This is Hunter.
He is my favorite cocker spaniel buddy in the whole wide world.
Hunter, like most of our pets, found us. About nine-and-a-half years ago, I was working away at my office one day when a friend of mine buzzed in on my phone. She said, "please come over (to her office) and adopt this puppy... you KNOW if I bring him home, my husband will divorce me." She, too, is an accomplished stray-picker-upper. I said, "I don't want to see him... I don't want him." She begged and pleaded and, finally, I gave in and went over to see the pup.
He truly was just a baby. Less than 6 months. One of her staff had found him wandering around the streets. I knelt down and was immediately rewarded... when he bit me in my, uh, chest area. NOT the first impression I was hoping for. He was cute, though, I'll give him that. And I told him that it was only because he was so cute that I forgave him the chomp on the... uh... chest area.
Then I got on the phone to The Hubs. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Look, P just called me over to her office and there's a stray puppy here and before you say anything, I do NOT want him. Not because I don't think he's cute but I can't handle One. More. Animal. Not without help. So if you want him, YOU have to be the one to take care of him. That means YOU feed him, YOU walk him, YOU take him to the vet and YOU brush him, because I am NOT brushing this dog! (Keep in mind we already had 4 cats and one dog at our home.)
The Hubs: What kind of dog?
Me: A cocker spaniel.
The Hubs: I WANT HIM!
Me: *pause* Don't you even want to SEE him before you say you want him?
So, we decided I would bring the pup up to see him at his office on my lunch hour. I arrived just as The Hubs was walking out of the building and the puppy and I got out of the car to meet him. Hubs immediately went down on one knee to greet the pup who was jumping all over him and said, "I want him!".
I reiterated exactly what I said about The Hubs' being the primary caretaker for this one. He made all the promises of a 6 year old boy begging for his newest favorite toy displayed in the store window.
So, Hunter came home with us. He immediately bonded with our other dog Rocky.
Photo Op for Rocky
And I became the caretaker. I was the one who took him to the vet, and took him to puppy preschool (along with the Hubs, I'll admit) and followed up with his homework and taught him not to nip and brushed him (ineptly) and trimmed him (even more ineptly). He follows me around the house from room to room. Whenever anyone was looking for Hunter, they knew they just had to find me.
Depending on our grooming care and the time of year, sometimes Hunter looks like this:
And sometimes he is shaved down and scrawny, like this:
Right now he's somewhere in between...in a true "cocker cut". We want to keep his body warm during the winter and his eyes clear so he can see.
I'd like to ask everyone out there reading this to please send up a prayer for Hunter. Last month, among all the other hellacious things going on, I dropped him off one morning at the vet's to get his teeth cleaned. The Hubs then took Rocky in for a vet visit, later in the morning. When he arrived they told him they couldn't clean Hunter's teeth...
... because he has cancer.
Our whole family is a wreck over this. We have thought long and hard about what we want to do. If we do nothing, we have only a couple more months with our little buddy. We have made a very tough decision to do what it takes to hold on to a healthy-as-possible Hunter, but we really need every prayer and good vibe that are out there for Huntter to have the best possible outcome.
We just aren't ready to give him up yet.