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Today I had to send Stomps to the bridge. The story of how this began is in the health section, under "hind-limb paralysis." The vets tried everything, but he just wasn't responding to treatment. Finally, I took him to a vet who had a hyperbaric chamber, in the hopes that that would produce some kind of improvement. But he had a seizure in the chamber and I chose not to continue those treatments. With his age, his heart problem and arthritis throughout his body, he just wasn't going to be able to come back from this. He was clearly in pain and unhappy, and I just couldn't put him through any more trauma.

If you'll indulge me, I'd like to talk a little about Stomps. I got him about 9 or 10 years ago from the Basset Rescue of Old Dominion, to whom I'm eternally grateful. He was a pitiful sight--skinny, no muscles, and skittish. I was told he'd basically been tied to a tree for the first three or so years of his life, just thrown out back when he was no longer a cute puppy. When I got him, I already had Lightning, and I took both of them to a fenced-in tennis court to run and play. Lightning would run huge loops around the court, but Stomps would just pivot in a circle. From being tied in one spot for so long, he'd forgotten how to run. He also would scream if anyone touched his ears, his feet or his armpits. So my goal was to let him be a dog, with not a responsibility in the world. Eventually, with my and Lightning's help, he learned how to run, and his body filled out nicely. When we moved to Kentucky, I bought a small farm and put in dog doors and a huge fenced in area so the dogs could come and go at will. Lightning's always been a bit of a prima donna who preferred indoors to out, but Stomps was always the Sherriff of Nonesuch. His favorite thing to do was to patrol the perimeter, chatting up the neighborhood. Luckily I have the most understanding, dog-loving neighbors and they never were bothered by the barking.

So many people say that dogs they've adopted from rescues seem so grateful, and this fit Stomps to a tee. Whereas Lightning can be demanding and stubborn, Stomps never complained and was always perfectly content to just be with me. He was the sweetest dog to every person he met, especially those who gave belly rubs. And he was such a love to me. He chose not to be trained, but he was so good-natured he seemed to do whatever I needed him to without me giving him commands. When Lightning was a puppy, I taught him to bite the heads off dandelions (it seemed like a good idea at the time). Interestingly, Stomps picked this up just from watching Lightning do it and seeing me lavish praise on him for it. (It didn't make a bit of difference in my lawn's weed problem, so I don't really recommend it.) But it was so cute to see these two dogs run around the yard, biting the heads off dandelions and then looking to me for the proper response.

Stomps was one of those dogs that is just a gift. Just a blessing in every way. I was privileged to have been a part of his life.

Now, a lecture. I don't care how young your basset is, TAKE CARE OF HIS BACK! Stomps was a conformational nightmare, with a pretty severely roached back. I tried to make my house as dog-friendly as possible, with very few stairs and plenty of dog beds, but I could have been a lot more vigilant. Ironically, I think Stomps hurt his back when I was lifting him out of the car after visiting the vet. Stomps was wriggling, and then he yelped. He seemed fine after that, but the next morning he couldn't use his hind legs. That was the beginning of the end. So for those new-ish basset people out there, always protect your dog's back. If I had video of Stomps dragging his hind end around, I'd post it on here so you could see how horrific things can get. And only get dogs from reputable breeders who care about proper conformation. There's a reason for those physical standards, and poorly bred dogs will suffer in the long run. Lecture over.

Thank you to everyone who replied to my post in the health section. It really is a huge help to have knowledgeable and caring people to turn to in a crisis. I wish things had turned out differently, but Stomps is joining quite an illustrious group at the bridge, and will have lots of friends to keep him company until I can get there.
 

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Thoughts and prayers are with you. Having been through this with our first basset I know what you are saying. There is no love like that of a cherished pet.
 

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Oh, I winced when I saw this topic heading.

I'm so so sorry. Your tribute to Stomps brougth tears to my eyes;but what a lucky boy he was to have found you!

Sincere condolences to you and to your family on the loss of a very special boy.
 

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This is truly heartbreaking. Just know that during the years you had Stomps, you gave him a quality of life that you will be forever blessed for. You have my deepest condolences.
 

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I am so sorry to read this. It is so heartbreaking when they go. Stomps' story was a nice one -- I'm glad he had you to take such good care of him after that awful start in life.
 

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It's so awesome that we have this site to come to, especially at times like these. I am truely sorry for your loss. Though I don't, I feel like I know people's dogs from here. When people share good things, I'm happy for them, and when people share the bad I cry for them. Rescue dogs are very special and know that you did exactly what Stomps needed of you. You gave him a second chance at life, and a good one at that. Once again I'm sorry for your loss, Stomps will be missed.

~Heather
 

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I am so terribly sorry in your loss. They are such a huge part of our lives and are missed greatly when they are gone.
 

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I am so sorry that your sweet boy is at the bridge. He was very lucky to be so loved by you and you by him. I'm sure he felt your deep devotion to him everyday of his life. May he RIP with no more pain. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
 

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I am very sorry to hear about the passing of Stomps. I enjoyed reading what you wrote about him. I know how hard it is to make the decision you had to make and the conflicting feelings involved - the heart wrenching part of making the choice to end the life of something you love so much vs the relief of being able to end their suffering and send them to a better place. You are right, there is plenty of good company that welcomed Stomps to the Bridge. I'm sure my girl Sadie was among them. The upcoming days, weeks & months will be hard, but in time the memories will shift to more good than bad. We're thinking of you in this difficult time.
Amy & Spencer
 

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What a wonderful tribute. I'm so very sorry for your loss.
 

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I am so sorry...your love for him is evident in your post, and the years of a happy life that you gave him.
 

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Even though I don't post on here often I read daily and I think my heart skipped a beat when I saw your headline about your precious Stomps! I enjoy reading about your two babies and their pictures always brought a smile to my face.

The tribute you gave him was fabulous and the love between the two of you will be something that will live on forever. The two of you were so lucky to have found each other and be a part of each other lives.

I am just so sorry and know there are so many that will be thinking of you and Stomps and tears will be shed. Take care and my thoughts are with you and your family!

Kathy
 

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I hate when I read "At the Bridge" and I already had tears in my eyes when I read the heading of your post. I was sobbing like an infant by the time I read through your tribute and feel now that you both were so lucky to have found each other.
I'm so sorry for your loss.
 

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We are all so very sorry to learn the sad news about Stomps. Glad, though, that you were able to give him the best forever home any hound could wish for, and a wonderful life.
 

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Fly free, Stomps. You can run painfree now. You are lucky that your slave loves you enough to give you thsi final gift.

Thank you for sharing Stomp's story. I have always loved reading his adventures, but never knew how you 2 found each other. It sounds like he had the best life with you and Hurricane. He was one very loved houndie. How terrible his early years must have been - but it sounds like he overcame them with all the love you gave him.

I hope all bassetslaves read and remember your words about basset backs. It is way too easy to them to injure themselves.

Lots of prayers and drool headed your way.
 
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