firstly...i renamed him cole because of his beautiful and heart rending wild wolf wail... after cole porter and nat king cole...legendary musical icons.
before he was cole, he had some bar room boozer kind of name. he just couldn't be regal with a booze soaked name and so he became our cole....king of the wild world at saints.
cole was one of those unfortunate dogs belonging to stupid owners. they let him continually run all over east vancouver like he was a homeless stray dog alone in the big city. i believe he was actually hit by a few cars and he became a frequent flyer at the city pound. deb and jez and all of the staff there at the time became like a second (and much better) home to him. each time he was impounded his owner bestirred his butt down to bail him out and then let him run loose again. as long as he showed up within the holding period and paid his fine, he was free to re-claim his dog each day. (the dog/property ownership laws in this regard totally suck.)
eventually cole was severely injured...he was unable to walk, he was totally incontinent and he used to drag himself over to the neighbors who would clean him up and feed him. as far as i know, his owner did not take him to seek medical care. everyone thought he had been hit by a car again and maybe he was. but when we did xrays, 2 separate vets of ours agreed..the three inch downward displaced fracture in his sacral spine, could only have been caused by a hard downward blow of something narrow, like a 2x4 or a broom handle.
the neighbor called animal control and they took cole into their care. eventually he was able to walk again and that was when they transferred him to saints. i think the owner did eventually go looking for cole but the impound holding period was past...finally cole was forever safe from running loose on the streets and then having his medical needs ignored.
cole ate my wall about a month after coming in..he thought if i was not in the house then he shouldn't have to be in there either. it was a freaking big hole...2 feet by 4 feet and it went right thru the gyprock, thru all of the insulation, right to the siding on the outside of the house.
i decided i could not leave him unattended and there was no way i was shutting him up in a crate so i took cole to work with me...he rode around in the van while i visited my nursing clients. for a few days he thought this was fun and then he decided it was boring. on the fourth day when i went to load him up, cole went back up to the door and sat with his back to me, clearly asking to be let back in and left at home please.
so i did...and cole never ate a wall again after that...the futon couch was way more comfortable than hanging around in my van.
cole had a few major problems initially...firstly with uncontrolled diarrhea which on an incontinent dog...totally sucks big time. and while he was also bladder incontinent, he couldn't always empty his bladder either. so for a little while i had to help him by expressing his urine to make sure he wasn't keeping it in. we eventually got past that too and he began freely flowing, which while inconvenient in keeping him dry is way safer for him.
when he had been with us for about six months...cole lost the ability to swallow. the food would just get stuck in his esophagus and when it was too full, he would regurgitate it up again. not sure what that was all about but with a few weeks of several antibiotics and puree'ing his food..he made it thru that last challenge as well.
i have already talked about cole buggering off, wanting to eat a dead sheep if i could find him one please, and skulking around and being the fun cop who could not stand anyone having alot of fun. he really did not like stupid happy dogs, especially cockers, but he liked tally well enough and tally was not the brightest star in the sky.
at the old place cole and tyra had a job they both liked. i used to give the dogs bones to chew on...we only had 12 dogs and i could easily moniter and keep them all in line. i used to let them out to chew on their bones on the property in the nice sunny weather.
at night when most of the dogs and i were busy putting the much fewer barn guys to bed...cole and tyra would scout out every square inch of the property and collect up all of the bones into each of their own piles. so while bill and wilbur and daffy duck dog, and lexi and abe and river and jazz and the first jesse and whoever else was there were getting fed fresh from the chickens eggs to chow down on, (copper the run away bastard was shut in the house!) cole and trya were working hard as bone collectors.
tyra would lay on her pile and dare anyone to disagree they were hers...cole moved all of his into the big dog house that was set up for the outside neighbors dogs to sleep in. once they were all in the house for the night it was dead easy for me to pick up the bones and throw them away til i gave them more again...hah no forgotten bones around that might cause a fight!
the last few months, cole has been showing his age...his disabilities were becoming more pronounced, his diarrhea episodes were frequent again. we all knew what we were facing, a day at saints without cole any more. we tried not to worry, we tried not to be sad..we just took every day that came as a gift and enjoyed it with him.
and this is what cole's story should teach to folks...live your life fully, enjoy every day, let go of the past because the tomorrows are worth way more than the yesterdays....and one day a crippled old neglected stray can become a wanna be wild dog with a soft bed and couch and a whole family of very good friends...it is a good way to end your life's journey.
that's cole's song.