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Old dog, new tricks

Dakota gets his 3rd chance at age 9

A birthday

August10

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Dear Dakota,

We are having a birthday pawty today, and I’m sorry you aren’t here for the sardines. Evelyn is 5 today. I know you don’t care because your relationship with her was often ambivalent. I don’t blame you for that at all, sweet boy. She is the best worst dog we’ve ever lived with. We will give her the sardines today and remind her to think about you, but I can’t make any promises that she will. The humans, however, think about you often. How could we not? If you have celebrations where you are, go party hard for the worst roommate ever and have fun. You deserve that and so much more.

-Your Woman

005


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by posted under Uncategorized | 3 Comments »    
3 Comments to

“A birthday”

  1. August 10th, 2013 at 3:07 pm      Reply Karma Says:

    Happy Birthday Evelyn and always in everyone’s thoughts dear Dakota.


  2. August 10th, 2013 at 8:58 pm      Reply Michelle Says:

    Dakota, You know we think of you often here. Your mom has a been a great support system to us. Thank you for bringing her to us and we are sorry you arent here to help celebrate Evelyns birthday.

    Happy Birthday Evelyn
    Michelle & Sassy


  3. August 10th, 2013 at 9:49 pm      Reply benny55 Says:

    But Evelyny, you look so sweet and innocent! I had to go back and look at some of your mom’s posts just to see if it’s true that you are ‘THE WORST ROOMMATE EVER”!

    Yeah, it’s pretty clear—you are!!
    I know Dakota is a Saint now, but he was one then too! I love looking back at some of his pictures…..so gentle…so full of grace…so handsome…so wise looking too.

    And your pictures……..were you a clown in a previous life? You sure are ow…and I mean that in a very complimentary way!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVELYN! You have brought a whole lot of joy to your momma! Make sure you give your mom a great big sloppy kiss…after you eat your sardines!

    Dakota Dawg, thank you for continuing to touch lives through your momma. Your presence is always felt with every post she writes. Youhave provided her with incredible wisdom that helps us all every single day. Now, that’s a dog whose life continues to have meaning!
    You are a hero to all of us Did you poot after eating sardines and blame it on Evelyn? I think youknew exactly what to dotoget Evelynin trouble sometimes! Kinda’ like taking candy from a baby, huh?

    Okay Evelyn, let’s get back to your party!! I REALLY, REALLY ope your mom posts some more pics i tne forum! You are soooooo cute!
    Enjoy your day Evelyn! You deserve it!

    Love to all,

    Sally and Happh Hannan


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What came before

Dakota is our Golden Retriever mix, and he was likely born in February 2002. His full name is South Dakota Watson, and we found him on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in August 2002. The area we discovered him had no homes, no structures, no bodies of water, no shelter. He had his permanent teeth but was still a puppy, so we assumed 6 months was a reasonable age guesstimate. He weighed 12 pounds, which was grossly underweight. Two weeks later, he weighed 23 pounds. He was too weak to eat much so we fed him 6 times a day. Sometimes he would just collapse at his food dish and fall down, and I would have to feed him by hand.

I wish Dakota could write this page because he is the only one who knows the beginning. From his birth until the day we found him, we have no idea what he endured. Well, that’s not entirely true. We know some of it, and other bits we can infer from his behavior. For instance, we know for a fact that Dakota was suffering from malnutrition, sarcoptic mange, assorted internal parasites, flea anemia, dehydration and dental enamel hypoplasia (pitting and staining of the teeth commonly resulting from distemper as a puppy before the teeth emerge). We can infer that Dakota had distemper from the hypoplasia. We can infer that he was deliberately dumped. And we can infer that a man in a baseball cap wearing sunglasses hit him with some kind of stick and chased him off with a hose. Dakota has problems with all of those things.

Dakota has every reason in the world to hate people, but he doesn’t. He’s very mistrustful of strangers, but he is beyond loyal to his family. Once he meets someone and gets the ok from us, he opens his heart to them, too. He is very attached to me, probably because he was isolated (due to the mange) for the first 11 weeks we had him. He had nice digs set up for him in our house, but he could only look at our other 2 dogs and not touch them. I was the one providing all his care during that time, as we found out the hard way that mange can be transfered to humans. To protect our young son, no one but me played with Dakota during those 11 weeks.

Because we feel pretty sure that Dakota survived distemper, and he survived being abandoned, surviving cancer should be no biggie for him.

We know Dakota’s cancer is not an osteosarcoma, and his chest films were clear, one month apart. We are very optimistic about his long-term prognosis in light of those facts. Hopefully we have several more years with him and he will grow old with us, just as he should.

Right after we got home with Dakota, all 12 pounds of him.

Eyes swollen shut, ragged ears, and just as calm as could be.