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              Oso's Last Gift                 

Oso started to have bad mornings, would feel better in the afternoon, and in the evening, he could eat.  I would tempt him with any tasty treat I could think of, but often he just wasn’t interested.


It had been clear to me for weeks that he was getting gradually weaker.  We had been to the vet multiple times, though they could not make any diagnosis without doing invasive testing.  I was convinced that he just couldn’t survive major surgery at this point.  The visits to the vet were actually good for us both as Oso loved to go anywhere there were people and dogs and it would perk us both up. 


Oso was with me from the time he was seven weeks old and came to me at a time in my life when I needed him a great deal.  His natural exuberance and joy lifted me up every day from the difficult emotional state I was being weighed down with. He was born an extrovert and an optimist in the extreme, which filled the void in me that had been empty for so long.


Early in our journey together, Oso and I discovered the dog show culture.  Many commented that he was handsome enough to finish his championship in conformation, and from that humble beginning, I found a new passion, hobby and many new friends.  Oso went on to become an AKC Champion!  We continued our venture by participating in obedience training and agility.  Together we traveled to New York, Georgia, Wisconsin, Iowa, Texas, Kentucky, Illinois, Nebraska, North Dakota, Michigan and even Canada.  He was my navigator, constantly looking out the windshield to every new adventure ahead.  With all our hard work, in the end Oso was graced with the title Ch. Oso Osado, NA, CGC. 


Oso Osado, in Spanish, means Bold Bear.  He had been my best friend for nine years and now my best friend was sick.


On Saturday morning, May 12th, Oso was very weak.  He turned his head away whenever I offered him food.  All I could do that day was to stay home, watching, waiting and tending to him between my household chores.  Early that afternoon, he marched to the front door and turned to say “take me somewhere!”  I was finishing one of my chores and then had plans for a bike ride.  I would have to “take him somewhere” a little later.  In all honestly, I was in denial about how sick my friend really was.


Half way through my bike ride, I had an overwhelming feeling that I had to get back to Oso and take him for a walk.  My idea was to take him and his friend, Rose, in my truck to a pleasant walking place nearby, as it was too far for him to walk from home in his weakened state.  My plan was urgent and I pedaled home as fast as I could.  The veil of denial about Oso’s condition had been breeched.


Gathering leashes, collars and the two dogs, I drove to our Lilac Lane path that was in full bloom. Rose was on her Flexilead but I decided that Oso should walk free as he was my only Schipperke who could be safe off leash. I praised him for being such a trustworthy friend and we set about on our walk.  He turned to give me a long look, full of meaning only a true dog lover knows, with love shining in his dark brown eyes.


We walked the length of Lilac Lane, Oso trotting the entire way.  This morning he could barely walk and now he was showing me his beautiful gait. At the end, we turned around and he continued his prance all the way back.


When it came time to go back to the truck, Oso just kept trotting, keeping his pace ahead of Rose and myself.  I watched him for a while to see what he was up to.  He didn’t stop until I called his name.  He then swung around and stopped square, looking me full in my eyes, saying “Please…I don’t want it to stop.”


Oh, my Little Boy, I don’t want you to stop either.  Tears fall every time I think of this moment.  His body failing him but he wanted me to know that his heart wanted to keep walking with me.


That was our last walk together.  My friend was gone four days later.


I had not been convinced up to that point that dogs talk to us, nor had I been the greatest at hearing what they had to say.  I think Oso knew he had to tell me in a physical way to make sure I got his message.  His gift to me was that message and the knowledge that he was most certainly talking to me…and this time I listened. 


Braken Desert Rose TDI (Rose)

Ch. Mystik Skydance Janet Reno ROM (Reno)