Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Captain Vela The Adventure Dog (2009 – 2023)

Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened.
-       Dr Seuss


Sunday morning Vela (our 14 year old Bichon Frise) woke up at her usual 6 a.m. time and we went out for our usual walk followed by a usual breakfast. Everything seemed fine with her. Around 10:30 Vela started to shake a little bit and looked uncomfortable. Since it was Sunday and our veterinarian was closed, we ended up taking her to an Animal Emergency Hospital in Deerfield, MA. Long story short  - scans found spots on her liver, kidneys and gall bladder. She was in a lot of pain and we were given some pain medication to keep her comfortable overnight. She came home with us for one last night. On Monday March 6 we brought her to our vet. Scans and test results were reviewed and discussed. At around 11 AM she was put to sleep. I cannot say enough good things about the care Vela received from Dr. McIsaac and the staff at The Granby Animal Clinic.

After Tim The Springer passed away we sure had a huge gap in our lives. Eva was a junior in high school and Gabby was a junior at Mount Holyoke College. On the way to Eva’s school we would drive by a house that had a sign with a picture of a white fluffy dog on it. A colleague had a couple of Bichon Frise dogs – I remember going over to their house one day and those two amazing little white dogs running circles around us in the house. John told me when they do that they call it the “Bichon Buzz”. Impressive little dogs those Bichons! I had a hunch that picture on the rock could possibly be one.


Well we decided we would start looking around for another dog and stopped by that place in Granby. Talk about a Bichon Buzz – the family were private breeders and had 15 or 16 Bichons of various ages. Controlled chaos is probably the best term to describe what we experienced walking into that house. A litter of new pups was coming and we discussed getting on the list for one of them. But.... there was an adult dog that caught our eye. Her name was Katie at the time and she was three years old. Katie had a couple of litters already but could not have any more pups for medical reasons. The breeder was responsible and was keeping her as a pet. Katie came up to Diane and the owner thought that was unique – unlike the others, Katie did not typically take to people coming in the house. Diane and I both asked about Katie and the owner told us she could not have any more pups and they would keep her as a pet. When we asked if Katie was available she was taken a bit back at first and surprised we would be interested in her. Long story short we brought Katie home the next day, changing her name to Vela.


Right from the start Vela fit right in with our family. She was our first “little” dog. Prior to Vela I had never been a fan of little dogs – probably because I never had one! Just like the other two Vela was all dog and had quite the personality. She may have only been 11.5 pounds but she was a tough, wiry little dog that could be quite smug at times. An amazing watch dog who loved to be with us. I believe if she had stayed with the breeder family Katie would have been very well cared for but would probably have never left the house. Vela however had the opportunities for many adventures with us, spending time, seeing things and visiting places with us that few dogs have been. The perfect airplane under the seat in front of you and everywhere else dog. So many memories and so many (over 1,000) pictures and videos.


She was a constant companion and incredibly attached to Diane. When Diane was out she hung around with me but the second she saw Diane’s car coming down the driveway – well – I was a distant second place. The picture posted here tells the story well – that was the two of them.


As we saw with Tim, we see a lot of Vela in our two daughters. Gabby and Eva. Both grown up now and doing grown up things – Eva married living in Nashville, TN and Gabby engaged, living in Medford, MA. Both with dogs of their own - Cheese the Beagle (Gabby) and Mo the Sheepadoddle (Eva). Vela got to spend time with both of her nephew dogs, most recently over the holidays. She taught them some stuff for sure.


I miss so many little things about her. Sleeping next to me while I work. I miss her food and water bowls. Feeling her moving around on the bed at night. Watching out the window for Diane to come home. She never forgot a person. I don’t think I ever used the word “No” with her. Waking me up every morning when it starts getting light to go outside and get the day started. She was constantly with one of us during the pandemic.


Monday morning was so difficult for us and our house is so quiet now. We miss you so much Little Buddy.