The Life of Brody: Beginning to End

We fell in love with Brody the first time we saw him. The day we found him the shelter was in the process of cleaning out their indoor runs, so he was outside in a pen with two other puppies. The two other pups didn’t seem to like him though as they played with each other and he was left in the corner. When we got him home I set him down on the linoleum floor in the kitchen and he began to explore his new home. When he started into the living room he took his first step on the carpet and pulled his paw back. It seems that our new family member didn’t know what carpet was! After some quick sniffing and tests he figured it wasn’t going to hurt him and he made the rest of the house his home. We quickly learned why the other puppies were not playing with him and we realized that his name was very appropriate. Brody was in fact, a biter. While we may have picked the wrong character to name him after, the fact that it was from the movie Jaws seemed perfect.

Day 1: The First Victim Day 1: All Tuckered Out Day 1: Already A Little Spoiled

We tried to pick a favorite story from the next year and a half of his life, but just one was hard to come by. This time in his life was filled with random acts of destruction, wanton disregard for public safety, and taste tests of everything from electronics to human flesh, but mostly human flesh.

Look Into My Eyes This Will Do Tasty! Reverse Bite-ology

Carcass was not a word we used frequently before the arrival of Brody. However, the way he tore open and gutted each of his stuffed animal toys left carcasses strewn around our home. Hedgehogs, rabbits, bears, and snakes stood no chance. (Indestructible my ass!) In an attempt to focus his energy away from these poor creatures we decided to release this hound on the local dog park.

In hindsight Brody may not have been quite ready for this level of off-leash freedom. We walked a little way from the parking lot with him still on the leash. A couple of ladies convinced us that he would be OK and probably be better behaved if we let him off-leash. They were wrong. At the first pond he joined up with some other dogs and they chased each other around. I started to get worried though and foolishly tried to get control of him with the clicker training techniques we had been practicing. Fat chance! he said as he bolted away from us. Before we could give chase he turned and bolted back toward us at full speed. We took up defensive positions and tried to stop him. Woosh! was all we heard as he sped by. Then we turned and saw him heading straight for some lady. She screamed and put her arm out like they do in those attack dog training videos. Brody, being a well trained attack dog, latched on and almost knocked her to the ground. He gave up his prey when I got close but it allowed me to finally get a hand on him and leash him back up. Meanwhile, Erica was checking on the lady, apologizing and offering our phone number to her and her husband should they want to sue us. Fortunately for us, no real damage was done and no one sued us. However, we were in Target a few months later when I saw a couple that I knew we knew from somewhere but I couldn’t recall where. Suddenly I realized it was them and we ran to a different aisle and kept an eye out, just in case they had changed their minds.

There are probably more taste tests than we can remember but the gist of it all is like this… 3 remote controls (1 survived), 1 digital camera, 2 cordless phone handsets, the innards of 1 couch (but not the cushions), many many socks, 1 leather work glove, a couple of dog beds, and 1 can of Crisco. As for human flesh, he also had a penchant for wrists. Young wrists, old wrists it really didn’t matter and while we were able to suppress this craving, it never fully disappeared.

You would think that with a pup like Brody we’d try to at least keep the odds in our favor. We did not, however, and before Brody turned 2 we added Sophie to our growing family. Fortunately, all of our hard work with Brody was starting to pay off and he actually became the best big brother ever. He must have taught Sophie everything he knew when we weren’t around because she was about as well behaved as a puppy can be. However, she didn’t like when he tried to teach her how to gut a stuffed animal by demonstrating on her favorite pig.

Teacher And Student This Is How You Chew A Bone Chritsmas Presents Nap Time This Is How I Play Soccer More Chomping Brother And Sister Sharing Some Sun Class Is In Session

The next 8 or so years seemed to fly by. We had more smiles, laughs, and adventures than we can count. Brody got to see more of this country than some people do when we moved to New York and back again. Even though he enjoyed the free chicken bones on the sidewalks and getting 3 walks a day, Brody was not a city dog. He got excited on the drive back to Colorado when he saw the mountains rise up to greet us.

I huwt my fut. Tub Time Brody And Cousin Lucy Brody and His Grandmas Mama And Brody Blazing Trails Mine! Lap Dog Working From Home Really, Scarves? City Dog At Rest Big Hug Peanut Butter Belly Time Road Trip Now This Is a Park Brody In The City

Two years ago we found that Brody had progressive cystic kidney disease and last week we got results that showed this had turned to kidney failure. After discussing the options with our vet and shedding many tears, we scheduled an at home transition for Friday evening so we could spend one more day with him. I took the day off work and we planned a few special things for him.

