Snowman

Snowman was a gorgeous, giant, lover-boy whose time was unfortunately numbered before he ever reached the comfort of our rescue.  Despite his quick demise, we are very grateful for the time we got to spend with our Snowman. 

This is Snowman’s story.

It was December 21st, 2010, and we were two days into a vicious storm that would not stop dumping rain.  I got a call that morning from a local Pastor’s wife.  She told me that, late the night before, two huge dogs showed up on her front porch.  The dogs’ physical appearance seemed to match the weather that they had been surviving in-just plain nasty. They were soaking wet (obviously), smelled awful, were filthy as pigs, and appeared as though they hadn’t eaten properly for many months.  Everything about their appearance was pitiful, but because they are Great Pyrenees, you could see their inherent  majesty lurking beneath all of the grime.

I drove down to pick them up and we headed to the vet.  Frosty rode with me and Snowman rode with the Pastor and his wife.  Frosty tried to drive the entire way to the vet and he was noticeably affected by being split up from his buddy, Snowman.  I kept Frosty off my lap long enough to get to the vet only to have him jump out of the truck when we got there and start doing cartwheels in the parking lot.  I chased him around, looking like a moron, until Frosty saw his buddy Snowman and went up to say hi.  We got a leash on him and brought him in for evaluation.

Both Frosty and Snowman were extremely underweight. Frosty came in at 73, and Snowman at 78; each of them should weigh well over 100 lbs.  The boys spent the night there, for observation, and came home the next day.  Though they had come home, they were both under the weather and would need some considerable TLC and careful evaluation to determine where they stood physically.  Both dogs had weak appetites, which shouldn’t have been the case considering how skinny they were.   We gave them some deworming medication and started cooking them chicken to mix in with their wet food.  This paid off and over the next few days, they started to get their appetites back.  They were worked in to the pack at the rescue and seemed to really settle down.  

Frosty and Snowman spent the next several days enjoying rescue life.  Snowman, like a true Pyrenees, fell right into the role of rescue guardian.  He patrolled the fence-line and would bark to alert us of any company.  Frosty, who is not much of a barker, was content to folic around with the other boys and just be a life-lovin’ dog.  When they weren’t in the yard, they were working on the computer with my dad-Frosty’s head on one side of his lap, and Snowman’s on the
other.

Frosty and Snowman had balanced out emotionally so we figured it was time get them groomed and looking good on the outside as well.  Because their physical well being was still uncertain and because they are so big, a grooming would also provide a more thorough assessment of their condition.  A good grooming would reveal any ticks, bumps, lacerations or anything else that we may have missed in their initial evaluation.  I dropped them both off at the Pet Lodge to get beautified. 

Not long thereafter, I received a call from the Pet Lodge  saying that Snowman had had some kind of a seizure and that they had taken him to the Vet.  This was not good.  I rushed to the Vet and found Snowman stable but obviously very traumatized.  He could barely stand on his own and his equilibrium was shot.  The doctor ran blood tests that showed it was probably not a seizure, but that his liver was noticeably damaged and there were a couple other anomalies that weren’t good.  Snowman was very skinny, but had a belly like a cow-swollen and distended.  So the next test was X-ray.

The X-ray painted grim picture; there was so much liquid in his belly/abdomen that the imaging couldn’t even make out his large vital organs (liver, kidneys).  The liquid was either water-like fluid that was being created by pressure on his internal organs or tumorous fluid from something that had burst.  Either way, the prognosis was not good.  Frosty either had a large inoperable mass in his stomach or the mass had already burst.  At this point there was nothing we could do to save him.  We could only tap his abdomen with a needle to see what was killing him.  I helped the vet techs shave my big man’s belly (to prep him for the tap) and then I had some time to say goodbye.  When I was in the kennel with Snowman he leaned on me with all his weight and looked up with half scared, half conceding eyes.  I wished there was more I could do to comfort him at that moment, but isn’t that always the case.  I hugged him, told him that he was a good dog and that I loved him; and then I took his tag.  In point of fact, there was nothing more that we could have done for  Snowman-his fate had been sealed by the tragically irresponsible owners that had let them loose.  

The ground was frozen at the time, so I had to wait a couple weeks to put Snowman to rest.  He’s got a big, beautiful, white grave marker and he’s resting comfortably next to Lefty, Frankie, Bo Jangles, and Draper’s front right leg.

I don’t regret for a moment the time that we got to spend with that big ole’ polar bear.  He was a truly majestic , gentle soul and I will cherish the time that Snowman was one of Marley’s Mutts.

2 Responses to “Snowman”

  1. Joanne Says:

    your story made me cry. snowman was lucky to have you by his side during his last moments.

  2. Judi Hastings Says:

    So sad. What a great dog. Thank you for keeping him from feeling thrown away in his last days. Also glad that Frosty found a home! I’ll be watching for any Pyrs you might have in future. I think one would like to live on my ranchito, guarding my Shires and playing with my doggies (and with the humans too of course!).


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