Tails from the Front Line

Official Blog of Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet


New York

Gunner’s Story: Part 1

Gunner, The New Guy

A few weeks ago, I welcomed yet another Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet foster pup into my home. Gunner, a 6 year old Pit Bull, has a Navy family in flux right now and needs a place to stay.

With a new job, Deycon (my first foster: a 130# Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and his not so little sister coming at regular intervals), and my boys moving out, I guess I didn’t have quite enough chaos in my life!

I was a little leery because my own Rottie, Bear2. He hasn’t had a friend living with us for a while. We did have Deycon, Mulligan and McKenzie, Guardian Angels alumni which we adopted and with whom Bear was familiar. However, Gunner would be smaller in stature than Bear and just as active. Little did I know how accurate that phrase would be!

Gunner’s mom and I chatted on the phone after she liked the email I had written about my foster experiences. The fact I live only about 20 miles from where they would be staying didn’t hurt either! I had requested that I take Gunner alone to meet Bear2. I knew the usual initial male huffing, barking and snarling would take place and that can be disturbing for someone who hasn’t seen it or doesn’t understand it, especially when one of them is your baby.

I picked Gunner up on a Sunday afternoon (an hour late because I hadn’t changed my clock!) and met the powerful and excited boy his mom had described. He couldn’t keep still and I knew he’d be a great match for Bear as soon as they got settled. What I wasn’t sure about was if my house would survive!

I became part of Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet because of my daughter. She had to give away her cats before I knew about the organization. Because of that I knew Gunner’s mom and dad would be a little depressed about letting him go but I know that he’ll be back. Dad loaded Gunner’s crate into the back seat of my car and Mom walked him to the front. He jumped right in and made himself at home. Of course Mom cried and Dad looked mournful, but I know when they come to get him, it will be great.

Gunner and I took the long way home to get to know each other. He had his head out the window most of the time and his tail was wagging constantly. He finally did settle down and curled up on the front seat.

As I pulled into the driveway, I could see Bear jumping up at the front window. I took Gunner’s crate out and set it up. First I let Bear sniff the new pup through the front car window. Predictably, Gunner snapped and Bear, much to my surprise, backed down, sat and cocked his head. Aren’t Rottie’s supposed to be fierce? Guess no one ever told Bear! The new pup ran to the other side of the car and so did Bear. The window was opened, they sniffed and Gunner jumped into the back seat. I brought Bear into the house and went back to notice that poor Gunner was shaking with fear in the back seat. (Sorry, Mom, I know this is the first you’re hearing about this, but don’t worry, it turns out okay!)

I snuggled Gunner for a bit and then put him in his crate. I let Bear out of the house and they sniffed barked and …. well this might not sound too hygienic, but I knew it was a good sign: they each raised their leg on the same side of the crate. Bear back in the house, Gunner on a lead and a good hosing down of the crate was next in order.

Then the bigger move: I brought Gunner’s crate into the house, put Gunner in it and let Bear go to him. The whining, crying and yap-like barking was an improvement. Finally, I let the two of them together and I’m kind of sorry I did…. Let me explain.

My boys moved out about 3 months ago and took most of the furniture with them. My stored furniture was in the basement and fell victim, mostly, to Hurricane Irene. These two strong, STRONG…. Did I mention that they’re strong? boys ran through the house, tumbling over one another, sliding on wood floors, jumping and running, knocked off the few pictures I had left on the walls and shook the house. The echoes are incredible!

They played for over 4 hours. My guess was that they get along! Gunner’s mom and I made contact to ease her concerns and she’s thrilled that’s he’s okay. Sure! He’s okay, but I’m never going to be the same: Dogs sliding into the kitchen table, through the mud room, into the empty living room and dining room, barking, and panting with flying doggie hair all over the place. Truth be told, I LOVE it! Deycon, my first foster, and his best friend, my grandson, haven’t been around since December and I know Bear has missed playing like this.

After the second hour had past, the boys collapsed: tails wagging and tongues lolling out of their mouths. Some rest, dinner and water and they were off again.

Bear is a bit of a clown and loves to watch my television. It’s up on top of a cabinet (good thing) and he spends ages jumping up and down in front of it, barking, snapping and whining at whatever is on. Designing Women is the only show he is quiet for. Well, now we have the new guy in on it. There is a dog barking on the TV, Bear barking at the dog barking on the TV and now Gunner barking at Bear barking at the dog barking on the TV. I dare not watch anything that has running or fighting in it. The house shakes!

Gunner’s mom gave me a lot of information about him and one piece in particular that I wish I had really listened to. She said he should stay on a lead when he’s in the yard, and even gave me one, because he can jump fences. Late the first night, rather I should say very early the next morning, both boys were doing the pee-pee dance at my bedroom doors. I just opened the doors and let them out. They ran around the yard, did their business and quick as a whip, Gunner went over the fence. In his defense, that kitty was a little snippy! So here I was at 3 in the morning, pj’s and slippers, chasing Gunner around my neighbor’s yard. He obviously thought it was a game. Then quick as he went over, he jumped back, ran up onto the deck with Bear and the two of them sat there looking at me like I was the crazy one. Needless to say, Gunner now stays on the lead!

This guy’s a real joker too. Bear knows exactly how far Gunner’s lead will let him go and manages to run just outside of it. Welllllll, not to be outdone, Gunner lurks under the deck and as Bear runs across the yard, he times it perfectly to pounce on the Rottie with the precision of an NFL linebacker. Everyone tumble in the dirt, Bear runs out of reach and Gunner retreats under the deck for the next run!

One piece of information that Mom did not give me is that Gunner likes to sleep under the covers. One night I almost had a heart attack when I rolled over and something starting licking my leg! After that, it became quite amusing. My real problem is that even in a king sized bed, there doesn’t seem to be enough room for all three of us. I have waken up on the very edge of the bed, legs numb because Gunner likes to sleep on them and I’m unable to move because Bear is sleeping, and snoring I might add, laying back to back with me with his head on my pillow! I’ve been eying the futon in the sitting room, but I’m not so sure they’d leave me alone there. I’m wondering if there will be enough room when Deycon and his little sister, Dakota, come to visit in May! Luckily they have their own beds….. but come to think of it, so do Bear and Gunner! Better hold off on buying furniture until after the summer!

