p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""My dog has to be the worst dog you have EVER seen," said at least one person you know at least one time in their life. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"I won't pretend that my dog was the worst dog on the planet but, in the grand scheme of things, my dog was pretty awful. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"My mom likes to say we got him at the perfect time. He came right in the sweet spot of childhood where you are old enough to remember it later in life but all the memories have a shiny, golden quality about them. The bad times aren't remembered as awfully as they really were and the good times were the best of your life. That's when that damn dog walked through the back door of our house and into our lives forever./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"I stood in my kitchen watching my extremely underwhelming turtle, Gabby, attempt to walk across the floor (she will not make another appearance in this text… feel free to forget her immediately. I did.) when the back door opened. My younger brother ran to greet our parents as I stood staring at my father. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"My dad, blue collar, Bruce Springsteen loving, beer drinking, North Carolina basketball fan, walked into the house wearing his signature Cleveland Browns jacket but, on this day, something was a little different. From far away, it looked like there was a blue stripe across it and big white stains. As he got closer, the stains started to move and bark and take on a life of their own. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"That was the day we got Kosar./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Kosar was named after the (only) great Cleveland Brown's quarterback, Bernie Kosar. His fur was the exact shade of brown that graced so many off my father's t-shirts and jackets that it just seemed to fit. He was an instant and beloved member of our small family. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"I would love to say that all the time we spent with him was as glorious as that first day. The day my parents brought him home, we gave him his name, and he literally house trained himself. But sadly, that was not the case. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"There was a time our other family pet, Jake the cat, lived in our basement ceiling out of fear for his life because Kosar was too curious for his own good. There was the time, before our yard was fenced, that Kosar ran in a circle while my mom held his collar, breaking all the bones in her hand in a spiral shape. Two surgeries, pins, plates, and screws later, her hand still isn't the same. There was the time when our family was on vacation with family friends near Lake Erie and found a malnourished shaggy white dog that my mom SWORE would only travel home with us until we found its owner. 6 years after that, Bernie, that shaggy white dog, Kosar's best friend and partner in crime, died as my dad attempted to transport him to the vet. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"And there were all the times in between there. When Bernie and Kosar ran away together and, after hours of searching, my mom found them, together, walking up a hill 3 miles from our house. The times when the dogs acted as a primal pack and hunted whatever small animal decided to stop in our backyard. At the final tally, Kosar had killed 1 bunny, 1 skunk, and an innumerable amount of rodents and birds (never to eat, always just for sport). On the topic of things my idiot dog had eaten, you can add in an entire London broil roast that was dethawing, 12 donuts, underwear, and he also developed a strange love of alcoholic beverages (compliments of my father and his friends). /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Kosar wiggled his way into everyone's hearts by being the most loyal, most outrageous, most annoying mutt that people had ever met. At 110 pounds, he looked fierce but his disposition said otherwise. That's why, 13 years after he walked into that back door of our house, the decision to put him to sleep was the second most earth shattering news our family got in the summer of 2011. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Kosar's hips were going long before his desire to run around like a puppy gave out. We had constructed a crude ramp for him to use to get in and out of the house with but in those last days, not even that helped. On his last trip to the vet, the news was bleak./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 36pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""He has a mass inside him. If it ruptures, he'll die shortly after. The good news is that he could live with it for 3 year. The bad news is that is could rupture in 3 days."/span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Three days later, Kosar laid in his favorite patch of dirt and, without the words, told us it was time for him to go. My mom, dad, and I sat outside with him from the moment we realized he was never going to be able to get back inside the house until the time of his appointment to put him to sleep. We told stories about the vivacious puppy that took our live by storm and drove my dad to tell us he was taking him to "a farm" at least once a week. We told stories about how sad he had been since Bernie had died a few years before. We talked about how amazing it was that a dog could come into your life and change it forever. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Finally, when it was time, my dad and I rolled Kosar onto a blanket and lifted him into the bed of my dad's truck. My parents sat in the cab while I crawled into the bed to keep Kosar company on his final journey in the car. I told him how much I loved him. How my life was never going to be the same without him there to greet me when I got home from college on breaks. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"And that glorious shabby old mutt used all his strength to sit up, one final time, and feel the wind through his fur as we drove. As I sit here typing this, I smile at this last memory. Unlike the memories of when he was a puppy, there is no gold shine to this. I was about to enter my final year of college and the glory of childhood had long since worn off. But this final memory of my dog is something I will always hold onto. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Remembering Kosar's last shining moment is always intrinsically tied to another life event for my family. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Less than 24 hours after losing our beloved family dog, we found out about my mom's cancer./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"And with the end of Kosar's story, so many other began. /span/p