. With Dr. Larsen and Heather’s help, he passed peacefully on to the Bridge. You could almost feel his relief and joy. He was whole and happy again. His journey was complete.

We loved you so much, sweet Sleigh! You will be remembered and missed until we see you again one day.

A special thanks to Dr. Larsen for always being there for my Sleigh emergencies, and there were several! You are a godsend and I love you! Here are my favorite pics of this big guy. Love you, Sleigh!

A week or so ago, my friend Rudolph (Rudy) went to rescue and left me behind. And if you can see from the look on my “resting b….. face,” I was not too happy about that at all. Thankfully, the SPCA folks decided I should come to rescue, too. Before the SPCA, Rudy and I were living in a place that the SPCA folks said was not suitable for us, so they took us and a lot of other dogs to help us all find better lives.

Here‘s what you need to know about me: I have heartworms, my teeth are pretty disgusting, my ears are infected and my feet are killing me. So, now you can understand my facial expression.

For the last few days, I have been checking out Dr. Larsen’s vet clinic and I keep hearing them say, “I am a challenge!” Not sure what that means, other than the picking, poking, prodding, looking and touching has put me in the worst mood.

Today, a fella said, “Santa is not coming to see you this year, Sleigh, because of your bad attitude!” I responded, “That’s hogwash… The ladies at the clinic love me. They told me Santa stops here and he’s going to love me!”

I am 7 years old, and I have been around the block a time or two. Some great times and some bad times, I have had them all. The doc is working on my stubborn streak, and she says they just need to give me time. Time and love, that’s about all I need. Now, I must work on my facial expressions. But, hey, this is the face God gave me.

12/22/19 Update:  I am enjoying my time here. I’m about 7 years old and didn’t come into rescue in very good shape. I was facing the usual problems of a neglected Bulldog: infected ears, bad eyes and heartworms.

I also had a cut on my foot. That’s why everyone thought I was walking so slow. But no. I’m just a guy who has one gear. The gear is slow. I like it and I stay in it. I see the other dogs running everywhere, but I don’t understand the reason for the hurry.

I’m a big, quiet, easy going dude. Don’t go by my expression on my face. I just don’t feel very good right now. I’ll feel better as soon as those heartworms are gone and my foot heals. I’m an older guy, but I’ve got a lot of love to give someone.

Christmas pictures were fun. Well, except the hat. I was hoping it would fall off. It didn’t, so I made the best of it.

The best time was afterward. They let me lay in the sun and have treats while they packed up for the day. I like the sun… it’s been a long time since I had seen the sun. Now in rescue, I get to come outside and see it two or three times a day.

I hope my forever family has somewhere I can lay in the sun. That would make me so happy!

Well folks, writing makes me sleepy, so it’s about time for a nap. I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas!

1/2/20 Update:  Sleigh moved in with us on Monday and each day, he continues to become more comfortable in his new surroundings. He is currently hanging out in our master bath until he acclimates to our house and the crazy furries within. He is about bored with the bathroom and ready to move on out, but Mabel and Aretha have ganged up and decided they are totally against that, so we are shuffling dogs around to keep everyone safe. Sleigh is a big boy, who is calm and easy going, but he won’t take any crap off of “the golden girls.”

We have progressed to him letting me do eye meds and clean goo off his ears from treatment. He loves kisses and petting. He does not love going outside, but each time he ventures a few inches more. In time, I hope he will be walking around the cul de sac and owning the block.

This sweet boy is very wary of his foster pops, for some reason. It makes me sad and I hope we can reverse this situation soon.

Dr. Larsen is still waiting on lab results on a growth that was taken off of Sleigh, but even if it benign, his lymph nodes remain very swollen, which is most likely indicative of an nasty interior issue – lymphoma, tumor in spleen, etc.

He is taking meds to help rid him of his nasty heartworms, as well as prednisone to help with gland swelling and pain meds.

He is slow and steady and watches us like a hawk. He has food and treat time down! He loves to eat and thankfully, his swollen lymph nodes don’t seem to be causing him any swallowing issues just yet. Bless his sweet heart. I love him to pieces and will do my best to keep him safe, happy and cherished until we can figure out just what exactly is going on with him.

Thanks to everyone involved in his joining rescue. He deserves to have a great life for whatever time he has left.

1/16/20 Update:  Sleigh seems to enjoy his foster home. For him, it is all slow and simple. He walks slow, moves slow and eats slow. He is still adjusting to our Bulldogs and so far, he just simply does not trust them. He walks with his head down most of the time and does not attempt to interact with them. The Golden Girls (foster girls Mabel and Aretha) will actually chase him, even though he is twice their size.

We let him go at his own pace. He spends some time out in the house with foster pops (on a leash), but usually wants to return to his “home” within a few minutes. Foster pops also has him walking outside for a little exercise, and he just goes along with it, but he is always happy to get back in the house. His greatest joy is eating and getting treats. He lights up for that.

He also like fresh bedding on his cot and will wait until you change it to get back on his bed. He pees while he is asleep and he does not want to lay in it. He is precious and sweet and asks for nothing more than to be safe, warm and fed. He doesn’t like toys for more than 1 minute, but loves the edible Nylabones! It’s all about eating for this guy!

This weekend, we will go for a ride in the car and get him a puppuccino or a yogurt. As long as there are no people or dogs around to make him wary, he will love it! This sweet boy is a work in progress, but each day, he gives us a new reason to smile. He has captured our hearts for sure.

His lymph nodes remain swollen, but we don’t really know how much pain he is experiencing. He does groan when he gets up and down (but so do we!). We will keep him comfortable and happy and stay in touch with Dr. Larsen.

2/20/20 Update:  Sleigh seems to love life in his foster home! He has his own room and bed, lots of blankets and bath mats to lounge on and towels in case he has to potty while we’re at work (and he is very particular about this).

He now has a gate in the doorway, instead of a closed door and is slowly but surely getting used to the other dogs being around him. When we let him out, he still ducks his head and runs for the front door and ignores them all and comes back in the same way. He also still has no interest in being outdoors, even if the sun is shining. He is the fastest pee’er and pooper I’ve ever seen!

He loves food, he loves treats and he loves being clean. He pees in his bed whenever he is asleep, so we make sure it is clean, he is clean and he has fresh blankets when he gets up. Housekeeping has their work cut out for them with this guy! LOL!

He doesn’t care about toys or playing either. He is a solitary dude who is content just to hang out in his room and order room service. Every night he gets a small portion of a people food: meat, cheese, bread, etc., and he gets so happy. He simply lives for food. It is his greatest pleasure. He also gets a doggie ice cream every night before bedtime.

I can now hear my phone ringing. It’s most likely Dr. Larsen telling me he is supposed to be on a diet! Oh well, he is for the most part. 🙂

We had a scare a few weeks ago. The lymph nodes in his neck swelled and his neck and chest area became full of fluid. He was so miserable and we thought his time was near, but I called Doc and she hooked him up with more prednisone and some Benadryl. Worked great! He is right back to seemingly feeling good and enjoying his time with us.

This precious, sweet boy still has so much to learn about being a dog, a pet and a cherished family member. I truly hope we can accomplish that before the Bridge calls.