A Tribute To Brutus
A Tribute To Brutus, My Beloved Best Friend
I have lived a life filled with animals, both professionally and personally. Animals have been my love and passion for as long as I can remember. Growing up I was always surrounded with a least a couple of dogs and have kept that a part of my life ever since.
I did not want another dog when Brutus came into our lives. But keeping him was one of the best decisions I ever made. He was with me for 14 short years. He comforted me when I really needed it, encouraged me to play and to always see the joy in life. Eventually I had to make the gut wrenching decision to have him euthanized. The hardest thing is deciding when to put an animal down. No matter what or when you decide you always feel guilty about the decision you made. Brutus had an aggressive form tooth cancer that despite several vets and multiple surgeries kept coming back.
You are stilled missed every day my friend. This lens is for you.
A Little About Brutus's Human
Mona Majorowicz of Wild Faces Gallery
My name is Mona Majorowicz I am a professional artist who has been making my living selling my work for some time now. I am an animal artist, (meaning I paint critters) who works primarily in Oil Pastel or Water Soluble Pencil.
I own and operate Wild Faces Gallery with my husband Mike in a small rural town in Iowa. There we sell my original artwork and prints, as well as do quality custom framing and offer Giclee printing for other artists as well as for ourselves. I have over 20 years experience in the art and framing industry, both as a business owner and as a working artist.
I write a regular column for Apples 'N Oats (an equestrian magazine) about painting horses. If you would like to see real life photos of Catch, or want to follow the painting's progress (with full story) from start to finish please visit my blog, Fur In The Paint
Animals are my passion and art is how I chose to express it.!)
Brutus Was A Gift From Above
Little Yellow Labrador Of Love
At the time Brutus came into our lives, I was working as a vet tech and we already had three greyhounds adopted off the track. We lived in a small house and had no more room for another large dog.
We lived a few miles outside of Rapid City, SD on a farm, when late one night my husband Mike noticed someone driving in our yard. Some people had found this puppy wandering on the road and thought it might be ours. We answered in the negative and they left. A few minutes Mike went back out because "he had a feeling" and sure enough they left the puppy behind.
I was working full time and we already had 3 dogs I was adamant that we weren't keeping this one. We took him to the local animal shelter the following morning. And the day after that, we returned and bought him back.
More Than Anything Else Brutus Loved To Play
He would make a game of just about anything.
When we first moved to Iowa I was stricken with a lung infection picked up from stripping wallpaper. It very nearly killed me. Once home from the hospital I spent weeks in an easy chair because laying down made me cough and I felt like I was drowning. I could barely walk into the next room without losing my breath. Brutus stayed with me every minute. If I went to the bathroom, he followed.
Brutus loved all types of games and made up several himself. Tug-O-War was a favorite. Of course me being so weak, I certainly was in no shape for that rough and tumble activity. So Brutus devised a game of tug-o-war from my cough drop wrappers, of which there were many. He would carefully take one end in his mouth and wait for me to grab the other. Then the gentlest game of tug-o-war imaginable began. If I won he quickly grasped his end of the wrapper and tried again. If he won, he'd pull back wiggling, looking all proud of himself for a second or two and then promptly offered me the other end to try again. When the delicate paper finally tore, the game was over.
I know my recovery would have been longer and more agonizing without my dear Brutus.
Without A Doubt Brutus's Favorite Toy Was The Kong - A Tough Durable Toy That Lasted His Lifetime Of Continuous Play
The Kong is great for several reasons.
* When you throw it, it bounces off in random directions. This is great fun for a retriever type dog.
* It is an excellent chew toy
* Brutus most loved his kong when he used it for a megaphone. Yup, thaaat's right. Whenever we'd be playing and he'd be growling and barking often he'd run and pick up his kong toy, always holding the smaller opening towards the inside of his mouth (the better to amplify that way) and then bark and growl through it. And it really worked well as a megaphone. And he used it all the time that way. Not like he wasn't a big enough dog anyway but is definitely added a bigger dog sound to him.
Brutus Was The Epitome Of The Labrador Breed
Brutus was a Yellow Labrador
Brutus was an energetic sort. Labs are known for that quality. My husband and I hiked the Black Hills every chance we got and Brutus was always willing to go. He loved water (of course) but he also just loved the outdoors and traveling.
He was a crazy pup up until he was two. Many a time I thought that perhaps he was more than I could handle. A little after 2 years of ages he mellowed out and became the most wonderfully obedient dog. Brilliant and trainable. It's light a light bulb just got turned on.
I did some obedience training with him and eventually could control him from across the yard with hand signals. He really was all that could be asked for in a dog.
Books On Obedience Training You Dog - Working Dogs Are Happiest When Given Something To Do
About The Labrador Breed
According to wikipedia
The Labrador Retriever (also Labrador, or Lab for short) is one of several kinds of retriever, a type of gun dog. A breed characteristic is webbed paws for swimming, useful for the breed's original purpose of retrieving fishing nets. This and their subsequent use as hunting companions, gave them the name retriever. The dogs of this breed are very loving, kind and compassionate to their master. The Labrador is the most popular breed of dog (by registered ownership) in the world (more ...)
Books On The Labrador Breed - Very Easy Going Breed But They Are High Energy Particularly When Young
Labs make great family pets but they are working dogs. They have a high play drive and are happiest when doing something. Up to 2-3 years of age they are often very high energy and can become a problem for people not expecting such an interactive animal.
It is always best to research any dog breed before adding it to your family. Because while every dog is unique there are some common breed traits that may or may not mix well with your life situation.
In The End It Was Cancer That Took Him.
It's surprising how quickly 14 years just flies by. His whole lifetime in the blink of an eye.
Around the age of twelve we noticed he was having issues with his mouth. SO we took him to our local vet. Since we live in a rural agricultural area the local vets are really geared toward working with larger animals. He referred us to another vet in a larger city about an hour away. There he had the first of three surgeries. They removed his right canine tooth and a small cancerous growth growing beneath it.
Many months later we returned and had to have the tumor removed again. Six months later it was back. At that point we were referred to the Ames Veterinary Laboratory. These are the go to guys for strange and bizarre. He had his third surgery here (which I decided whatever the outcome would be his last.). They had said they'd never seen anything like it and sent it off for further study.
The third surgery bought us another year together. Of which I am so grateful. When the tumor had come back again to the point of being too painful he was 14 years old. It was the hardest decision I ever made. I stayed in the room with him and held him while they injected the euthanasia solution. I held his held and told he was a good dog and that I loved him.
Having been a vet tech I had assisted in many euthanizations. I guess I would have thought this would have toughened me up a bit. But every time we had to do it to one of my own, I sobbed inconsolably.
I picture him running happily in the afterlife. Full of energy and youth. And I hope to one day see him again.
Goodbye my friend. I miss you still.
Books On Coping With The Loss Of A Pet - For me the loss of Brutus was like the loss of a family member. Even after all these years I think of him fondly everyd
A Good Toy For The Older Dog
Once Brutus started having trouble with his mouth we changed over to a softer frisbee that was easier on his teeth and gums. Even as an old man he still wanted to play more than anything else.