by Karey Wedemeyer
Karey Wedemeyer is a volunteer with the Fresno Bully Rescue. FBR will be sharing their animal rescue adventures with us now every other month.
My dog, Blue, died in July of this year. Anyone who has lost a pet understands how very difficult this is. The heartbreak is deep. Your house doesn’t sound the same. Paw-pitter-patter silence is almost unbearable. Toys, blankets, and food dishes are left in place because removing them doesn’t seem right. It’s been a tough time, yet there is also a side of me that feels content and grateful.
Three years ago, Blue was in a kill shelter, homeless and abandoned, with an empty bucket list, and not much hope in making one. His only known past was as a stray dog who was never claimed by his owner. The employees at Kings County Animal Control knew this senior dog deserved a better life and pleaded with Fresno Bully Rescue to find him a spot at the rescue.
When he arrived at Fresno Bully Rescue, he slowly sauntered onto the grounds. To say Blue was mellow is an understatement. Like many of the dogs in shelters, you find yourself amazed that this dog didn’t have a family out there missing him. Our best guess at his breed was a Bassett/Pit Bull mix, with big floppy ears, dreamy eyes, a beautiful grey coat, and a body held up by his short, stocky legs. Blue’s personality was as charming as it could be, and I couldn’t resist taking him home to be a part of our family.We had no problem making up for Blue’s lost time, and got started on his bucket list immediately. We started with a road trip! With Blue, his bulldog sister Khloe (who we had adopted from FBR a year earlier), kids, and husband we took off for Huntington Beach. We ate at a restaurant that had a doggy menu with full waitress service; we stayed at a beautiful, dog-friendly hotel, and spent hours at the beach swimming and lying in the sun. On the way home, Blue slept in the car so peacefully, I remember being convinced that I could see a smile on his face while he snoozed away.
It became very obvious that Blue loved people, but his specialty was little kids. He was so gentle and careful with his 80-pound body not to knock them over, or play too rough. FBR often attends schools, churches, clubs, and other organized groups to educate and advocate about the Pitbull breed, and to discuss pet overpopulation. I began taking Blue to these events. With Blue, it was easy to change the negative perception of the breed. The fact that he was once abandoned and in a kill shelter proved that dogs in shelters are not disposable. He made quite an impression on both kids and adults. My favorite memory is of him falling asleep next to a group of sixth graders, snoring and passing gas through my entire lecture! The kids were quite amused and we were asked back the following year! Blue loved “going to school” and had over 18 events to his credit before he passed.
You cannot have a bucket list without falling in love. Blue’s favorite girl was an old French Bulldog named Billie. We rescued her from a kill shelter after she was brought in as a stray dog. She had clearly been attacked by another dog and left to die. Billie’s wounds were severe. She was frail and had a hard time getting around. She needed a loving foster home in which to recover. Like any dog owner, I hesitated to have Billie in my home with two larger, stronger dogs, but she needed help so I decided to give it a try. Blue and Billie quickly became inseparable. They were an odd-looking couple and, as with kids, Blue was very gentle with her. When Billie finally healed and went to her new family, we made sure Blue and Billie continued to have play dates. His last visit was just a few weeks before he passed.
If I could speak for Blue, I believe his bucket list would also have included sleeping in a warm bed with a family, riding through the drive-thru for cheeseburgers, having an overflowing toy box, taking daily walks through the neighborhood, napping on the couch with his dad during Monday night football, car rides with his face and ears flapping in the wind, countless trips to the lake, and a busy social life of play dates with his neighborhood dog friends. Oh, and treats! Endless treats with a mom who could not resist his sweet eyes and his love for (healthy) snacks. I think the list would also include having a dog sitter who became so attached to him that she asked to have him sleep over when she didn’t want to be alone in her apartment; she felt safe with Blue tucked in next to her.
This is why, in the wake of Blue’s passing, I can feel joy for him. I am grateful we were able to fill his last years of life with so much fun and love. To know I was part of changing his world is one of my proudest accomplishments.
Thank you Blue, I can cross that one off my bucket list. I miss you dearly.
Please give a senior shelter dog a chance! There are so many beautiful older dogs in shelters waiting for a family to finish out their lives being loved and spoiled! To find out more go to www.fresnobullyrescue.org.
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Fresno Bully Rescue.