Last Saturday, March 17, was Gunners 6nth birthday and Mom sent a box of treats. One was a bag of doggie bacon treats that came in a zip lock pouch. Two nights ago, a pint of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream was calling me from the freezer and I decided to answer. My imagination had the bowl filled with the green treat covered in the sliced almonds from a bag in the kitchen cabinet. Guess I should have turned on the light. The bacon treats did NOT go well with the ice cream. Frankly, they don’t taste like bacon at all – in case you were wondering.

Good thing I’m used to living in a circus!

– Written by Eileen, Foster Mom in New York.

Novartis Animal Health and TV host Mike Rowe Honor Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet

The dirtiest guy on TV, Mike Rowe, is bringing flea problems and solutions to life through a multi-media educational campaign.

As part of the campaign, Novartis Animal Health will provide a donation to the Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet in support of their efforts to help care for pets of deployed military personnel.

Gatesville, TX, September 27, 2011 – Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet is honored to be recognized by Novartis Animal Health, the maker of Sentinel® Flavor Tabs®. Novartis announced a program to educate pet owners about preventing and controlling flea problems. The program is launched at the peak of the flea season and is featuring the dirtiest guy on TV, Mike Rowe, and his best friend Chuck, a Burmese mountain dog, bringing flea problems and solutions to life through a series of unconventional and entertaining web videos.

The campaign is part of “The Dirty Truth about Fleas,” a Sentinel Flavor Tabs initiative to educate pet owners about the flea life cycle and the surprising ways that fleas can survive in homes and on pets.

Mike Rowe’s experience with all things dirty, including parasites and pests, makes him a good fit to educate pet owners about one of America’s biggest pest and home problems.

Novartis Animal Health US made an charitable contribution to Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet as part of the launch of “The Dirty Truth about Fleas” campaign to support the work that Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet is doing. The charity sponsorship was introduced at a live event on September 19, 2011, in New York City on the deck of the USS Intrepid.

For Rowe, the collaboration on behalf of Novartis for Sentinel is gratifying on a personal level. “I’ve been bitten by just about every parasite on the planet,” he said. “Bed bugs, lice, ticks, leeches…I even had a tape worm for a while. I’m happy to work on a fun, slightly unorthodox campaign that helps rid the world of blood-sucking parasites. I mean, when was the last time you saw a talking dog?”

Rowe adds, “When U.S. soldiers go ‘over there’ their pets stay ‘over here.’ Somebody’s gotta look after them. Guardian Angels make it possible.”

To see Mike and Chuck and learn more about the Dirty Truth about Fleas campaign, visit

About Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet:
Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet is an ALL volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit military support organization supporting military service members, veterans and their beloved pets through their Foster Home and Military Pet Assistance programs aimed at reuniting the pet(s) and owners following deployment or an emergency hardship. The organization is also working on building their first Military, Veteran and Pet Sanctuary to provide a temporary shelter for pets until a long term foster home is found. For more information on providing a foster home, becoming a volunteer, or making a donation to Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, please visit or


Deycon’s Story: Goodbye for Now

At the crack of dawn on Monday September 19th I took one last look around the house to make sure I had all my foster fur kid’s medical records, toys, papers, medications and equipment packed and ready to go. I really hadn’t slept well the night before, and there was a bittersweet excitement in my attitude.

Deycon honestly knew that something was up. He was pouncing and barking and running around while I put all these things in the car. On Sunday night, I put on him the collar his mom and dad had sent him with. I had gotten him a bright orange one embroidered with his name and my phone number which he’d worn since he first came to stay with me. I couldn’t bear to take it off.

The gas tank had been filled the night before, and I’d had my water and snack already packed. I wandered around from room to room trying to find an excuse to call this day off. I had pondered soliciting a few of my friends to come with me because I didn’t want to say good-bye by myself. I’m glad I didn’t. In the end I needed to do this alone.

The two hour drive to the half way point where we’d agreed to meet was wonderful. The weather was perfect and every now and then there was a massive head on my shoulder just like the first ride to my home. We stopped along the way and I sat in a rest area with the big guy sitting in front of me. I hugged and snuggled and kissed my pal and told him to be good. I reminded him he would be back for Christmas but knew I couldn’t put it off any longer.

We got to the meeting place a little early and I was glad. I was able to have a few minutes with my friend and put on his red white and blue bow. (It’s the one he wore for Memorial Day when we discovered he doesn’t like marching bands!) Deycon got to stretch his legs and sniff around. I even tried out the video camera and I think I got it right this time.  (results to follow! LOL)

About 15 minutes after we arrived I looked across the parking lot and spotted Mike. I took a deep breath, held it for a second and said, “Deycon! Look! It’s Daddy!!” Deycon looked around and eventually spotted Mike. He brought his ears to attention and cocked his head as if to say, “I know this guy.”

All at once he realized who it was. He bounded off to Mike and ran around him a few times. He pranced back and forth and wagged that massive tail of his kept jumping up on his hind legs and I know he was smiling. When Mike got over to where I was, he kind of squatted down and Deycon almost knocked him over with kisses and nuzzles and whimpers. His tail didn’t stop wagging for a second. The meaning of the entire foster experience was thrust upon me when I heard Mike say, “Oh,Wow! It’s so good to see him.” That’s what this whole year has been about: this very moment. I managed not to cry.

I had been heartbroken on the entire ride there, but seeing Mike’s face and Deycon’s reaction changed that all. The colossal canine couldn’t keep still. We chatted for a bit and Mike said he had to move his truck over to us. As he walked to the other side of the parking lot, Deycon almost dislocated my shoulder pulling after his Dad. He let out those pathetic whimpering howls and watched every movement Dad made. When Mike pulled up, the joy started again. Dad opened the back of the truck and Deycon didn’t even have to be told what to do. He jumped right up and sat down so proudly.

I brought Mike up to date on vaccinations, medications, toys and made sure that Deycon was really coming back for the holidays (Otherwise, I might be wanted in 6 counties for dog-napping!!). I was humbled and actually left speechless (yes, believe it or not…) when Mike kept thanking me. No! No! It was I who needed to thank him.  I got the best part of this deal. I had Deycon! DJ has a lifelong pal, I was nurtured through the loss of Bear1 and “the D-man” made Bear2 feel like family. I cannot thank Mike and Sarah enough for picking my application and allowing me to do this. No military person should ever have to give up a fur baby, feather kid, or reptile rug rat. We owe them this small favor and Guardian Angels For Soldier’s Pet has done this for so many men and women of our armed services. I am so proud to have been part of this miracle.

I’m was further honored when Mike and Sarah asked me to foster their newest addition. The newly born sister, Dakota, who will be about 8 weeks when Deycon brings her back for Santa Paws. I laughed when I read a Facebook message that Deycon’s story was going to be put under “Mission Accomplished.” We’re not losing Deycon, we’re gaining a Dakota.

