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A Tribute To Brutus

Updated on November 22, 2014

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.

More Photos of Brutus

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Do You Have A Pet That You Loved?

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    • gatornic15 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story of Brutus. It is hard losing a dog, because they are more like a friend or a child, than just a dog.

    • profile image

      entertainmentev 5 years ago

      What a beautiful tribute to Brutus. He sounds like a wonderful friend. thank you for sharing! I lost one of my dogs, Christina, when I was young and your story resonates with me.

      My dog Lucca is my best friend and I am thankful for him everyday.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Have faith that you will be with him again. What a beautiful tribute.

    • awakeningwellness profile image

      awakeningwellness 5 years ago

      I am glad that you had so many wonderful years together, although I am sure the time seemed way too short. I have lost 2 retrievers to cancer and it is about the hardest thing ever to go through.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have had a number of great pets I have loved greatly. Brutus seems like a sweetie.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Beautiful tribute. Brutus lives on.

    • rwoman profile image

      rwoman 6 years ago

      We are pretty partial to labs at our house! At one time we had a matched set of black labs (one male and one female). Currently we have our rescued lab -- Max (http://www.squidoo.com/meet-the-maxinator) who is just the sweetest dog. He is just 3 so hopefully we have many more years with him.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Great tribute lens to a wonderful pet. My little girl, Minnie, is approaching 14 and I dread the day she goes. *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Angel Blessings for Dogs on Squidoo

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Brutus reminds me of my yellow lab Tyson who passed away in May. I still miss him every day too. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image
      Author

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      @HorseAndPony LM: Frankly I get teary whenever I think about him too much. All my critter are special but he was just so little bit more so. :)

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 6 years ago

      I have many pets that I loved that are now gone. I wish they would never leave. I loved reading your story about Brutus and now can't stop crying. Pets are such a wonderful gift.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      What a beautiful story ... Brutus was very special. I've loved many pets and have always had an assortment of rescued critters. My last batch of rescued kittens just turned 11 years old. The time does go by fast.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 6 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      This is a lovely story. You were obviously meant to have Brutus. Lensrolled to my dogs lenses.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      You know, I wonder what it is about the 2s? You know, terrible 2s? Our Boo-tie the cat just hit 2 and she is acting like a dog or something. Love that name of Brutus. Ruff!