Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spike - The Best Dog Ever

On June 17th, 1998 Spike was born.    In July 1998 we picked up our very first dog as a family.  John was ten, Michael was seven and Tim was four.  Today, John is 24, Michael 21 and Tim is 18. 

Above is Spike when we first got him next to a baseball.  
Above is Spike with Tim (shirt off) and John helping me build the boy's fort in the backyard.  Spike was 5 months old.

Above is Spike, John, Tim and Michael at Christmas in 1998.  You could tell how much the boys loved Spike just by looking at how Tim and Michael were starting at Spike.

Spike was the best dog of all time.  I know everyone says that  about their dog.  Spike was an "oops" litter.  Spikes father was a champion Lab and his mother was a champion Golden Retriever.  We picked Spike up from a great breeder named Alice Judah who owns  Deja Vu Kennels Bealeton, VA.   Alice went on vacation and these two champions got together by a mistake.   Alice gave folks a break on price and instead of $1,100 each, they were going for $200 each.   We did not care about a purebred and felt that this might actually be better.  Sometimes purebreds can have problems.  We could not have been more right about a great combination.  Alice always took great of Spike, especially when he got older and needed to be inside and not outside.   We also picked up Photon from Alice and he has been a great dog as well.   Photon is a purebred lab.

Above is Spike at age 4 lying in the kitchen.

Above is a picture of Spike going through the snow a few years ago.  Spike loved the cold and hated the heat.  No weather was too cold for Spike.  The boys named Spike and I think it was primarily from the name on the old Rugrats cartoon on Nickleodeon.

Before getting Spike I said I wanted to fence in our 1/2 acre lot.

Above is Nero, Photon and Spike.  We picked up Nero in July of 2011.  Photon is 8 years old.

I need to tell a somewhat long story about the importance of a fence in our yard BEFORE we got a dog.  One of the driving reasons to do that was when I was in 5th grade I was walking to a high school basketball game in Trenton, Illinois.   I was walking with the next door neighbor who was in 7th grade.  Most people just let their dogs run free in small midwest towns back in the 1960s and we did the same.  When I notice that our dog "Trixie" (my mother named her - the rationale is that every animal on her Randolph and Zumbrota farms growing up the animal's last name had to rhyme with "eeee" - made no damn sense to me then or now.  Anyway, when Trixie was following us I said, "I should take Trixie home".  My freaking idiot next neighbor convinced me that if I threw rocks at her she would go home.  We did throw rocks (small ones - large pebbles might be a better term) and I yelled at her to to home and it looked like she was heading home, so kept going.

Just thirty seconds later and I hear screeching tires and I look back to see Trixie get hit by a car that was going about 55mph.  It trapped her up on the passenger front bumper area and dragged her 70 yards or so.  I ran home screaming and crying for my parents.  My dad went out and was going to at least drag her out of the highway.  When he dragged her she yelped and to his surprise was still alive.  He carried her home, took her to the vet and they were able to save her.  He built a special cage so she could not move around.  She always had a slow gate after that, but lived a long time going from Trenton to Kansas City, MO to Burke, VA.

When it came time to have her put down because her body was full of cancer, I was 24.  I remember my parents called me at work and said, "it is time to put Trixie down and we discussed this and since she really was purchased on your birthday, we would prefer if you did it."  My response was "no way in hell I am doing that."  My parents took to the vet.  They tell the story of dropping her off there.  The vet had on her a leash and said, "I will take Trixie now."  He then said, "when you walk out, do not look back, just keep walking out the door."   My parents said they were able to keep it together until they got near the door when they did both stop and look back.  At that exact time, Trixie stopped and looked back as well.  Both my parents started crying.    To this day when they tell the story it brings near tears to their eyes.

So, that is why I insisted on a fence before we got Spike.

This is different than when Bootsie (noticed the whole "eeee" thing) was hit by a car in the Philippines when I was seven.  When Bootsie was hit by a car, some local Filipinos asked if they get have Bootsie to cook up.  My father immediately agreed.  As a matter of fact, he went down there where they were roasting Bootsie and had a bite.  This further substantiated the legend of John Kenneth Edstrom as a person you do not want to screw with - one minute he is petting you the next he is eating you and his blood pressure did not change by a single point.

Photon loved to lie on top Spike wherever he was - including the couch.

Spike and Photon in front of the Christmas tree.

Above Spike and Photon don't want Tim sleeping during the day so they decide that together they should wake him up.

Above is Spike, Nero (when he was a puppy) and Photon.   Spike taught the other two the proper way to sleep like a dog.  Spike was smarter than Photon and Nero put together.

Spike had a TON of energy.  He ate two couches and big grill we had just to name a few things.  He was a master at catching animals as well.  If there was a bird that got into the screened in porch, I would let Spike out there and he could literally jump when the bird flew by and catch it in his mouth as it flew by.  Goodnight bird :-)   Same thing with rabbits in the backyard.  Spike was big and fast - 90 pounds of muscle.   Spike had so much energy that we called the breeder and asked for advice.  Buying new couches and grills gets expensive after awhile :-)  She suggested another dog and had one we could use for free.  The dog was a female named Toot.  Toot was a very sweet dog who had done her share of having litters.  Toot was like bringing a grandma to Spike.  Toot was happy to carry around a tennis ball in her mouth and walk around the yard.   Toot was also a "submissive urinator" as we come to learn AFTER we got her.  This means that when she gets scared, she urinates.  If you come up on her too quickly she urinates.  Imagine trying to tell three young boys who are 10, 7 and 4 to be gentle when you are around Toot.  We learned how to quickly clean up urine :-)

Above is Spike and Photon wrestling which I just happened to catch in May 2011 when I was walking around the back yard and they start playing together.

Spike developed a fatty, non-cancerous tumor on his left rib cage.  It grew to about the size of a football.  The vet said the operation would kill him and it was not causing him any pain.  On May 29th we took Spike to Dr. Jones of Ashburn Veterinary Hospital.  Spike had stopped walking and we had to feed him by hand as well as give him water by hand.   We had to help him up and down the stairs.  He stopped moving and would not get out of his crate.  Dr. Jones ran a bunch of tests and explained that Spike's larnyx was closing down, his hips were very arthritic, his tumor was the size of a very large football and he was in pain.

We ended up putting Spike to sleep today Thursday the 31st of May at 6:25pm.  Spike was the best dog ever....