I couldn’t bear to watch them drive away so I left first. I didn’t want a gleeful Dad to see that he was leaving a hole in my world the size of ….. well, the size of a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

I remember clearly the day my daughter, a Navy Corpsman stationed in Virginia announced she would be deployed to Kuwait.
“Mom, what do I do with my other babies? Where are they going to go?”

That was how this saga started and now I have finally been able to do put to rest the feeling of helplessness that has been lurking in the background for all these years. Thank  you Mike and Sarah and thank you Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet.

– Written by Eileen, Foster Mom in New York.

Deycon’s Story: Going Home

Deycon Getting into Trouble

Deycon has been living with and more or less putting up with me for over a year now. Without a doubt he is the biggest puppy I have ever met. It has been my privilege and honor to be allowed to care for him all this time and I really love the giant. But, the day I’ve been dreading and at the same time hoping for has finally come. Deycon’s mom messaged me on FaceBook that his Dad is ready for the big guy to come home.

It’s been a cyclone of emotions. With each passing moment comes a memory.

First there’s the original posting from Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet in New York asking for a foster family for my buddy. I was so excited to be given the opportunity to help, I was beside myself.

I’ve been looking at the pictures of Deycon and Bear (1) when he first got here, him as DJ’s pillow and with his paw on my Little Man’s shoulder comforting him. I remember the games he and my other foster, Gia, played in and around my room and I still laugh at the look of surprise on his face when the plastic ball-type stuffing flew all over the room when he gave the toy a huge shake of his head.

The holidays were so full with a big family around the table again. DJ came back to his big friend and they fell right back into the tight friendship they had always had. DJ even helped Deycon open the package that his Grandma had asked Santa to deliver to my house. I have to laugh out loud thinking of how he teased me with the squeaker! He has such a personality!!!

Who could forget the snow antics of this giant puppy? He was jumping and playing for hours, sliding on ice, rubbing a paw raw and mocking me because of that boot! You know? I can’t find it anymore.

He taught everyone his different barks and has kept good watch over us all. He has chased a squirrel, met cows, barked at horses, darted away at tadpoles and kept me so very entertained. He has known when there was something not quite right and made sure he either tossed my hand onto him to be paid attention to or dropped every toy available onto me to divert my attention. I mean really, who can be down in the dumps with that beautiful face staring at you?

Through him, I’ve learned to keep my coffee table and night stand clear. I have learned restraint by NOT chasing him with the dreaded broom or shooting a hundred Nerf bullets across the room. I’ve found out that my lap can hold almost 250 pounds of quivering dog and to NOT feed my dogs vege based food without several exhaust fans on at once. I discovered that the cotton fluff in blankets is just as interesting as the fluff in toys, balls and dog beds. I’ve found that when Deycon is around, DJ’s Nana comes in second.

This last year Deycon has been a babysitter, overseer and protector. The massive guardian has taken care of me, my family and my grandson. He watched out for my beloved Bear1, protected him and helped me mourn his unexpected loss. He has endured being dressed up, laughed at and loved. He has been a constant companion and friend.  He has hidden in a closet, barked at my dryer stunt and quietly watched as my own fire department helped me out of a tree. He has withstood being ambushed, ridden and cuddled. He even went Trick or Treating without the benefit of getting any candy. DJ reminded him that candy is for REAL kids and doggies have their own. He has been on car rides to nowhere, met Great Grandma, gone to dog parks, to work with me, to my friends’ homes and to street fairs. He welcomed Bear2 and our newest puppy, Momma. He saved my sanity and my grandson’s life.

My buddy has laughed at me when the raccoon was on my bed and was annoyed when I declined to let him meet the skunk. I’ve hugged him, tripped over him and worn him on a few occasions. He has become a part of my family.

He has learned that stink bugs don’t taste good, that peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth and that PetCo has a great security system.  He’s said goodbye to Teddy White, the famous caterpillar, countless balls, squeakers and a doll or two. We all learned that he’s allergic to bees and that Benadryl works on canines as well as people. He has met dozens of friends, the local State Police and the best Veterinary staff ever.

Deycon Last Christmas

This mountain of love has won the hearts of almost 1000 people on FaceBook who have been sending us congratulations and best wishes by the hundreds. He has touched the hearts of scores of neighbors, a few dozen friends and family members and just about everyone who sees him.  This time tomorrow, Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet will have another success story and we can all be proud that Deycon’s Mom and Dad are who they are and do what they do for us.

In less than a day, when I watch him pounce on his Dad, as I know he will, I will be so sorry and so happy at the same time. I know he’ll be back in a few months and (all 4 paws and ten fingers crossed) he’ll be bringing a sister. But still with a heavy heart, I can’t help thinking I’ll be watching a chapter of my life close. I love you, big buddy, see you at Christmas.

– Written by Eileen, Foster Mom in New York.


Deycon’s Story: End of Summer

If you’ve followed these blog posts, you’ll know what a personality Deycon has. He has adapted to many changing situations around here as well as relocating from his parents home to mine. Now he’s become part of a pack.


He and Bear2 have become wrestling partners, buddies and friends. When Deycon came to my home, his mom had warned me that he was a “toy thief.” In Bear2 he has met his match. There isn’t a day that goes by that one or the other is teasing the foster brother with a stuffed animal, ball or toy. Thankfully, almost all of the squeakers have been disabled but we’ve begun accumulating that white fuzz all over the house again. My grandson DJ is usually right in the middle of it. Have you ever seen a 3-way tug of war? Deycon moans, Bear2 growls and DJ squeals!

The three amigos spent the latter part of the summer in and out of a small child’s pool. At first I had it in the back yard away from the house and partially under a tree: half shade and half sun. With the three of them in and out of it most of the time, it was filled and refilled daily. The problem is that the water, of course, settled around the base of the pool making mud. Now Deycon is dignified (and well trained) and he would never jump on the furniture. Bear2 is another story…. He has absolutely no qualms about running up the deck stairs through the screen door and across my bed. He has left paw prints on the sheets, comforter and bed spreads.

On the third day of changing linens, I decided to put the pool back on the deck outside my bedroom door. I knew there would be no getting away from pawprints, but at least they weren’t muddy any more.

