Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bighead Todd

This is our little Todd, lovingly named Bighead Todd because as you can see he wasn't quite normal when he was born. His eyes were placed far apart and his head was overly large. He was neurologically damaged, but he ate and grew and thrived. He was born six years ago in a litter of seven, all girls except for him. His mother was a wonderful mini Poodle named Precious who was turned in to a shelter with her seven babies because her owner decided she couldn't deal with the the babies once they were born. We took them in when the shelter called and asked us to take them. They wouldn't have lived on the concrete for very long. So we took Precious and her tiny sausage puppies.

Here is a photo of our Todd when he was about 8 weeks old. He was so adorable but never normal. He spent much of his time alone. He didn't learn to negotiate the stairs until he was almost a year old. I used to work with him by placing each paw on the stair to teach him to go down. As he got older, his phobias really started to manifest themselves. He was terrified of anything he didn't recognize and sometimes that included me and Bob. If he saw a shadow outside when it was dark, he would scream and head inside. But despite all of this, we loved him dearly. He was our handicapped child and as long as we could keep his world safe for him, we would.
This is one of my favorite pictures of baby Todd with his sister Mocha. He loved his sisters and especially his mother. Here he is snuggled up with Precious before she was adopted.

He really missed herwhen she went to live at her new home. We kept the litter together until the babies were at least 12 weeks old and two of them lived with us much longer. Todd became more insecure after Precious was adopted and only interacted with his siblings, so we kept Karma for him. They played by chasing each other around a bush in our yard. Karma would then jump into the middle of the bush and poor Todd would keep going around looking for her.

In the last few years, Todd developed a number of other medical problems. He was allergic to different foods. He became hypothyroid. He developed an obsessive disorder called psychogenic polydipsia, in which he drank large amounts of water obsessively. We had him tested for Cushings and Addison's and ran tests to rule out a physical cause. There was nothing we could find that would cause him to drink as much water as he could, whenever he could. It seems harmless, but it was taking a toll on his kidneys because they were losing their ability to concentrate urine. He began having seizures, which had become increasingly worse. I think they were tied to his obsessive drinking, which we tried to stem by watching his intake but it was heartbreaking to watch him search for something to drink. His continuous search for water also meant that he urinated copious amounts whenever the urge came upon him. He was incapable of understanding the need to potty outside, so we just kept old towels and blankets everywhere to absorb the urine. Needless to say, we did tons of laundry every day.

As Todd got older, his ears began to stand up. He ended up having poodle size ears that stood straight up like his Pomeranian father's. But I thought he was beautiful. His fur was a shiny mixture in shades of chocolate brown, and it was thick and wavy. He did not look like a dog that had a thyroid problem. But as beautiful as Todd was, every year brought more of his irrational fears to the surface. Grooming became almost impossible. There were days when he would not come near me or Bob even though we'd raised him from the time he was a newborn baby. Bathing him, grooming him, trimming nails was tortuous for him and for us. There were times when I thought he would have heart failure because he was so terrified.

Today, we let our Todd go. His seizures were getting worse. He was having them two times or more a week. We wanted him to know peace even though it meant we would lose him. Why is it that the more understanding and care, the more a spirit depends on you, the more attached you become? Is it because you realize how much they need you, or is it because you don't realize how much you come to need caring for them? I don't know what the answer is, but I know that Todd will forever be in my heart. I loved his precious face, his huge ears, his look that said he knew me. And I miss him -- very much. I hope you're finally at peace, my Toddman, and having a ball at the Bridge, our Bighead Todd.
". . .I hope you never look back, but ya never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you left. . . ,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,

I hope you know somebody loves you. . . ,
Yeah, this, is my wish."

Rascall Flats


Anonymous said...

Soory to hear about Todd - Kathryne

Knatolee said...

Oh, I am so sorry you have lost Bighead Todd! What a wonderful little dog he was. His life was just too short. I'm sending you hugs, and zen for your sweet doggy at RB.