Spoo Bear lived in a rural location with large lawn, trees and a long driveway from the road. My cousin went around to the back of her home at which time 4 black 8 week old Standard Poodles came bounding from behind the house. Each came to greet and then proceeded to enjoying new found freedom. All stayed in the vicinity, however, only 1 kept coming back to me (Ralph). When obtaining a new pup, I prefer to let him choose me. The road trip to the cousin was about 100 miles and it was then Me time. My wife went inside a café and ate and I remained outside with Spoo. I could not let him experience the feeling of abandonment while I left him in the car to go eat. We walked the parking lot, watched patrons come & go and began the bonding process. I held Spoo in my lap for the next 100 miles. At 8 weeks old, Spoo had never been fully groomed or clipped. I am the only one who has ever groomed him-a great bonding process.
Our Spoo is very protective of us, whenever one of us leaves the room, he has to go and seek where the other went. Even when he is not feeling terrific, he still has to find us in the house for his peace of min. This is such a wonderful feeling knowing that he loves us so very much that he has to know where we are inside the house.
Spoo is a high energy boy. When I arrive home each evening, Spoo greets me with one of his favorite toys in his mouth. After I take the toy and he is ready to go outside where he runs around the yard.2 or 3 times before encouraging me to chase him and then him chasing me. After dinner while sitting on the couch, Spoo jumps on the couch turns and attempts to sit in my lap. He slides off and onto the coach cushion with his body across my crossed legs. His head on my knee, I stroke his head and neck. This lasts for 15 minutes to 2 hours, long sessions can become painful because of his weight and my age, 76. Standards are very intelligent, perceptive, quick learners and have a limitless capability to display unconditional love and affection-especially this one.
Spoo is now 6 years old-no longer a canine teenager. I had noticed some changes in Spoo’s behavior. He was not spending as much time on the couch with me and not as much time across my lap. He also didn’t display as much energy when greeting me at the door, sometimes not having his favorite toy to offer to me. He also did not display as much energy running, playing chase or jumping to take a baton from my hand when held at head height. It was easy to justify these subtle changes as a result of our beginning Texas summer and the fact that Spoo had reached “middle age”. Another observation that I should have investigated sooner-an occasional glimpse of the white of his eyes. Back Standards show very little if any of the whites of their eyes unless the eye is turned to a sharp angle. On Memorial Day, I mentioned this red eye to my wife. It was worse than what I could see without close examination. My wife phoned her cousin, the breeder. Her response, “get Spoo to the vet”-and on Memorial Day, a trip to an emergency clinic resulted in that devastating word, “CANCER”-B Cell Lymphoma to be exact. The next day-a trip to our vet for a 2nd opinion. Then a trip to the oncologist and on the same day a visit to the dog ophthalmologist and the beginning of our current journey. That is where we learned about “Dogslife”. This grant means that we can have our beloved canine family member with us for a longer period of time. The cost of treatment has exhausted our available resources. This grant has relieved an enormous amount of stress.
Some families have many living members, young and old. There is, for them, a constant source of love and companionship. For others, like us, our age has seen the passing of friends and families. My wife lost her mom 6 weeks ago (95 years old), and we have no living children or close relatives. Spoo IS our child. He loves us and we love him. I have never experienced that level of affection from a dog before. We might be able to get another Standard but, there will never be another Spoo. A once in a lifetime blessing. Standard Poodles are humans in fur coats.
Nancy and Ralph Hyde (September 2023)