At one point in the summer Deycon was in the yard and jumped and sniffed at his left rear leg. I didn’t think much of it because running my hand over the area, I found nothing. I’m not sure what it was, but about an hour later, he came to me and looked like a Greater Swiss Mountain Shar Pei! His face was all swollen and his eyes were barely open. We hopped into the car and made a visit to Otterkill Animal Hospital where, I swear, he was embarrassed and wouldn’t look at anyone. We were, after all, laughing at how he looked. A dose of cortisone and two doses of Benadryl later and our boy was fine. The staff are amazing and called a few times to make sure he was okay. They felt it might have been a bee sting even though I found nothing on his leg.  Whatever it was I do keep a supply of Benadryl around the house now.

Our twice weekly outing to the dog park continues and I still take every opportunity to talk about Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet as much as I can. Deycon is a great advertisement inasmuch as he’s a huge placid pal. I have to say that his behavior reflects so much on his mom and dad. He’s kind, patient, and so full of love.

Late last month, we visited our vet and, of course Deycon garnered all the attention he could. DJ was with us as the Dr. examined and vaccinated Deycon, which didn’t bother him. Deycon was great but got a little fussy when the vet was clipping his nails. DJ was a typical over active 3 year old right up until that point. All at once his hands went into his pockets and he sat in the corner.

“What’s the matter DJ?” asked Dr. Zgoda.

With wide eyes and hidden hands he said, “Nothing. I just don’t want  you to cut MY nails.” It was very hard NOT to use that as a behavioral modification phrase after that.

Both dogs are so playful, but gentle with My Little Man DJ. They run around the house, play with toys, pots, pans, laundry, whatever they can find. The playful growls, howls and laughs make every day bright. I always hear people telling storied of “hero dogs” but Deycon and Bear2 will be my heroes for a long time to come. I was sitting on the deck, which is 9 steps above the yard, while DJ and the dogs were playing. DJ went near the compost pile and several things happened all at once: DJ screamed, Deycon launched himself at DJ, Bear jumped straight up in the air and both dogs began growling at DJ and pushed him. Deycon barked and Bear ran to me as DJ was screaming. It shocked me so thoroughly since neither dog had EVER shown any aggression and especially not near DJ. I’d seen him pull their ears and poke at them and they never reacted negatively.

I heard DJ’s high pitched yell again as I flew down the stairs and grabbed him only to see bees flying around us. Bear and Deycon were both covered in the insects and I’m talking 30 or 40, but were standing between DJ and the compost pile. It seems DJ disturbed their nest and the bees were swarming. I wrapped DJ in my arms and we ran for the deck. I literally ripped his clothes off and got the insects off him. Deycon and Bear were hovering over the screaming child, barking and nuzzling him. I swept the attackers off them and we all headed into the house. DJ was almost inconsolable and both dogs were still barking and upset. Getting them all calmed down was a bit hairy, but I realized the dogs were anxious about DJ. After a bath and Benadryl all around, DJ fell asleep. Deycon stayed right with him and the whole time there was a slight moaning noise coming from deep in the big guy. Bear2 gave a slow rumbling growl every time I went near DJ to check on him.

Bear had a few welts on him and I had expected another emergency trip to the vet for Deycon, but that didn’t happen. Those two dogs knew their “pup” was in trouble and protected him. Deycon stayed with DJ and Bear2 came running to get me. No one is ever going to convince me otherwise.

In case you didn’t know, LOL!! We had a rough couple of weeks here in New York. First we had an earthquake that left both pups quite shaken up. While we didn’t suffer any physical damage, but those two fierce looking imposing appearing canines ran so fast and so hard it was worse than the quake itself. Deycon jumped onto my lap, Bear tried to get under the bed, behind the couch and then practically went through the bathroom door to finally end up in the tub. It shook me up a bit too, but it was over quickly and they calmed down eventually.

I was scheduled to fly to Florida to bring DJ back to his mother and have a vacation at the end of August. Now I’m not sure if anyone heard about it, but we had a hurricane here on the east coast. Irene was due to hit New York two days after I was to land in Florida. We got the house pretty well storm proofed and my sons were prepared to evacuate and take the dogs to safety. I brought the deck furniture and grills into the house and the furniture went under the deck. I know some people think that animals are oblivious, but Deycon is so very aware of everything. He could sense our anxiety and stuck right by me and DJ for the week before we left.

DJ and I flew over Irene while she was pelting the Carolinas and we had gorgeous weather on Florida. My mind, however was in New York. I called and texted so often that my boys were a bit annoyed. More than once they said laughingly, Yes mom the dogs are fine…. By the way, we are too. Although the dogs completely despised the weather and all the wind and thunder, they made it through like champs. The house however, well…. It could have been worse. I decided to leave the water in the basement and just tout it as an indoor pools when I go to sell the house.

Though his mom says it’s the nature of the breed to be gentle, I think Deycon is especially sensitive. Last weekend a few of my boys went camping and were on a site next to some less than attentive people. They had with them a small 3 month old golden haired puppy. They neglected the little girl for most of the week and she was scrounging around for food and attention. During one of their “parties” James asked if he could have the puppy. I’m still not quite sure what the answer was, but “Momma” lives with us now. Bear2 plays way too rough, so they don’t spend too much time together. Deycon, however is a comical site when she’s around. He sniffs at her, does his famous pounce and practically dances for her. She sits and watches him patiently with her pointed ears at attention. It’s plain to see he wants to play. She will walk over to him and let out a yip and startles the giant. Then it’s game on! When he’s close to her, she will chase him. If he backs away, she launches at him. If he’s close enough, she bats him with her front paws like a cat. It is so clear that he’s not quite sure what to do. He has Bear2 in height and weight, but this little one is only about 6 pounds and thinks she’s his size. He will slap the floor near her, bark at her and moan his high pitched wail but never touches her other than to nudge her with his huge nose. Deycon’s mom mentioned that they are thinking about getting him a sister. I’m glad she will be the same breed, he needs someone his own size.

I got a note that Deycon’s Dad arrived back home a week or so ago and we’re waiting on the word that the house and yard have been Deycon-ized. Friends of ours and FaceBook Deycon fans have all been asking what I’m going to do when my constant companion goes home.

Actually… I don’t know.

– Written by Eileen, current Foster Mom in New York.

Deycon’s Story: Warmer Weather

Our regular trips to the dog park continue and now include DJ. My grandson will run the dog agility course, all the time calling to Deycon and encouraging him to join in. Ever patient, Deycon walks beside DJ with his ears at attention, looking puzzled and just watches the little guy. DJ loves making Deycon run after him and it tires them both out.

