I have been thinking about what to write on next, and unfortunately I got an unexpected topic. We can at least be relieved it is not virus related.
We will go back circa 2009 when I tragically lost my first Corgi, Squeaky. He was chasing a bird and ended up on the road at a very unfortunate time. He was a great dog. He was extremely smart. He knew at least 12 words and could decipher between ball, bone, and rope. He did not have the classic Corgi look, and likely fell short of breed standard; however, he was just an awesome dog.
Being connected in the show cattle world, it was not long until a close friend gifted me another Corgi. They knew how much Squeaky meant to me and knew I didn’t have two nickels to rub together. I had graduated from undergrad 1 ½ years prior and was now in veterinary school, so everything I had was borrowed, used, or broken. Naturally, he was named Squishy. He was classic Corgi cute. He was tricolor, unlike the sables I had grown accustomed too. What Squeaky lacked in breed standard, Squishy made up for; however, they were also opposites on the intelligence scale. This more than made up for in his sweetness. Those who work in the animal care field know Corgis are known for two things – 1. Shedding forever and 2. Attitude (and not in that order). I was so lucky to have a Corgi with the temperament of a Golden Retriever, as they are incredibly rare.
Squishy was an stellar companion and study buddy through the first years of veterinary school. These are typically the worst years, and he was the best unofficial “therapy” dog I could have asked for. He was also useful as a conversation starter with the fairer sex. He landed me puppy play dates/study sessions and helped seal the deal with my unbelievable wife. I also remember a cold February night when my furnace when out. Man’s best friend got to sleep on the bed for the first time. He helped keep me warm that night, but it took several hours to get all the hair off my sweater, sweatpants, the three layers of blankets on my bed, pillows and everything else he touched.
As time went on, Squishy went through several life experiences. He got to visit the Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center on several occasions. Once when his neuter incision got infected (totally my fault) and second when he ate ½ a bag of cat food when the closet door was left open. It looked like he swallowed a basketball. I can still remember the radiologist walking down the hall and glancing at his x-rays. She just said, “Wow, that is a lot of food!” Of course, in Squishy fashion, no diarrhea or vomiting. He helped me propose to his new human mom, and promptly lost the ring in a pile of mulch and a desiccated cow patty. Looking back on it now… perfect! He got to travel to Maine on several occasions to visit his human in-laws. He got to move to a cattle farm which I assume is every Corgi’s dream. For a moment, he thought he may take up herding. His instincts were great! His stamina not so much – this might have been the longest few hours of his life. Finally, he got the chance to welcome some human sisters! Of course, he was great with them.
As Squishy aged, he also welcomed some unwanted friends. About 6 years ago, I noticed Squishy was losing weight. I was not initially concerned because I knew he was a little overweight. He also started to drink a lot and began having urinary accidents. On work up, I found he developed diabetes. Just like with everything else in his life, he took this with stride. He was quite possibly the easiest diabetic to manage. Such a great eater and quickly regulated. He lived with this for 5 years, and then on routine lab work, we noticed he was starting to develop renal disease. Again, he handled this as well as any dog I have known. I eventually started doing subcutaneous fluids on him several times a week. He would come and sit for the procedure and let poke him with no objection. I like to think he knew it was for his own good. I know for a fact we bought him a lot of time, with the fluids, renal/mobility food, treatment of allergies when the flared up, eye treatment when the cataracts got bad, urinary tract infection treatment when noted, management of bladder stones etc, etc, etc.
About a week ago, I had to say goodbye to my dear friend. He was having some issues eating and blood work showed a progression in his renal values. We were able to treat this for over a year, but it just got to be too much for him. Uremia must be awful, but he still kept his happy demeanor, thought we would not have held it against him if he didn’t. It became exceedingly difficult to manage his diabetes because of this lack of appetite. He had an unbelievably bad morning with cluster seizure activity. We decided, as a family, it was time. My heart is broken. Somethings in life cannot be replaced, but I am blessed to have know him and to have cared for him. I miss him dearly. He will remain on the farm he called home, now named after him legally “Squishy Acres”.