Rz Bandit 7/28/03 - 6/22/12
I have been putting off this post, because I'm not sure my heart can do him justice yet. I begged and pleaded for a dog. I did a LOT of research, where I went from wanting a Papillon to falling in love with Greyhounds. Bandit was my birthday present in 2006. We went down to San Antonio to meet him, and I loved him right away. We brought him home a week later on March 3. I remember that drive home like it was yesterday. He was so shy and so ... broken. Clearly, he'd been hurt by men in his past, because anytime someone raised their voices or a man came too close too suddenly, he'd be terrified. In the first year, there were more than a few bites to the face when people got too close to him. Bandit and I, though, bonded right away. He was terrified of being alone in the house, and thanks to some greyt friends, we figured out he needed another dog there during the day. Literally the day Kimber came home (just a month or two later), he quit having accidents and chewing up the apartment. He just always wanted someone around to protect him. Kimber and I were his protectors.
He just loved to be loved. As soon as you started petting him, he'd lean on you with all 90+ pounds. His teeth would chatter, and you could see his face zone out into bliss.
Bandit was my heart dog, no doubt about it.
The longer he lived with us, the more comfortable he became in his skin. My Dad still always referred to him as Eeyore, "Thanks for noticin' me..." The irony of him loosing his tail is not lost on us! That brought on another transformation in Bandit. It was like his tail made him feel abnormally large, and out of place. When he had his tail docked (from an overzealous "happy tail" incident), he became a whole new dog! Suddenly he was running and playing, and he was so confident, and more comfortable in small spaces. I don't even know how to describe to you what a different dog he was after that.
A couple of weeks ago, I was working in the yard with Liv and Bandit and Kimber. I knew Kimber was next to me, rubbing her wet nose on my hand and whining. However, it took me a few minutes to realize she was trying to get my attention and that Bandit was gone. He has gotten out the gate and was no where to be found. In my state of shock, I let Kimber run off too. I'm standing in the yard calling both my dogs, when they came running around the corner and back home. Bandit had the dumbest, most happy-go-lucky face I'd ever seen on him. Looking back, I think he knew his time had come, and he was just a boy out for one last adventure.
In his last week, he went from healthy looking and muscular, to so thin he could have posed in a sad animal poster. The tops of his hip bones were sticking out of his skin. He looked like a skeleton. He was eating normally. In fact, he ate VERY well that week. My mother and Liv and I cooked up and gave him every treat imaginable. He was a happy dog. ;-) Wednesday night he collapsed jumping onto the back deck. I had to pick him up and help him get back inside. Thursday morning, he couldn't even stand. I stayed home with him that day, and I just kept telling myself, "He's been worse; He'll get better ..." I think I knew, though, because I called Chris to come over - telling him it was probably his last chance to see Bandit. Bandit had a lot of love, and a lot of treats, and a lot of attention that Thursday. All the things he loved. I gave him medicine to help make him more comfortable, because he was clearly in pain. By midnight that night, I had decided it was time to take him to the vet on Friday for him to be put to sleep. He had been sick for a long time from the tick disease (from his racing days), and the vet told me 2 years ago that she didn't recommend any more medical intervention. I agreed - his quality of life could only go downhill. I feel SO lucky to have had the last 2 years with him.
However, he didn't make it to the vet Friday. He was gone when I woke up Friday morning. From the digested blood in his stool, the rapid weight loss, and his litter mate history, we assume he had stomach cancer or something similar.
I'm glad he had a good last week. I'm glad I knew him. I'm glad he won't have to be afraid of anymore thunderstorms, and I'm glad his legs can't hurt him anymore.
But I miss my very furst baby. He changed my life, and will always have a special place in my heart.