Last week we had a fierce thunderstorm pass over us. We were in the yard when the sky darkened and the hail started to fall. Trying to get DJ up the stairs was comical. Deycon, of course, made the 9 steps in 2 leaps and stood watching us. The thunder started and shook the house. The wind was blowing so hard that there was debris flying all over. Once inside, Deycon kept trying to get into my lap. At 130 shaking pounds, it’s pretty difficult to do, but he kept trying. I happened to notice a branch come down on the top of the picnic table outside my bedroom doors. I opened the door, ran out, moved it and turned just in time to see Deycon lay up against the door, locking me on the deck. By the time I bolted to the other door I was soaked to the skin. Who knew such an adorable puppy could be such an imp!!

The nerf war had quieted down for a while, but now that college is out for the summer, the human boys have too much time on their hands. Without even wondering, they now go right to my room to check Deycon’s bed and then under the futon in the sitting room for the missing sponge projectiles. They have the baby in on it as well now. With his own nerf gun, usually with no ammunition, wearing his bike helmet, DJ hides under the futon to defend Deycon. Although the house is sometimes more active that a circus, it’s also just as fun.

DJ and I watched The Wizard of Oz and at the scary parts with the witch, he ran over to jump and hide behind Deycon. After it was over and Dorothy made it home safely, we were dancing around and playing. Out of the blue, one of my sons walked past and threw a cup of water in my face. I stood in shock and disbelief, as Deycon, ever helpful, started lapping at the water.

My pride and joy looked at his nephew and said, “Wow, DJ. She’s not melting. I guess that water thing only works in the Emerald City.” When I recovered, that son took off with DJ and Deycon chasing behind him, barely made it to the stairs before I reached him and got away. A raucous run jump and play game ensued. Deycon was batting the plastic cup around, DJ was chasing him, water all over the sitting room and I changed my clothes.

When DJ was younger we had a game where, when washing the dishes, I would shake my wet hands at him and sprinkle water on him. A few days ago, it warmed a Nana’s heart to see he was playing “our” game with Deycon. Each time DJ flapped his hands Deycon would jump and run away. After 3 or 4 rounds I noticed that Deycon actually had droplets of water on his coat. I was a little puzzled until I realized there is only one place low enough for DJ to get water from……. I’ll let that sink in for a minute. After popping DJ into the tub, and sanitizing the floor, I attempted to give Deycon his own wash down. I don’t really need to go into details, but ALL of us were wet and sudsy in a very short time. I keep the bathroom door locked now.

Deycon had a well puppy visit to the vet for the summer months. The staff at the office loves him and always remarks about how well behaved he is. I know his mom and dad spent a long time on that behavior and it shows. They love how he talks to them and needs to investigate every inch of the examining room. He adores the attention, but not that elevating table. He takes his treats and all their affection as though it’s due him. The staff is great and I made sure to thank them for their attention and compassion the last time I brought Bear in. The doctor has been treating my animals for about 20 years and doesn’t charge Deycon the examination fee because he’s a military dog. I was overwhelmed when I got a letter from The Cornell University Veterinarian School recently. Without my knowing it, the vet had made a donation to the college in Bear’s memory. They’ve also agreed to post information about Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet on their bulletin board and make sure their other military patients know about the program.

One of Deycon’s Facebook fur friends from Brazil hasn’t been feeling too well. Snoco’s foster mom, “she”, has asked all the fur friends to send her a card so she can make a book and send the get well wishes. I put together a picture of DJ using Deycon as a pillow similar to the one on the Guardian Angels’ website, and some get well wishes and emailed it to Snoco. I explained to DJ what I was doing and he insisted that he make his own card. He lay on the floor, called Deycon and explained what they had to do. We found out that Deycon can’t hold markers in his paws or his mouth and really has no interest in coloring a picture. We also found out that if you leave the glue you’re using to mount macaroni laying around, it can get stuck to his foot and he’ll run if you chase him to take it off.

With the hot weather now thrust upon us, I bought DJ a small plastic pool. It’s about 4 feet across and I put about 8 inches of water in it. He plays around in it for hours. Funny part is that so does Deycon. They will chase each other around the yard, through the pool, back across the yard over and over. In short order the pool needs to be refilled so they can start again. Although it’s one of the smallest that Toys R Us had, it’s just big enough for the big guy to lay down it. Another reason it needs to be refilled often. Water sprays for yards when the pup shakes and everyone gets a shower. It’s a circus, I tell you… a circus! Truth be told, I wouldn’t have it any other way!!

– Written by Eileen, Foster Mom in New York.

Deycon’s Story: He’s a Funny Guy

Deycon continues to keep us entertained with his daily routines. He is awake and in my face between 7:00am and 7:15am every morning. I try to ignore the sniffing and huffing but sometimes it’s too hard and I just give in. First is the breakfast bowl. He doesn’t eat right away, just inspects what’s on the menu. Then it’s out to the yard. Run around twice at least, glancing to make sure I’m still on the deck, and then after barking at anything, and more likely nothing, he bounds up the stairs and goes to eat.

There are times when he’s skittish and it’s humorous when you understand how big he is. There are other times when he’s completely patient. Anyone who follows his FaceBook page knows I get myself into some strange situations. Well, on Mother’s Day, I decided to put up a clothes line since the dryer was no longer working. Putting the first hook into the post on the deck was a piece of cake. The opposite end was not so easy. I used the 6 foot ladder to get up the tree, then climbed several feet higher. Mission accomplished and the second hook was set. The ladder, on the other hand, had fallen and I was stuck. My lovely, devoted, and caring sons (the same ones who attacked me with Nerf guns) said they couldn’t help me, were hurting themselves laughing and called my own fire department for help. (They were blessed with my sense of humor.) Since the call went out as “member of service needs assistance. Unknown situation.” I got the full battalion of help: Village Police, Town Police, private cars, the Rescue Truck and the Engine. After the initial ribbing I took from my fellow volunteers, they waited until one of them could go back to the firehouse and get a video camera to commemorate the occasion. All the while Deycon sat in one place in the yard, ears at attention, just watching the drama unfold: no jumping no cowering and not moving at all. 20 strangers didn’t bother him a bit and he managed to get them to fall in love with him. What’s not to love?

We keep adding to his list of likes, loves and hates. Among the likes and loves is the dog park, pouncing and playing. He has an assortment of stuffed animals and toys. If I am busy or, Heaven forbid, sleeping and he wants to play, he throws the toys and waits for me to play. A week or so ago, he had the now famous caterpillar from PetCo and was tossing it around. Toss and wait watching me. Toss and wait. The last toss I caught through the corner of my eye. It went straight up and landed back on his head. He jumped like a kangaroo and ran! I laughed even harder when he came back. He approached the stuffed toy like a wolf hunting down a chicken. Slow, slow, sniff, sniff, slow…. I had such an urge to make a loud noise, but I knew he might run into something.

