Cody never rescued anyone from a well. He never ran to get dad because the barn was on fire. He never dug a snow cave to save son lost in the blizzard. Cody never jumped the bad guy just before he grabbed mom. He didn't fight the mountain lion to protect sister. But Cody was the best dog in the world. His momma was a beautiful Labrador and his father was a handsome fence jumping Golden Retriever. He looked more like his momma. She taught him the lessons of life including how to dig a hole in the hot summer to uncover cool ground to chill his belly.
He was the best dog in the world. He shared my life for 11 ½ years. Each and every day was a new adventure for Cody. He loved being out side,
and loved being inside with his people. He was a great big brother for little Sky. He taught her how to use the doggie door, play tug, fetch the ball and play bitie face. He was always willing to share with her.
Cody had many talents including the ability to clear a room with one fart.
When he was happy he didn't just wag his tail. His whole body joined in on the wag. He loved the simple pleasures of life.
Cody loved water. He would take a big drink of water holding onto the final mouth full and then he would see how far he could dribble it. Or he would walk over for a pet and dump it my lap. He loved to swim and could spend all day in the water. He had almost as much fun in his little wadding pool. Who know a dog could blow bubbles under water.
Tug is a fine game for puppies and people. After playing tug, Cody would carefully stash his tug rope in a super secret hiding place, usually in some bushes. I never could figure out who he was hiding them from. Sometimes he remembered where they were, other times we had to go on a treasure hunt to find a tug rope when we wanted to play.
Cody had a duck tug toy that he loved. Actually he had several as one wore out another magically appeared. He loved his duck and often hid it in the bushes, too.
He was a very healthy dog and really didn't have any health problems until his senior years. He tore his CCL when he was 10. After researching all the possible treatments I chose to do Conservative Management with Cody. Something inside of me said doing any of the bone cutting surgical fixes was the wrong thing for Cody. CM involves restricting activity to allow scar tissue to build up and harden. It will eventually support the knee. We also got Cody an orthopedic brace to support and protect the knee while he recovered. It allowed him to safely go on walks and when he got better, it allowed him to move faster sooner.
Cody accepted the restrictions of CM and didn't mind wearing his brace. He would stand in front of me waiting for his brace to be put on before going outside. He accepted he had to walk, after all , he was at the age where walking seemed like a fine idea. He welcomed me along those early morning and late night walks to take care of dog business. Cody happily shared the wonders of his world. I learned to be still and listen for the hawk on the wing or the owl in the tree. He taught me the simple joy of watching the first light of day creep across the sky. There was more he tried to teach, but my inferior nose couldn't smell well enough to decipher the trail of the critters that passed through the yard.
Being a senior dog, the process was slow. By 7 months restrictions were being lifted and we were working on rebuilding the muscles lost. By 9 months he was romping across the yard once more. He was allowed total freedom of his backyard. No one could see a trace of the injury in his gait. He romped and played with Sky. He still wanted me to go with him on the first potty walk of the day and the last one at night. I was happy to accompany him.
Almost a year after the torn CCL was diagnosed, in June of 2011 a lump appeared on the left side of his face. Early July we had the lump removed to be biopsied. He came home with a three incision.
The diagnoses was Extra Skeletal Osteosarcoma which is a malignant bone cancer. The extra skeletal part was a bit rare, but unfortunately bone cancer is not rare. Our vet consulted with the local specialist to see if there was there was anything that would help him. Basically we were told that the cancer had probably already metastasized and aggressive radiation therapy might add days to weeks to his life, but it would be very stressful and painful for him. Due to the location of the tumor there was not much to do but love him and use pain killers to keep him as pain free as possible.
It didn't take long for the tumor to come back. We continued to see the vet and maintain his pain medication and keep life as happy as we could for him. He romped in the back yard. Enjoyed napping under the trees. Sniffed the woods and did all the things he loved.
The tumor grew incredibly fast. The vet warned me at some point it would become too massive and do too much damage to the bones around his face. That happened on Saturday, December 17, 2011. He had been hanging out in the backyard when he came in I could tell he was hurting. He refused dinner. I could not get him to take his pain medication. I hoped if we could get the pain under control he would be OK for a bit longer. We took him to the emergency Vet where they gave him a shot of morphine and his other pain meds. We took him home. I spent the night beside him, holding him and loving him. Sunday morning I offered him his favorite food. Chicken. He tried to open his mouth to eat and cried out in pain. I knew then what I didn't want to accept the night before. The bone cancer had gone too far. It was time to release him from his pain.
We loaded him and Sky into the back of the FJ and headed back to the emergency vet. Al called them before we left so they knew we were coming and what we needed. I rode in the back holding on to Cody. Telling him how much I loved him and how the pain was soon going to be gone. The clinic had a room set aside for this painful process. It had a comfy couch. Low lighting and pictures of others that had crossed over to the Rainbow Bridge. Cody immediately climbed up on the couch. The tech soon came in to do the paper work and to take him back to put the catheter in his vein. He came back and we loved on him until the Vet came in. She was kind, gentle and understanding. It was soon over. The Vet then left the room to allow us the time we needed. Sky watched everything from a safe place behind Al. Once the vet left she quietly walked forward and gentle sniffed Cody. I wonder what she was thinking. How did it all seem to her.
Cody was the best dog in the world. I miss him very much.