An Ode to Surly


October 2002 was a good month.  Grad school was going well, Firebeard and I went on our first date, and Surly was born.  However, I wouldn't know about Surly's birth for 4 more months.  It was February 2003 when I first met Surly.  He was a skinny puppy, being bullied by the other dogs at the pound when I decided to take hime home and keep him safe.

He had already had a hard life.  Surly had been removed from the home of his previous owner because he had been badly neglected.  When I got him he was 15 pounds, and the pound informed me that he had been only 7 pounds when they received him.  He was up to 30 pounds about a month after I took him home. 

Despite his early malnutrition, Surly was never food aggressive, however, he did eat a few odd things early on.  Very soon after I brought him home he decided to ingest a large christmas light bulb, and a steal wool pad.  I thought he was a goner, but he was absolutely fine.  I would say that it didn't effect him at all, but he never ate non food items after that incident.


Surly and I did a lot together those first few years.  When I rode my bike he ran after me, when I went swimming he jumped in too, and when I layer down he snuggled with me.  Then in February of 2005 he started acting strange.  He seemed depressed, and didn't want to snuggle with me like he used to.  Instead of crawling on me to get to a good spot on the couch, he carefully avoided crawling on me.  After about a month of this strange behavior I had decided to take him to the vet, when suddenly his behavior made sense.  I was pregnant with the girl, and he had been carefully avoiding my stomach the entire time.

I never had to worry about Surly when we took the girl home from the hospital.  He immediately included her into his pack.  He carefully watched over her during the day, alerting me when she woke up or lost he pacifier, and at night he slept in the hall between our rooms.


As the kids grew Surly watched over them, and tolerated everything they did to him.  He even protected the other animals in our household.  I was a bit worried about what he might do when we brought chicks home, but I need not have been.  He watched over the chicks just like he had the children, herding them to safety, and even protected them from other dogs. 

It was around July 2012 when we found out he was sick.  He had a lump in his throat, a large lump, that we knew was cancer even before the vet confirmed it.  He had late stage lymphoma, that had spread all over his body.  The vet didn't expect him to live more than a month.  We immediately started feeding him whatever he wanted, not expecting him to live long enough for there to be consequences.  Firebeard left for school about a month later, with Surly still alive, and me expecting a quick decline.  

The decline didn't come, at least not right away.  For months he was his normal self, not needing the steroids the vet had given him, and getting fatter from all the extra food instead of thinner from the cancer.  He slept in the kids bedroom, watching over him at night, and stood guard during the day as they played in the yard.  Eventually he needed the steroids. He started sleeping more, and slowed down.  At the end he developed type 2 diabetes, and had difficulty eating.  He lived a year after his diagnosis.   

I miss him.



If you were part of Surly's life, and would like to leave a comment or story about him I would appreciate it.