Among the hates is, of course, the broom, thunder and fireworks, but on Memorial Day we found another one. I dressed him up in a flag bow tie and we went to the driveway to watch the parade. All the people in cars and walking pointed to him and his bow tie and waved and smiled. He barked back and pranced around. Then came the bands! That was NOT fun….. Deycon can take “Drag Eileen to the back gate to get away from the noise” off his to do list. The ever supportive sons, were rolling around laughing and said that they had told me not to put him on a lead….. Monday morning quarterbacks all of them. The bruise on my right shoulder from hitting the shed is fading.

His bed was getting really well worn so I ordered a new pad to go into it. I guess I should have measured. I have a 58 inch pad and a 46 inch bed. Well now he has two places to sleep and drag around or slide onto. We have this game where I call his name and make a fast move with my hand or foot. He’ll pounce, run around my bed, into the sitting room, through the kitchen, down the mud room hall and back. When he gets to the bedroom he jumps onto his bed and waits. Then we start it all over again. Sometimes I move his bed away from the wall and when he jumps onto it, he slides a bit! Hysterical! Apologies to his Mom and Dad.

My grandson came back to me this weekend and walked into the house as though he had left only an hour ago. Waving over his shoulder, he walked past me and said, “Hi, Nana. Where’s Bear?” I told him Bear went to live with God and he started crying. He said he wanted to say good-bye. Then I told him Deycon was still here and called to the big guy. He came bounding up the stairs and knocked DJ on his keister. That caused all kinds of laughing and playing. DJ stood up and told Deycon that they have to play like big boys now since they’re both almost 4. I have no idea what that means and to be perfectly honest, I’m scared.

That night DJ pulled the two dog beds together, set his pillow on the new mattress and slept next to Deycon. He loves the big guy and they wrestle a lot. I can tell Deycon is being so gentle. He runs into me and bats at my legs when we play, but with DJ he doesn’t even go up on his hind legs.  He spends a lot of time on his back rolled over and pawing up at my grandson.

Early the next morning, I dropped a small folding wooden table on my right big toe. I couldn’t talk for a few seconds because I was afraid that words with only 4 letters would spew forth. The swelling and bruising started almost right away. Isn’t it funny how when you have a sore toe, that it’s the only place anyone steps near? Deycon must have stepped on it a dozen times that day and DJ ran over it once or twice. Then DJ tried to get Deycon to kiss the boo boo to make it all better. You have to love it! Poor Deycon had no idea why DJ was on the floor trying to drag him to my foot.

Later that afternoon, I saw Deycon’s protective side again. He and DJ were playing in the yard when all at once Deycon came to attention and stepped in front of my little man. He growled and stepped toward the approaching male. I guess we should have told Deycon that DJ’s dad was coming to visit!

Everyone who has ever had children knows that the best part of any present is the box. I have a box that two down comforters came in and DJ loves it. For most of the day, he was hiding IN the box and we were pretending that he was lost and then were so relieved when he jumped out…. over and over and over. Then my son Brian got lost by staying UNDER it. When he jumped up DJ let out a screech and had a potty accident. It was then his turn to try it on Deycon.  Two or three times he was under the box and jumped up at Deycon and startled him. Then Deycon got the idea. DJ was calling him and calling him…. so Deycon swatted the box off DJ and there was another screech of laughter. The final stroke was when the little guy tried again and Deycon went over and just laid down on the extended flap preventing the baby from throwing the box off. You can only fool this big guy just so many times.  

– Written by Eileen, Foster Mom in New York.

Deycon’s Story: Flying Solo

It’s been two weeks since Bear crossed the rainbow bridge. I didn’t really realize how much it affected Deycon.  As I said before, he’s slept by my bed since then, but is now back to his usual antics. When friends read this blog they think I’m making this all up, but seriously, you just can’t.

Deycon is still locked in battle with the Nerf war and Rocky, the squirrel. I’ve become so accustomed to his squirrel adventures that I barely wake up to let him try, try again. I hear the whine and I open the door. Recently, I was quite glad that I had locked the door one night, because it gave me a moment to wake up a little more. While turning the lock, I noticed it was still dark outside. Rocky doesn’t usually come around until the sun is up. Just on a hunch I turned on the deck light. It wasn’t Rocky…. It was one of those “squirrels” with the big white stripe down its back. I turned the light out very quickly and distracted Deycon for a few minutes until Pepe Le Pew was off the deck and gone.

Wildlife around here is more than this city girl can handle sometimes. Now that the weather is warmer we get to go out more and since Deycon is such a big puppy, I was leaving my bedroom door open.  There is a screen door flap that he can use to go in and out of the yard while I’m gone.  Notice I said WAS leaving open. Last week, after a particularly bizarre evening at work, it was one thing after another. Wearily, I get in the front door, call for him and he doesn’t come. Twice more I called and finally, Deycon came running up and did “The Deycon Pounce.” We say our hellos, I let him out and filled his water bowl and I headed off for bed. Usually he’s in front of my jumping and playing all the way. I noticed it was strange that he wasn’t and I soon found out why. I hadn’t realized that if he can get out…. Someone can get in. Sitting there on my bed was a raccoon! I tell you it was 23 feet tall, weighed 382 pounds had claws the size of elephants and was just as startled to see me as I was to see him! I let out a scream and he ran out the screen flap. I’ll never be able to identify the culprit. He was wearing a mask. But don’t worry about Deycon, he was hiding behind me the whole time.

The next night I walked in again to no Deycon greeting. He’s usually waiting by the door but I noticed he was sitting in the kitchen half a room away, tail wagging and ears at attention. Several things happened all at once… apparently when I came in my boys were expecting “the enemy”, I was bombarded with Nerf bullets and Deycon joined the fray trying to catch as many as possible, I ducked, he sprang and my boys ran for cover. They’re lucky they’re not all homeless now!

Having this guy around is the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. As long as I keep the coffee table and night stands clear we’ll be fine. Well actually, if we don’t, he’ll do it for us. As one of my human boys says, “That tail is lethal!”

