Who knew that labs grew so much so fast! It wasn't long before this 15 lb. puppy became a 50 lb. dog. He was the clumsiest pup I had ever seen. He continued to grow at a rapid pace and it wasn't long before he looked more like a brown bear than a chocolate lab. He was Kyle's shadow. It didn't matter who was around, if Kyle was there, you could forget it - Woody was stuck to him like glue. He obeyed Kyle and was a damn good dog.
After Kyle and I started having 2 legged babies, our 4 legged babies got pushed to the back burner - as most animals do when babies arrive. We lived in an apt. and there was no way to have 2 dogs and a brand new baby in a 2 bdrm. apt so Woody went to live with Kyle's brother so he could have his space. We finally found a house with a yard and Woody couldn't have been happier to be back with us. The next 2 moves were to places where Woody wouldn't fit in, so when we moved this last time, Kyle made it known that Woody was coming to. I agreed, although worried about not having a fenced in yard. We've lived in our current house for over a year and there hasn't been the first time that Woody even got remotely close to the road. He's just that smart. Woody sits patiently every day waiting for Kyle to pull up. I swear this dog has the best hearing. He can hear Kyle's truck from over a mile away. You'll know when he hears him because he sits on his hind legs at full attention and has this look in his eyes that is hilarious. He gets so excited when Kyle gets home.
I can remember Kyle taking Woody for rides in the truck. It didn't matter how many times Kyle went in a store, Woody would always sit patiently and wait for Kyle to come back out. He never tried to jump out and he never went crazy when Kyle left his sight. (Annie on the other hand - well, she's a completely different story!) I remember Woody LOVING to ride in the boat. He loved it! One trip in particular stands out to me - We were taking Erik for his first boat ride, which also happened to be July 4. We went to Lake Secession and watched the fireworks. Kyle decided to take Woody. I thought it was a bad idea, but in the truck he went. We got to the lake and Woody enjoyed every minute. He laid at our feet and didn't bother us the first time. The fireworks were going off like crazy and were quite loud, but Woody could've cared less. He was just happy to be on the lake with his Daddy.
On to present day. Woody has been sick for a while. We initially thought that he was severely overweight, but after cutting back on his feedings and the amount of food he got, we noticed that his belly was still huge. We noticed weight coming off, but his belly never seemed to shrink. He started having a really hard time getting around and had began hacking and having a hard time breathing. We knew that we needed to get him to the vet, but because we knew it would be expensive, we pushed that to the back burner and just played a waiting game. Over the last 3 weeks, Woody has moved around less and less. He got to where he wouldn't even bat an eye when Kyle got home. He just remained under the bushes at the porch when anybody came over.
The last week has been especially rough on Woody. We've been having some pretty rough storms and since Woody isn't the bravest dog of the bunch, he'd always take off for the garage at the slightest sound of a storm coming thru. I knew Monday night when he was no where to be found during a pretty brutal storm that he was nearing his last days with us. I had talked to Kyle about taking him on to the vet regardless of how much it costs just to see what our options were. He didn't have time to make the appointment. Last night as I was outside with the girls, Woody came walking up and just looked awful. His eyes were sunken in, his breathing had gotten worse and the skin on his back and neck was just hanging. I couldn't tell that he hadn't eaten in days. The girls noticed flies were swarming around him and when I went to inspect, I found that he had pooped all over himself. I knew in that instant that he wouldn't be with us much longer. I gave him some love and just rubbed his head until he decided he had enough and went to lay in the garage where the cool cement floor would cool him off.
I continued to check on him the whole time we were outside and when Kyle got home, I told him that Woody wasn't doing good. He went in the garage to check on him and Woody wouldn't even raise his head up. Kyle immediately broke out in tears. My mom and nephews came over and they told Woody goodbye. The girls kept wanting to check on Woody as well and Kaitlyn kept telling me that she loved Woody and wanted to know why Bubba needed Woody in heaven. Total heartbreaker! Another storm came up and just before I went inside, I went over to check on Woody again - his breathing had slowed down, but I assumed it was because it had cooled off since the weather had cooled down. I patted him one last time and then went inside.
As I was leaving for work this morning, I went in the garage to check on Woody - something I've done for the last 2 - 3 weeks. I noticed immediately that he wasn't breathing. The closer I got, the stronger the smell of death got. I reached down in hopes that my eyes and nose were deceiving me and patted Woody on his head. Sure enough, he had passed away. He was already starting to get stiff and the smell was awful. It was semi-dark in the garage and I couldn't tell if he had been foaming at the mouth or if he was bleeding, but there were some dark marks around his head. It broke my heart to walk back to my car and tell the girls that Woody was in heaven with Erik. They had a million questions, but it didn't really sink in until I told them that Woody wouldn't be home when we got there this afternoon. Sienna instantly said "Bubba and Woody are having a fun time in heaven." That's when I lost it. My girls have experienced more death in their 3 short years than most adults do in a lifetime.
I called Kyle and told him about his first "son" and he said he would come home shortly and take him to be buried. I can't imagine how hard that must've been on him. I asked him if he needed me to come home and help, but he said no. I figured he would need some alone time.
I'm so thankful that Woody is no longer in pain, but it sure is gonna be weird without him at home. He was a good ole' dog and will be missed greatly.
RIP Wood-dog 7/17/03 - 6/23/11