Mar 24 2017

Strummer Rivas

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I’d like to thank whoever originally had him and then left him on the street. Then the people who found him and gave him his first real home. Also, the fact that they put out rat poison, which he ate. And the fact that they initially cared enough to take him to MSU Veterinary Emergency. Then that they didn’t want to pay the bill and left him there. In addition, the billing staff that accidentally allowed those people to leave the premises without putting down a required deposit. Thanks to the staff, residents, and students at MSU for taking great medical care of him. And any student that happened to walk him, or give him loving attention for the 45 days that he was at the College of Veterinary Medicine, in Ward 4, all by himself. Thanks to all my classmates, and technician students, who socialized him around the hospital. And ultrasound rotation for showing me that he could care less about different animals being paraded right in front of him. Thank you for the emergency resident who performed his neuter. Thank you to my skin for not being to irritated by his fur, and I checked, rubbing my arms up and down this dog for about a minute. Also, the hospital staff who made a waiting list for him, and my timing to be second on that list. Then, the fact that the person who was first on the list already had two dogs, and accepted her grandmother into her house for her own care, and could no longer take a third dog. Thanks to the billing staff once more, who, when the “original” owners returned on day 48 to pick up “their” dog, they noted they would need to pay for all medical services AND boarding provided for the entire stay… knowing full well that I was going to be his new owner. And also, those same “owners” for deciding that they didn’t want him as much as that bill. Thanks to my roommate Todd, and his wonderful dog Callie for providing a great, initial social environment. And for sharing ends of bones. And for the “Indy 500” across the couches. And for getting the door because it’s Dominoes. And me, for realizing that I had to be trained to know how to let him outside for the bathroom, because he didn’t make any noises. I’d also like to thank those kids that enticed him to pull out the backyard leash stake and join them for an incredibly mucky, sloppy romp through the mud of Eden Glen Townhomes. And the resulting bath, which helped me know that those things were hated, would forever be difficult… and that he could walk on walls. Thanks to the dirty laundry basket for showing me that he really wanted to sleep in bed with me. And to me, for immediately allowing it after that. Thanks to my friends, who knew I couldn’t leave vet school without adopting something. And my parents for being shocked I hadn’t told them for about 3 weeks after I did. Then thanks to them for watching him whenever I was out of town. And providing extra care when we were first at home with them after graduation. And for being his second owners. Thanks to Mackenzie for teaching him how to bark… although maybe that wasn’t the best idea. Thanks to my girlfriend at the time for allowing him his first exposure to cats, and his first love of regular traveling, to “go”. Thanks to everyone who ever crossed the street because I was walking him, and he was a scary, scary “pit bull”. Thanks to the setter who broke through his collar to race across the street, and attack him, causing him to jump into my arms, tearing my shirt, and raking my skin… to prove how “scary, scary” he wasn’t. Or the golden retriever who stalked him across the lawn. Or the akita who jumped over the deck fence. Or the labrador who broke through the screen door. Or the rat terrier who lunged at the end of his yard chain. Or the baby bunnies, left by an immature mother, in my parent’s backyard, that he didn’t even touch. All who set to prove it some more by his inaction… Thanks to Animal Cancer and Imaging Center, and their “Survivor Picnic” that showed that he was mostly interested in being loyal to what I thought was right and not acting crazy around a large group of dogs. Thanks to my new girlfriend who loved him a lot, who then became my fiancee, and finally wife. Thank you for taking to him, as if he were originally your own, which he ultimately became. Thanks to her parents, who also invited him in when needed, for “baby-sitting”, even if my parents were annoyed they didn’t get the extra chance. Thanks for allowing him access to the Vancour pack. Thank you to every veterinary hospital I ever worked at who let me bring him in for his continuing medical care, as I tended to not be at any particular place for very long. And special thanks to those that let me bring him for a day long visit when I did. Thanks to Clawson High School for the original design of your football field, that provided him a wonderful, mini-dog park which he loved immensely and allowed him a safe space for going off leash, even if he did bonk his head multiple times on the bleacher posts due to his poor eyesight. And thanks for waiting until he was too old to be able to walk around as much any more before the remodeling which eliminated the enclosed “dog” area … I’m sure this was your intent. Thanks to the Renaissance Festival for providing a horse chasing situation, as well as additional proof of good-behavior, and finally a first realization that he had gotten older, by needing to be carried back to the car. Thanks to Paul Spence for a beautiful painting which I thoroughly love… even if it isn’t “hung” on the wall, I like it where it has always been, and will continue to be… Thanks to anyone who has had to put up with his special “pre-whine” over and over again. Extra special thanks to those that didn’t even complain. Thanks to CrossFit for making me fit enough to carry him up and down the stairs, every day, for his final few months, when he needed it the most…. despite my back pain. Additional non-specific thanks to any person or dog that he’s ever met… or wanted to meet, that openly invited him. Additional thanks to every squirrel, bird, and rabbit who, either knowingly or unknowingly, enticed him to chase them and show his true colors, even in his final days, with his restricted motion, at the park he loved so much. Thanks again to my wife, my parents, and my in-laws, who, while they won’t miss him as much as me, they’re all pretty damn close… And finally, actually, insanely, unexpectedly, to cancer… While it might seem absurd, his cancer gave me a work-up to his goodbye. I got to know that there was a time frame. I got to give him all that I could, while he was still here. Not everybody has that chance, to realize that you have to give that little bit extra that you’ve been not paying attention to because of time, because of being busy, because of something else… because they’ll always be here… but eventually, they won’t. And that’s what you always have to realize. You have to fully be thankful for the time that you have, and the memories that you create. There will never be another Strummer… but that’s OK. Because I’m thankful that there was at least one…

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kimballah | Pet Memorials

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