A few months ago Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet built Deycon has his own Facebook page as a Public Figure. He and Snoco another foster pet and conspiracy brother chat and write about their adventures.  “Deycon” posted that hopefully the next outing to Petco wouldn’t involve the State Police. We finally made an uneventful trip. Deycon is now well known and recognized when we go. I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing. He’s big and friendly and I get a chance to tell everyone about him and Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet with every new friend he makes. He’s also known at the dog park as the Gentle Giant, or “that foster dog.” We’ve seen a lot of the same families, although we haven’t seen Peanut again or for that matter that little Chihuahua.

He is such a big guy that he gets into trouble just by circumstance. I have been dieting for weeks now and finally gave in to temptation. I was making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the counter and left it there to get the jelly from the fridge. I came back to find only the plain side of bread and to see Deycon eating something and jumping up in the air. I hurt myself laughing when I realized that he was trying to jump up to get at the peanut butter that was stuck on the roof of his mouth. He looked so embarrassed and I wanted to help, but just kept laughing so hard. Poor pup. When he “wrote” on his Facebook page about it, his mom wrote… “eh…table food and jumping. all that obedience school gone to waste!”

His mom told me that he was going to be my best buddy and follow me all around. She certainly wasn’t kidding. When I have a bad day, he nudges me and flips my arm on him for attention. If I don’t get up at the crack of dawn to let him out he sits by my bed and whines. Last week, her prediction became startling reality for me. During the night, I had to make a trip to the little nurse’s room and didn’t realize he was right at the foot of the bed. He wrote on his page…. “I’ve got a question…. You’ve all seen my picture, right? I’m not a little guy by any means. So tell me this… as big as I am, how can you possibly miss me? Even if you don’t turn the light on… ROFB!!! Eileen hit that door hard.” Try explaining a bruised cheek to people at work as “tripped over the dog.” No one believes you.

Last week when we went to the county dog park, there was no one there. Okay, so it was 7 in the morning and it was rainy! We wandered around and found a “different” kind of dog park. It was a petting zoo more or less. We learned that the huge dogs that humans call horses just give funny looks when my buddy is around. Then as he put on his page, there was a tiny puppy with a shell whose arms and legs disappeared when he sniffed it. Lastly there were the giant dogs called cows that don’t like to be barked at. I don’t think the caretakers were too amused.

He is such a curious puppy, too. He sniffs at anything and everything. On Tuesday there was a tadpole about the size of a quarter on the front steps. After a long walk, we approached the porch and the tiny frog jumped right up at him, hit him in the side of his face and tumbled back onto the steps. A little insulted, Deycon leaned in to sniff the little thing and it leapt. I’m not sure who made the longest jump, but my money is on Deycon.

Bear was pretty well known by the local State Police. He would wander the neighborhood and they brought him home so many times, they didn’t even knock anymore; they just opened the door and let him in. Deycon and I visited the barracks to thank them and to let them know Bear was gone. A familiar face met us by the door and the first thing the Trooper said was, “You better keep him inside. He’s NEVER going to fit in the car.” By the time we left Deycon had won them all over with that precious look of his.

 Written by Eileen, Foster Mom in New York.

Deycon’s Story: As Time Goes On…

Deycon has been part of our family for 8 months now. He is the biggest most playful puppy ever. Even though he is 120 pounds he still thinks he’s a lap dog. He also has such a personality!! He can practically speak. Each of us can understand which yelp is which. There’s one for “come play with me” another for “I’m hungry” and another when he tattles on Bear (my dog) for doing something wrong.  They both want to play with the same toy at the same time. If Deycon drops it to go to another, Bear drops the first and goes after the new one. As best as the old man can, he tries to wrestle. As I’ve said his hind end doesn’t work so well, so he more hops than runs. 

Since the weather started to change, we’ve noticed an almost daily visitor: a local squirrel that is tormenting Deycon. He comes out of the tree that hangs over the back deck and sits there staring in at the dogs. There have been times when he’ll actually knock at the window. Deycon lets out a high pitched whine like bark and starts jumping up and down and that’s a lot of dog to jump! Of course by the time I open the door the squirrel is practically in the next county.  The next morning he reappears on the table on the deck, looking in. The routine would begin again: the whine, the door and the chase. One morning, Deycon shot out the door, down the stairs and practically jumped up the tree, The squirrel, which we’ve dubbed Rocky, quietly sat on the branch over Deycon just watching him. We all swear he does it on purpose.

