Saturday, March 19, 2016


To think that this whole love of bulldogs started in 2005 reluctantly is just laughable now!  Oliver Rufus Hardy changed my life forever!  Thanks Little Dude! 

I grew up with cats my whole life, never had a dog, not that I didn't want one, just never really thought about it.  My husband, Steve, on the other hand, grew up with dogs his entire life while living with his parents.  The family got their first bulldog in 1995 and have had one ever since.  After we got married, Steve had to leave his bulldog, Mack, with his parents because we felt it wouldn't be fair to Mack to take him out of the home and away from his other dog siblings.  Sadly, a few years later Mack passed away at the age of 8.  Steve's parents got another bulldog, Bunk, about one year after Mack passed.

Steve always wanted a dog...specifically only a bulldog; but we knew with our schedules it just wasn't the best environment for a puppy....we were never home.  After Mack passed, Steve was devastated.  I felt so badly for him and thought since I was almost done with school that next June (2005), we would finally have a lifestyle to provide a puppy with a great home.  At the end of July 2005, almost a year after Mack died, we added the best thing to our lives.  His name was Oliver.  He was a puppy of 8 weeks old and we loved him to pieces.

I had done my homework, which included "Puppies for Dummies" and got a room ready for his kennel and all things a bulldog would need to call home.  I loved my "Little Dude" more than anyone thought possible!  Since this was my first dog, no one expected me to become so attached.

Ollie had me wrapped around his little paws the first night we had him.  He was crying in his kennel missing his bully momma and it just broke my heart.  We were sure to give him a stuffed animal we called Pooh Bear to cuddle with; and I had a clock that tick-tocked to mimic the mother's heartbeat on top of his kennel....hey, remember I read "Puppies for Dummies"!  From there on out, he was mine...all mine!  Oh & Steve's too of course!  We spoiled him rotten and he gave us nothing but unconditional love & lots of laughs!

Ollie loved his momma and daddy and his cousin Bunk.  He loved going for car rides and especially loved it when people told him how cute he was!  He was quite the character!  He loved going for walks with his momma and lying around watching TV with his daddy.  He helped his momma clean the house...he'd attack the vacuum cleaner and he also helped with the dishes he loved the dishwasher for some reason!

Unfortunately, our beloved Oliver passed away in April 2007.  After extensive tests, biopsies & surgeries, he was finally diagnosed with two types of cancer.  He had a low grade sarcoma on his muzzle & melanoma in his nose rope that spread to his lymph nodes.  The melanoma spread very quickly & totally deteriorated our 22 month old baby.

We had to make the hardest decision of our lives on April 14, 2007.  The cancer was causing him not to be able to sleep; and when he did sleep it was for very short periods of time.  The sarcoma was right underneath his nose & it swelled up; the melanoma had started right next to his nose & grew so fast & so big that it was closing one nostril almost completely shut.  Since the melanoma also spread to his lymph nodes it was pressing on his throat, almost to the point where he couldn't breathe when lying down.  Since his nose was basically swollen shut & when he laid down the golf ball size lymph node was causing him pain & interfering w/his breathing, he rarely found any comfortable position to sleep.  

Every once in awhile, he'd fall asleep with a ball in his mouth & I think that helped the airway, but it would last for such a short period of time.  The poor thing was so tired that he would fall asleep standing up & then tip over (like a cow), thus causing him to wake up again.  It was heart wrenching.

When we were finally given the cancer diagnosis, how far it had spread & the lack of options to save our "Little Dude" we didn't want to decide.  On the morning that we were bringing Ollie to the vet to have stitches removed from the final surgery that came back with a conclusive result (we had 3 others that came back inconclusive during an 8 week period), he tipped over & I just watched as he stumbled back up.  When he looked into my eyes they were no longer his big beautiful brown eyes, but rather sad & red.  We knew at that moment Oliie was telling us something.

After consulting with the vet, he informed us that even with the comfort care drugs, there was no guarantee that he'd get the rest he so desperately needed.  It was the hardest decision we've ever made & after a lot of consideration for his quality of life versus us just having him longer, we knew what we had to do.  

I'll never, ever forget that day.  What I wore.  What Steve wore.  What day of the week it was.  What time the clock said when we were back in the truck, this time without my Ollie.  I'll never forget the one & only dream I had of him that afternoon.  I'll never forget walking out of that room, a vision I can never erase.  I know many people won't understand this, after all he was just a dog, but he wasn't just a dog to us.  He was OUR Little Dude & my first dog & I'll be forever grateful for that!

April 14th, 2010--I've finally gotten around to write about Ollie's melanoma & sarcoma on my blog.  Photos are also included to show how fast it grew.

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