Amy Roberts: My death-defying dog
September 15, 2015
Dog owners in Park City are a different breed. We bring our canine companions to parties, to the office, to the grocery store. It’s not uncommon to see a dog waiting for its owner outside a bar or restaurant on Main Street.
We also love to brag about our dogs. I’ve been part of many conversations regarding whose dog is the smartest, friendliest, cutest, best behaved, best-trained, most lovable, most loyal, most playful — the list of accolades goes on and on. But after last week, my dog takes home first place in the best trick category, no bones about it. He came back from the dead.
And I don’t mean the "play dead" kind of trick. My dog, Boston died almost two weeks ago. But apparently he didn’t care for whatever he saw as he approached the white light, and so, he changed his mind and is no longer dead.
It is a story I would never believe if I wasn’t there to see it myself, so I understand if anyone is skeptical. But I swear on Boston’s life, it’s true.
He’s a Yellow Lab/Great Dane mix and he’s approaching 14 years. That’s pretty old for a 100-pound dog, and his joints show his age. The last few months he’s really struggled to get around, with his back legs often giving out on him. The vet says Boston’s heart is strong, he’s generally healthy and happy. He also doesn’t think Boston is in pain, rather, he just doesn’t have much feeling at all in his back legs anymore.
I’ve tried everything to help him: Acupuncture, prescription medications, laser therapies, special foods, even medical marijuana. Nothing has worked. Most days I need to help him outside.
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But two Sundays ago, as we were coming back into the house from his trip to the yard, Boston collapsed. And it wasn’t because his back legs went out; his whole body went down. I tried to help him up, but he was limp. His eyes had rolled back in his head and his tongue was out. He had lost control of his bowels and bladder, something that usually happens at the time of death. He wasn’t breathing and I couldn’t feel his heartbeat.
"Oh my god, Boston just died!" I yelled at my sister, who was in town visiting. She watched everything as it happened and started to console me. I was laying over Boston’s limp, lifeless body, crying and telling him how much I loved him. After about a minute, my sister went to the kitchen to call my parents and tell them the news.
She was mid-sentence with my dad when I interrupted her and said, "Um, Heather? Boston’s not dead anymore."
"Oh Amy, sometimes they twitch. It’s part of the process," she replied.
"Yeah, but is lifting their head and sitting up part of the process too?"
Not believing what I was trying to tell her, she came back into the living room to see for herself.
"Holy @$%&. Boston’s alive?!" Her response was part exclamation, part question. My dad, who was still on the phone with her, thought we were both drunk.
She hung up and we both sat with Boston in stunned silence, neither of us really believing what had just happened.
I’ve had a few people tell me he had a stroke or a seizure, but Google suggests otherwise. His symptoms just didn’t match either diagnosis. I know it sounds crazy, but I can’t help but think Boston saw my grief and came back to give us more time together.
I also know whatever time I do have left with him is limited. And I know I will be no less sad when that day does come. But for now, I’m going to enjoy every moment I have left with him. It’s the least I can do. Most dogs want to please their owners. But mine’s the only one I know who came back from the dead to do so.
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley.
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