What does a person say about a dog she only knew for two-and-a-half months? That he loved our Belgian Tervuren, Masque, enjoyed watching the TV program All Creatures Great and Small, and he liked to "help" us do our chores around the house. The first detail I know of King's history is that he was sprung from a kill shelter in the Midwest for the Belgian Sheepdog Club of America rescue. He went to a foster home, where they thought the name King was too bland, and he was called Melchior. I could never remember the name, so when he arrived at our home in June, his name reverted back to King.
My first impression was that King wasn't a purebred Belgian. His temperament seemed mixed as well, and my best guess was that he had some spitz breed mingled in with the Belgian. He tended to be a bit stubborn, like the spitzes, but he was definitely gentler, no doubt due to his Belgian heritage.
When he first arrived, he had a severe mouthing problem. After a couple of weeks, the family had it under control. I honestly think that no one had ever taught him that he wasn't supposed to mouth, or it was a habit to which he regressed when he was stressed.
After a month, King began to trust me and let me rub his belly. Masque delighted at playing the catch-me-if-you-can game with him. I thought he couldn't overtake her because at around 80 lbs., he was much heavier than she. I never even suspected the real reason why he got out of breath so quickly.
The summer was very hot, and we have no central air conditioning. Being the smart dog in the household, King usually retreated to the family room in the basement where it was cooler. One day in August, I had the dogs out in the yard, and the name Kodiak popped into my head. King reminded me of a large bear, so I started to call him King Kodiak. The big lug had wormed his way into our hearts.
We had every intention of adopting him, but it wasn't meant to be. In late August, he developed a lump on his side. It didn't feel like a solid mass, so I thought he had hit himself on the dog door. Being a stocky dog, he often charged through it.
The lump wasn't benign. King had advanced lymphoma. Like a messenger spirit, he was gone from our lives almost as suddenly as he had entered. While his time with us was short, I like to think we may have given him something that he hadn't found elsewhere. I know that his spirit touched ours, and in the future when we see an episode of All Creatures Great and Small, we will think of him.
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