Ruff “the Other Boss”

Janelle Alexis Flatt

April 5, 2021

April 3,2021 was a tough day for everyone who loved this little guy so much. He was 12.5 years old and if you can count that up in dog years that would make him well 87.5 years old. That is senior if you ask me. Let us back it up though, my daughter was 4 years old when she brought home this little fur ball. To be honest, I was having surgery and her father would be taking care of her for a week, so we thought, hm what would take her mind off her mommy being gone?? A dog. This little bundle of joy came home, and he was her everything. She played with him, put him the stroller, dressed him up, and just loved on him. After her dad and I separated, I took him, but after months of arguing over many things including this little guy, I gave him up. What a difficult day, because not only was I losing the only thing I thought was cute snoring, but I was also giving up one of my babies. Every time I would go to pick her up, he would come running, and talking to me, and I would pick him up and love on him unconditionally. She would take him everywhere they went, he got married to at least 10 of her friends, she would dress him up in build a bear clothes and dresses and this little guy was a trooper. When he was about 5 years old, he was dropped by accident on his back, and that caused the beginning of the back problems for him. He would forget he had back legs but keep on going. I swear this little guy had 9 lives. So, when her dad called me in February and told me he could not keep him anymore, I was worried and secretly like “YAAASSS!!!” Finally!!  But after ten years I had three other dogs one of which is 120 lbs Presa Canario. When he finally got comfortable in the pack, he would terrorize my poor Odin chasing him around barking at him and even bit him on the foot a few times of which did not go over well in my house.

When he arrived, he had a horrible haircut, could barely walk, and something was wrong with his heart. I would be holding him, and it felt like it was speeding up and skipping, and it sounded like he had fluid in his chest, but by the time I really figured out what was going on all the vets were closed due to covid. I took out my stethoscope I have had since high school and listened, and was like, oh shit I think his heart keep stopping. This is when it went south for him, he bit my husband’s sister on the arm. I will leave it at that because I feel like the less, I say the better about that. Husband says, we cannot keep him any longer, he is causing problems with the other dogs, and he must go. Let us just say, I have seen my daughter freak out, but this was on another level. This caused a huge line in the sand.  Her dad came and picked him up and took him to his friend’s house, which once again devastated me and her, but I was tired of the chaos. Three to four weeks pass, and we get a phone call telling us Ruff was going to die, so we rushed over there. He was filthy, was not really moving, smelled, could not walk again, and looked terrible. After crying all the way home and for two days I could not handle it, I went against the house and picked him up. From that point on, it was my mission to make this little guy have the best senior life possible. The next day we went to the vet, and he was diagnosed with a heart murmur, congestive heart failure, arthritis in the back, and had fluids in his lungs. After prescribing 5 different medications, we were on our way. I would say it took about 4 weeks for him to start feeling 100 percent, but before he did, I started taking him to the salon, when we were “officially” allowed to open, and everyone loved him so much that was it. I registered him as an emotional support dog. He has gone to photoshoots with me, held by so many guests, loved on by the children, fed so many treats, had a whole wardrobe which included bow ties, ties, and costumes to fit the season. People would bring him toys, and treats, and he became the little superstar at the salon. I had a partner that would ride with me every morning to work, and home, we would have fun all day, and in between when he was not getting loved on by someone he was sleeping. When I hit the year mark, I thought, this is amazing all the medicine is working, and we are going to have a lot longer with him. Then the snow-apocalypse happened, and his cough came back but with a vengeance. I called the vet because I was worried, he had bronchitis or pneumonia. After doing multiple x-rays on him, they said he had no fluid in his lungs, hid heart looked fine, but they thought by the way he was sitting in the x-ray he had a mass in his chest. The only way to see for sure was to do an echocardiogram, of which, I thought wow, that is a lot of money, he is 12.5 and to be completely honest how can we treat him without doing that? I think we all started seeing a decline in this poor guy, and so he stayed home until his coughing, or I would call bark-coughing subsided and was able to go back to work. Then he had a couple of seizures about two weeks ago, and I thought, it was because I had given him allergy medicine, because his sneezing was out of control. Doctor called me back after a frantic phone call and left me a message about irreversible brain damage that could be happening, but when you looked at him, he was fine. It took one week for his breathing to get very labored, and other things were happening that I just could not understand. I would just give him a bath and carry on. His last day of work was on April 3, 2021, we woke up, and I put him down, opened the door for him to strut out the doors, and he backed away from the door almost scared. So, I picked him up and took him outside of which he just laid in the grass and sunbathed. I thought wow, this is going to be an unusual day, and I picked him up, put is home cooked meal in a container full of jasmine rice, turkey meat, green beans, beef broth, and we went out the door. On the way to work he took his usual snooze, and that was it. We walked into the salon, and when Dominic went to give him his treat, like he did every morning, he would not eat it. We both looked at each other, and at that point I knew it was time. Many people had been gearing me up for it for a couple of weeks having that hard conversation with me, which is not an easy conversation to have with someone. He finally ate his treat, but his breathing was getting worse and worse, and so we gave him a little children’s Benadryl thinking that would help him, but he just could not catch his breath. If you were a guest that day, you know what I am talking about, because you witnessed it.  We looked down, and he was coughing up pink foam and that was it. One of our stylists rushed him home, so he could get comfortable, and I could hurry up and finish my day. My daughter came home and called me and asked what was wrong with Ruff, I told my daughter it was time, and she knew when I said that it was finally time. We took him to a vet that put us in this nice little room and put him in a zipped-up carrier and started putting oxygen in it. He quit wheezing, and I thought wow, how can I get one of those? I could put him in a wheelbarrow and just wheel him around.  You see how much I loved this little guy. I am a fixer, and I wanted so bad to fix him. That would not be a life to live for him though. We locked eyes, and stared at each other for a good five minutes, and I said it is ok little guy. They gave him his three little shots and that was it. This was so peaceful and painful all at the same time. As I am writing this, I cannot help but cry, and I am not the typical crier. I hate crying, especially in front of people. I have always thought that crying in front of people shows your weakness, and I do not ever want anyone to see mine.

My daughter has lost her absolute best friend and I have lost my partner in crime. He will be missed terribly, but I know he is in heaven strutting around, getting treats, and giving the big dogs hell!

I love you little Handsome,


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