My parents lost their dog in February. He passed over the rainbow bridge. I gave them this dog, a Scottie/Carin terrier mix that I named Buster. It's hard to believe he was ever this little. I remember bathing him in the bathroom sink.
I got Buster to be part of my family. A dog for D. to grow up with. We had a dog, but who could resist that face? This was when my husband traveled quite a bit for work. Left to my own devices, I got us a puppy.
I take the credit for house training him and leash training him. I also insisted on a "sit" on command and before any treats or dinner. This little guy was very food motivated.
He was also stubborn. His training did not come without some standoffs between me and him. I was insistent that he be obedient even without treats. He felt that I was breaking some inherent contract. "Reward with praise? Okay, that's nice," he said, "but where is my treat?" It was a contest of wills.
While Buster was still a puppy, albeit one with basic training, Dad had triple bypass surgery. He went to the doctor because he hadn't felt well. Long story short, they took him straight to the hospital for heart surgery BEFORE any heart attack occurred.
I didn't realize that heart patients suffer from depression after the event. From what I understand, it's hard to shake. [Here's a link to an AMA article about this.] Dad was no exception. He was hit hard.
We lived close enough to visit some weekends and we brought Buster up to visit too. Both Kathy and Dad fell in love.
We decided that Buster could be their dog. This was good for all of us. Buster really thrived with a stronger hand in training (Dad). He also was pampered and spoiled and loved on (Kathy) more than any dog I know.
Dad spent his days building hurdles for a homemade agility course in the backyard. Buster loved to run (when he was young) and jumping a hurdle was added fun for him. Every time we visited Dad and Buster had a new trick. When I visited, my Dad would say, "Speak to Buster", before he would let me do anything else.
It was fun to watch Buster work his magic on both parents. They went from "No Dog!" to "Not in the House" to "He sleeps in his kennel".
I supported the kennel thing. I had crate trained him and he was too young to be completely reliable out on his own. Slowly, Buster was allowed on the furniture! He got his own space on the couch with a blanket and stairs and everything!
I know my parents miss him. That's the hardest part about loving someone.