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A Comfort

01/10/2012

Cody was an unhappy pup last night. I heard him whimpering from his bed around 11:30pm, so I went over to check on him. Nothing seemed to be the matter but it was obvious he wasn’t feeling too well. When I knelt down to cuddle him, he rested his head on my shoulder and began licking at my arm. I figured his stomach might have been bothering him because he was also licking his lips a lot, so I gave him a Pepcid to see if it would settle him. I decided if the pup wasn’t feeling up to snuff, it would be alright if he slept on the bed for a night, so I invited Cody up to lay next to me while I slept. He was definitely pleased with the idea, though after about 2 hours, he decided, “to hell with this,” and got down and went back to bed. He wasn’t whimpering anymore, so either being near me settled him or the Pepcid did the trick. Either way, I was glad to be able to be there for my pooch when he needed me.

Cody has time and time again proved what a special dog he is. We got him from Fallston Animal Rescue back in March of 2008. He had been abandoned by his former family and left at a kill shelter. The good people at FARM saved him from that terrible fate on the date of his schedule euthanization and we were lucky enough to find and adopt him. He was 11 months old when we got him and he has been such a wonderful member of the family since, always happy to see us, expressing love and compassion and regularly enjoying life. We have seen him through two massive knee surgeries (one on each knee) to repair a degenerative joint with which he was born. On both knees they repaired a torn ACL, torn meniscus and osteoarthritis while simultaneously performing an osteotomy that corrected and leveled off his tibial plateau (the angle at which his knee sits on his lower leg bone). These surgeries not only corrected his issues, but freed him of pain from which is was likely suffering for the entirety of his life. Not long after the second surgery site healed, Cody was behaving like the dog he had never been, playing and jumping and having fun, able to use his rear legs in ways he was never able to before. He has built up more muscle since then and as a result is up to a meaty and healthy 90 pounds.

His disposition with Eric is a sight to behold. He seems to know that Eric is a little person, not able to protect himself or handle the strength that MB or I can, and Cody lessens his grip, lowers his play level and respects Eric’s space when he is around. In his toddler meanderings, Eric will of course trip over Cody, attempt to pet him a little too rambunctiously or, and we are trying to teach him to put a stop to this, attempt to whack poor Cody in the head with his toys. Through it all, Cody doesn’t react, but instead looks at Eric with this sort of longing stare that says, “Kid, no matter what you do to me, I’ve got your back.” He’s been that way since the day they met, when Eric was only 5 days old. Cody took one look, one sniff and parked himself at his feet, as close as possible without covering him, protecting him. Whenever Eric cried, Cody was at the bassinet, attempting to peer over the side to make sure his “little brother” was alright. Theirs is a friendship that will last a lifetime.

Empathy is a trait often found in dogs, and Cody is no exception. He has a way of knowing when we are down or sick and does his best to convey comfort and care in such an unbridled, real way that your heart can’t help but feel warmed. He will lay with us, rest his head against us or just come closer for contact when he feels we need it. Our moods can directly affect his, as well; if we are nervous or agitated, he will pick up on it and feel that way as well. When we are happy, he is more relaxed and laid back.

I often describe Cody as our “dark shedding companion,” a monicker that earned quite a big laugh from MB the first time I said it. In a more detailed manner, I describe Cody as a son, a brother and best friend all in one loyal package. I can’t imagine a dog more suited for us, for our family, than that lovable, tall, lanky, goofy and affectionate black lab mix that will undoubtedly be attacking my legs when I come through the door later tonight.

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