As everyone knows, New York had a rough winter and exercising at the dog park was very limited and the pups rarely made it down the stairs to the yard. They were both looking a little flabby so I took both boys to the vet. He recommended Beneful, vegetable food for a month to help with the excess weight. He said I would probably notice less “waste” but that was expected. I didn’t mind that and over the course of 4 days I changed the boys food. What the vet did NOT tell me was that there would be an “aromatic” effect. HOLY COW! They were crop dusting the entire house. We had windows open and exhaust fans on! Air freshener all over! I won’t do that again!!! A few times Deycon cleared off the coffee table with that huge tail when there was an unexpected “noise” from his rear end which startled him and started a chain reaction of leaps and spills and crashes all over.
I was warned by Deycon’s mom that he didn’t like fireworks or thunder. On New Year’s we had a fireworks display across the street. It was beautiful and lasted about 20 minutes. After it was over I found Deycon shivering under the futon in the living….. crammed under there right with him was my fierce looking Rottie/Shep. Great bunch of guard dogs, these two. 225 pounds of quaking canine!!!
His mom and I exchange regular emails, especially about his antics around the neighborhood. I started to realize how much I would miss the big guy when around the beginning of March, she sent an email saying that said it was her wish that Deycon come to me for their vacations and deployments. I was so glad. It would be so hard to completely day good-bye to that gentle giant.  Deycon has his own Facebook page as a public figure…. “He” posted that Mom and I agreed on joint custody.
As the seasons changed, I like to bake more. I would take all the ingredients and put them on the counter to bring them to room temperature. My sons have developed the same habit and we have been noticing that there always seems to be no butter. Sometimes it would disappear when I knew I had put it on the counter. Blaming the boys I bought more. This disappearance would happen periodically and I was getting annoyed that they were using so much. Until I went to clean Deycon’s bed. Hidden in one of the folds were 6 butter wrappers from the last two weeks. No wonder his coat was so shiny!!! My kitchen counters are just at nose height, can’t blame the poor guy.
We have this odd shaped insects called stink bugs around. They’re called that because if you step on them, they emit this foul odor. While chasing Rocky one morning, Deycon in with one crawling on his leg. I went to get it off him, but he was too fast. From the coughing and hacking and the head shaking, I’m guessing they don’t taste too good either.
Both of my puppies like to play tug of war. It’s pretty difficult and can be kind of humorous to watch since I have all wood floors so there’s no traction and Deycon outweighs Bear. All Bear can do is lock his legs and let Deycon drag them both. Sooner or later the toy in the middle loses its innards and there’s stuffing all over. I tried getting those already deflated toys without the stuffing, but they’re not as interesting. Meanwhile the daily squirrel battle continues. The rodent was so bold as to actually knock on the glass and stand on the deck watching the jumping and yelping going on.
Early in March, my 3 sons, grown men actually, ranging In age between 19 and 24, 3 of their friends 22 though  25 and their girlfriends declared an all out Nerf war. I warned that if I got hit with so much as 1 they would all be out on the street. Bear started jumping at the shots as best he could and ran around as much as possible. Deycon, on the other hand, joined the journey. He runs into the line of fire trying to catch the bullets and runs away with them. When the current battle is over, the boys collect the bullets to reload for the next ambush.
After a week or so, they were complaining to me because they thought I was throwing out their ammunition.  An argument ensued and they bought more. On a hunch I moved Deycon’s bed and found literally hundreds of bullets. He kind of whined when I gathered them up and gave them back. Now, whether he liked it or not, he had become fair game. They will sit around corners waiting for Deycon to come near then. He rears up on his hind legs, jumps and runs, knocking over anyone or anything in his path. He honestly doesn’t realize how big he is.
Deyon arrived with 3 favorite toys, a white teddy, Tigger and a brown Teddy. Earlier this month we lost Teddy Brown. He was the victim of a freak tug of war accident. Head went one way, body the other and both warriors ended up sliding away. We rushed him to the Teddy ER, but unfortunately he had lost so much fluff on the way, he didn’t make it. Services were early the next day.
As I was sweeping the residual fluff out of my bedroom, Deycon became frightened and ran. I put the broom down to see why, and he was himself again. He followed me into my room and then ran off. OH! NO! He CAN’T be afraid of the broom!!! I tried a few things and that broom is just about the scariest thing on the face of the earth. It became so much so that he will sneak a look around a corner or into a room before entering if the broom is there, he won’t go. He refused to go to the yard through the mud room because that’s where the broom was. Finally we had to store the vile broom in the basement.
Commence Operation Ambush Deycon. My son called Deycon into the kitchen where with fully loaded Nerf guns they lay in wait. Deycon was jumping and playing with each one in turn and then finally tried to get away to the basement…. But we all know what was there..!!! so up the stairs, slam Matt against the door, slide the stool across the room, knock over a pot rack and out the back door. Bear had recently become very hard of hearing and Deycon was running interference for him. He’d nudge Bear and then run. I don’t think Bear knows why he was running, but he followed his buddy.
As I’ve said, he has a great personality. Whenever I go to PetCo, he comes with me. The last two trips have been memorable ones. First time was just after the sneak attack and finding the broom in the basement. We walk in and the salesperson says, “Horse food? In the back.” Then we see that it’s adoption day. Deycon has feline siblings so they didn’t bother him. Ferrets are another thing. He sniffed at one that jumped at him and …. Well, let’s just say they put the display back up by the next day.
Then off to the dog park. He’s pretty much the king around there and I get a chance to tell everyone about the program. That morning he was “marking his territory.” Hey, who knew Peanut’s head was right there? Later, there was a Chihuahua who was running figure eights around Deycon’s legs, yapping and snipping all the way. Deycon was ignoring him and decided to sit for a rest. He sat ON the little dog. Great aim!
Deycon’s Toy from PetCo
Next visit to PetCo didn’t go much easier. I picked up what we needed and we beeped going through the security panels. We went back to the register where the cashier re-swiped our purchase. Beep again. After the third trip, Deycon sat down and we discovered that he had a toy in his mouth ready to take home. He wrote to his mother that PetCo should know better than to leave the good toys at nose level.
My home has all wood floors which doesn’t make for good traction. Watching the dogs try to run away from the Nerf wars is like watching cartoons. Problem is it works in reverse as well. When Deycon wants to play and I ignore him, he does not accept it. This particular day I was wearing fuzzy slippery socks. He took one swipe at my leg at the precise moment and down I went. I was laughing so hard, the big guy took off and my sons came running up from the basement with jokes about earthquakes, bulldozers and Armageddon. Bunch of jokers.
He loves his stuffed animals!
When his mom gave me the list of things I needed to know about Deycon, she mentioned that he like the fuzzy stuffing in the animals. That stuffing also happens to be in some old quilts of mine. He has a favorite pillow he lays on in the living room but it isn’t quite big enough for him. I laid and old blanket next to him. That evening I found the blanket complete eviscerated and an innocent looking Deycon laying in the middle of the scene.
As I’ve said my Bear has problems with his rear hips. He and Deycon have grown so close that they actually help one another. I was working a day shift and called for them from the front door. Neither came to me, but I did hear Deycon barking. This was an unusually high pitched and urgent bark. I ran to my bedroom and found Deycon standing over Bear who was whining. Bear’s rear legs were splayed behind him in an unusual abnormal angle. He wouldn’t let me near him, snarling and snapping at me. Deycon stood right there and got between me and Bear to protect his friend.
One of my sons was finally able to get Deycon away and the rest of us spent 45 minutes trying to help Bear. When he could finally stand, we took him to our vet down the road. He was in pain, now had nerve damage and couldn’t really stand. She said that she could relieve some of the pain but that it wouldn’t take it totally away. When Bear chose me at the shelter, I promised that I would do the right thing when he told me the time had come. I looked into those big beautiful brown trusting eyes and heard him say it was time. I held onto my big guy while the team did what they had to do and whispered “I love you,” as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
When we got home, Deycon came running out to the car looking for Bear and was a little confused when he couldn’t find his brother. He knew what had happened, I know he did. He nudged, and pushed and kept my attention for the next few hours. That night he actually slept on the floor next to my bed and jumped every time I moved. For a few nights after that he slept in Bear’s bed.
It’s been a week and now he’s back to his old self.  He has about 3 deflated animals hidden under my bed, more than 100 hidden Nerf bullets and still is deathly afraid of brooms.

Each holiday I try to dress him up and send pictures to his mom and dad. Christmas was a Santa’s hat, barely kept the green tie on for St. Patrick’s Day and he tore apart the fuzzy ears for Easter…. But I got him anyway and he looks cute in his pink ears!

Written by Eileen, Foster Mom in New York.

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