Garbo

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Garbo is a 63 lb. husky/rottweiler(?) mix. He is rambunctious, but he has the ability to switch his focus from play to "work" with amazing speed. He has the undercoat, tail and behavior of a Husky, but his markings and head remind us of a Rott. His build is lean but muscular. He can run like the wind, and pull like a ski boat. After a big day of running on the farm, he likes to curl up on the bed and chase bunnies in his sleep.

history

In early 1993, Greta was out on the balcony of our apartment when she started barking. I investigated and saw a medium-sized black dog wandering about. We went out and retrieved him. He had no tags, was intact, and had grown into his collar. His undercoat was immense.

Neighbors said that the dog had been wandering the area for weeks. (Why hadn't I noticed him earlier?!) The police and the shelter said they had no reports of such a dog being lost. I took him to our vet to have him vaccinated and cleaned up. He was to be neutered on Monday.

My wife had been bugging me for a little lap dog and I knew that Garbo did not fit her idea of a lap dog, so I planned to wait to tell her about him until she returned from her road show that weekend. We went out to eat that night, and as we were pulling in, Kitty said something about what a nice size Greta had turned out to be (only 45 lbs.). She knew that I was looking for another dog (for me), so I took the opportunity to feel her out and asked "What would you think of a dog that's just ten pounds larger?" She thought that would be o.k., so I asked "Well, what about one that's twenty pounds larger - maybe a husky mix?" (She had already decided that she didn't like Rotts so I made sure not to mention them.) She said that it would depend on the dog, but she thought that if we found such a dog, it would probably be o.k. I said "Great! We pick him up on Monday." She was not amused.

She demanded to see the dog that night. He was not cleaned up, but Kitty fell in love with his big fluffy face. I told her that she just had to say the word and he'd be a farm dog, but she never did - and now I know she never will.

therapy

On December 9, 2001, Garbo passed his Delta Society Pet Partners evaluation with Kitty and me. He does have a restriction from working with "medically fragile" people, but we have had a wonderful time working with the fantastic staff and children of Wabash Center Kids' Connection.

Garbo wears his sledding harness during visits and does a great job being walked by the children (while I follow). He is also adept at taking and catching treats from the children, and finding treats that they have hidden.

On January 19, 2002, Garbo earned his AKC Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dogs International certifications.

On March 14, 2002, Garbo was featured in an article in the Lafayette Journal and Courier

cancer

Garbo stopped using his front left paw in October of 2002 while we were in Merced, CA. The vet there told us a couple of times that it was a pulled muscle or just arthritis. When we returned to Indiana, we checked him again and suspected muscle damage. After a second visit, we decided to consult a specialist in Indianapolis. One look at the radiographs was all it took for him to declare it was most probably osteosarcoma.

This came as quite a shock to us. After reading on the subject, we amputated his leg as quickly as we could (in January). The biopsy was much harder on him than the amputation. He was soon up and getting around well.

Kitty stayed in Indiana with the boys while I returned to California so that Garbo could go through chemotherapy at Purdue. When we were all back in California, we had a checkup at UC Davis where another bombshell hit us. The chemotherapy had not prevented the cancer from aggressively spreading to Garbo's lungs. We were told he would not last long.

Garbo got worse over those months. He coughed horribly and tired quickly, but he managed to work a short session at Frontier Middle School to introduce Grazie to animal-assisted therapy, and he attended two Paws to Read sessions at the Tippecanoe Library. He still liked to be outside but he couldn't walk far, so I modified a wagon for him to ride while Grazie pulled. It worked beautifully.

Garbo stopped eating and walking, and today, on June 22, 2003, we took him for his last walk, spent the day outside (with a picnic thanks to the Raos), and ended his life at Purdue.

Garbo was an outstanding dog. We miss him.



owned by: kyler

URL: http://lairds.org/Kyler/family/Garbo/

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