It's been over two months, but I think I can finally write about losing The Boss. Cliff rescued him from a puppy-basement many years ago, choosing him because he pushed all the other puppies out of the way so he could eat! Yes, he was a pit bull mix, but a kinder, funnier, more protective, smarter dog there has never been.
He guarded the three-flat in Chicago, never moving a muscle when one of "his" cars entered the driveway. Let him hear a strange car, however, and he was all over it, barking and snarling. Even though she was a little leery at first, our downstairs tenant, Ida, soon admitted he was the best burglar alarm system she had ever seen! He loved to walk in the park and was friendly and polite. Cross his "property line," however, and you had problems.
One Saturday I was cleaning and had the back door open. Suddenly, I saw Boss, standing just inside our apartment door, tail up and neck hair bristling. I looked down the stairs to the back door and saw a young boy standing there. I asked, "Can I help you?" from my apartment door. He looked around to see who was talking, then said, "I'm coming to visit my friend in the basement apartment." The dog stood silently by my side, alert and ready. "Is your friend Greek and 90 years old?" I asked. "My friend, my friend lives downstairs," he replied, putting his hand on the door knob, preparing to enter. At that instant Boss went down the stairs like the dog from hell, snarling and jumping and barking at the young man on the other side of the door. He ran, and I ran down the stairs to grab Boss. Ida came out from her apartment, asking me "What were those two boys doing here?" Well, all I can say is that whatever amount of money we spent on Boss was earned, repaid in those few moments. The thought of two boys walking into Ida's apartment gave me nightmares for weeks.
The move to Florida was a challenge. Boss was used to being alone while Cliff and I worked. When we moved to Florida, one of us was always at home. He'd come out of the bedroom, with a quizzical look on his face, like "Aren't you ever leaving this house?" He never got used to the hot weather -- he was a Chicago dog who loved the snow and cold.
On January 28, the day after Cliff's 15th transplant anniversary, he woke up and couldn't walk. We called Dr. Kroll and took him in immediately. He did an X-ray and then came in the room with a sad look on his face. A tumor had completely destroyed one bone in Boss' front right leg and the second bone was fractured, which is why he couldn't walk. Dr. Kroll explained that if he were younger, if he didn't have such serious arthritis in his back and hind legs, he would amputate the leg . . . but, he was 14, and he had been having arthritic problems for more than a year. Cliff and I held him as Dr. Kroll inserted the needle; in less than 20 seconds it was all over. We can't say enough for Dr. Kroll -- as a matter of fact, he has consistently treated both us and Boss with more compassion and kindess than most "human" doctors -- hate to say it, but it's true. And Boss loved him, so he was not afraid or freaked out -- he died peacefully and quickly.
I cried for two days, until Cliff got in the car and went and found us a new puppy. I know what you're saying: "As old as they are, they're starting with a puppy?" Yep. A brindle pit with an attitude, but another wonderful dog who makes us laugh and keeps us hopping. He'll never be Boss, but Tiger and we are going to be just fine