What a crazy, sweet boy and a wonderful Therapy dog. We will miss him so much. Archie was a character! He wasn’t an easy dog(Walker Coonhound) but he was easy to love! I had never owned a Hound before I met Archie 7 years ago. He looked like a giant, overweight beagle but there was something about the way he was just sitting back in the back of the cage at the shelter with that look on his face as if to say I am not going to get up and come and see you because no one likes me anyway. I thought wow, have to give this boy a chance(he was quiet too and all the others were barking). I had gone there because my older lab cross was broken hearted and sat at the end of the driveway waiting with my other dog’s bone in front of her for two weeks. (read my article on do dogs have emotions) So she needed a playmate.
On the way to the car the shelter worker said don’t be fooled by this calm demeanor, he is a wild boy! Sure enough he was, he was pushy(and big 95 lbs) knocking everything and everyone in sight down. He liked to run and the very first day he got away from me and I had to go chase him in the car. He also jumped right up on the table completely and tried to steal our food. The first storm we had I thought he would go through the window.
Oh my I thought, is this dog too much for me? But I looked at him and thought he is the sweetest ever he just needs someone like me to teach him. You see Archie lived in Louisiana(he clearly wasn’t treated very nice there) and had tested positive for Erlichea and Heartworm(which funny thing the rescue organization said he didn’t). Archie lived through Hurricane Katrina and somehow managed to survive. He was alone for a year after that and had to fight other dogs etc. am sure for his meager food. He ended up with no teeth(only his fangs) because often all they had was wood to chew on. He had a fracture in his chest and testicles were knocked inside.
This boy had so many things wrong physically and emotionally could I handle it? You betcha! We set out doing behaviour modification to help him cope with his fear of storms, obedience was next, teaching him some much needed manners(we like our food and he wasn’t having it). Next was exercise and lots of it (hounds can run for six hours straight and never tire so not the dog for everyone especially city dwellers) We got his weight down, fixed his health problems and then I saw such love in this boys eyes it was incredible. He had lots of it to give so I decided to share that love. I had him Evaluated for work as a Therapy dog and he loved it(although I had a hard time keeping Mr. Food motivated boy from licking the floors at the seniors facilities we visited). He made so many friends and loved being hugged by all!
When the grandkids came along I thought oh boy, he will knock them over, he is such a clumsy fella, but nope, he just adored them and they were the only humans he ever kissed(real male dogs don’t kiss he told me once). He was always gentle around them and our cats, careful not to step on them.
We found out that Archie sadly had heart disease this summer and would not require medication but a watchful eye. My vet and I were both stunned to see on the X-Rays that he was full of buckshot in his back. Clearly someone shot him in the back in Louisiana as well. Boy talk about cat’s having nine lives…this boy had 12 as a dog! We thought we would have so much more time with him….he seemed fine that day no different, a walk breakfast and then supper. He then always walked himself into his crate at promptly 7 pm and went to sleep. This time he was restless didn’t lay down and kept going outside where he would just stand there. I began to think…(trained in Pet First Aid) something was terribly wrong and then he started to cough. I knew it was either bloat or his heart and then I felt his heart and knew.
When we got to the Emergency vet(Christmas Holidays) he told me what I already knew. We stayed with him, while he got his relaxing shot and until his final breath. It was the right thing to do, he brought us so much joy in our family, we couldn’t let him down because it was hard on us. This is the hardest part of owning a pet, letting them go. Farewell my friend until we meet again.
I apologize for not being a regular blogger but I knew I had to write this and it was too painful(I am crying now as I write this), it took awhile. RIP Archie! The Crazy Coonhound who hated our Canadian Winters but loved us to bits!