He’d always loved going for walks and hiking with us so we all piled in the car and went to a nearby open space park called Pella Crossing. (Erica later looked up the word ’pella’ and found that in Greek it could mean ‘a ceremonial location where decisions were made’ or ‘referring to a famous landmark from the time of its foundation.’ Either way, for us, the park will now always be a ceremonial and special place.) We walked the trails around the ponds and let Brody and Sophie wade in the water. Neither of them has ever really taken to water but they do like wading in up to their bellies, cooling off, and splashing around. After a few dips in the ponds and a brief rest at the picnic shelter we decided to head back home.

Mountain Dog Park Fun Day On The Trail More Time In The Mountains A Colorado Park Looking Good Making It To The Top All Smiles The End Of A Long Hike

It really started to take hold as we walked back to the car that this was Brody’s last walk and the trip home would be his last car ride. (It’s a good thing I had my sunglasses on.) We made a short detour to grab some lunch and even made a special stop at Good Times because we had seen these ‘Pawbender’ dog treats on their dessert menu before. (They’re vanilla custard, peanut butter, and a couple of small dog biscuits.) Now, normally we wouldn’t give our dogs something like that, but we figured we could make an exception this time. Once home, we sat down for lunch and the dogs both found their favorite spots and napped away until later in the afternoon.

Dinner time came and a round of chicken and warm rice was met with a happy wag of the tail. The usual after dinner rawhide didn’t get the same reaction but that was one of the signs that made us concerned in the first place so we weren’t too surprised. We had put their special desserts in the freezer so while we waited for them to soften up a bit Brody got some floor time with both of us. Once dessert was ready we put them in their regular feeding dishes and watched them go to town. It took a little while for them to figure out what was what but they each enjoyed their special cool treat. I don’t know if dogs can get ‘brain freeze’ but it looked like Brody might have once or twice after taking too big of a bite.

Watching them figure out how to eat and finally enjoy their desserts was one of the few moments that made us smile that day. There were now just two hours left before the vet was scheduled to arrive. I thought about taking him for one more walk around the neighborhood but he was still very tired from our trip earlier in the day so I decided against it. The next two hours were both the longest and shortest hours I have ever spent. We joined Brody on the floor again and talked about our fondest (and not so fondest) memories of him.

Brody was 10 years old and we had had him with us for 99% of his life as well as 99% of our marriage. He was our first child and even though we knew he wouldn’t live as long as us we never thought it would be this hard to say goodbye. We had picked out one of his favorite spots for his transition and we all gathered there, including Sophie. We spent some time there petting him and telling him all the things you know he can’t understand, but hope that somehow he does, until he passed. We spent a few more minutes alone with him and I gave him one last butt scratch and said my final goodbye. Erica and I had been commenting all day long that the radio station we always have playing in the background seemed to only be playing sad songs. I’m sure it was just our imagination but it just seemed like every time we actually heard a song it was something like Sting singing Fields of Gold or Nora Jones with Come Away with Me. After Brody had passed away, Stars by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals came on at seemingly just the right moment. It may sound silly but that song really helped us release him and we smiled at each other knowing that the radio station we had been complaining about had just helped us begin our process of mourning.

What ya doin? Brody in The Fall Brody in The Fall Brody in The Fall

We chose to have Brody cremated so we could have him with us always. I’m planning on building a keepsake box for his ashes, collar, and probably anything else we can fit in it. We had a clay imprint of his paw made and that will be placed in the top of the box. The vet left us a book about mourning, remembering, and healing (which I stayed up and read since sleep wasn’t coming to me so easily). There were two things I took from that book that brought me a little solace. First, I didn’t know that the word euthanasia comes from the Greek meaning ‘good death’. I know we made the right decision for Brody, even though it doesn’t always feel like it, and while we gave him a ‘good death’, I feel better looking back and knowing that we gave him a good life. Secondly, there was a quote by Kahlil Gibran who wrote, “When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

Brody, you were our delight.

Rest In Peace Brody

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4 Responses to The Life of Brody: Beginning to End

    1. Thank you all for opening your big hearts and letting us peak into your love of your dog Brody. I hope Sophie finds a new playmate soon.
      Boo-hoo…. Tears of life and joys of loving
      Aunt Sue

    2. What a nice life! Brody was lucky to have you two as his humans. We should all be so lucky. A

    3. My heart goes out to you two! What a wonderful tribute to Brody’s life and what a sweet life it was! RIP Brody

    4. Thanks for the kind words everyone. Each day is just a little bit easier than the last. We picked up Brody’s ashes today and will soon have a proper memorial for him here at home.

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