When Moose crossed over Rainbow Bridge this week, joining his DS friends and his sister Sydney, the bell rang ten times, because a true warrior had joined us.
Moose was born into a life without love. Little is known about Moose’s life before Momma Michelle adopted him. She and Papa Mike worked hard, with little Moose, who had that time was known as Sonic. Moose did not like people and was convinced all humans intended to hurt him. He learned not to lunge at, or try to bite, people. Moose was not vicious; he was just scared. If not for his parents Moose may have been deemed too dangerous to adopt and sent to the Bridge before he even learned how to live.
Learning not to be afraid and to trust humans was Moose’s first battle, and he emerged victoriously. He also mastered how to sit, roll over, lay down, dance, twirl, shake, high five, wave goodbye, and sleep. He became a regular Houdini.
On February 25, 2013, Moose encountered his greatest challenge. He was diagnosed with Autoimmune hemolytic anemia. His packed cell volume, which should have been between 37 and 55, dropped to 12. His parents elected not to put him through the trauma of a blood transfusion. It was a costly procedure, and his doctor said there was less than a fifty percent chance it would work. Moose’s parents took him home with instructions to keep him comfortable. He was fed every human food his parents could coax him into eating, something they had been vehemently against and gave him prednisone and doxycycline. His mucous membranes turned white which is a very bad sign. By that Sunday night, he was breathing hard, and his parents were prepared to send him to the Bridge.
Sunday night he ate three hamburgers without having to be hand fed. His gums were pink. His mom tried feeding him some of his siblings’ food, which he had no interest in for over a week, and Moose ate it then barked for more. Moose went to an appointment for the following Saturday to check his packed cell volume, and it had climbed to 29. The disease, commonly known as IMHA had been defeated, and, although he would carry it the rest of his life, it never reared its ugly head again.
Moose continued to live a healthy life until early 2017 when his beloved sister Sydney went to the Bridge. Toula became a member of the pack and Moose, and his brother Buddy took her under their paws so she would be a happy and content dog.
In May of that year, Moose’s mom discovered a growth on Moose’s back leg and had it removed. When it grew back, it was tested and was found to be cancerous. He battled this illness just as he had every obstacle in his life. For fifteen months he wrestled the disease to a draw, but with no cure, it was just a matter of time when the ultimate fighter would have to leave the ring.
This past week the growth on Moose’s leg opened up, and tests showed cancer had spread throughout his body. His mom told him he no longer needed to fight and she sent Moose to Sydney at the Bridge so he could be young and whole again.
Moose had stood at attention while the bell tolled. As the last peel echoed off the mountains, Moose broke into a run. Sydney joined him, and they ran together just as they had as pups. They ran through the rain left by the puddles of human tears above us. Moose was sworn in and given his detachable wings, and Sydney taught him how to run and fly. Their smiles lit up the sky.
Moose told me he had fought as long as he could, but he knows his loving parents are in good paws with Buddy and Toula. Moose stayed until Toula knew every single thing that makes his parents happy.
And now their parents will have two angels, Sidney and Moose, watching over them, ghosting them, and visiting them as winged creatures.
Moose has a new challenge: To make his parents realize he and Sydney are not gone, just somewhere their parents can’t access, and that he and Sydney visit their parents’ dreams, but their parents will only be able to remember the visits in their hearts. That is where all grieving parents need to look
The heart. That is where the love is.
It will be a hard task but if any dog is up for the contest, it is Moose.