Friday, July 17, 2015

My Favorite Nephew

I have one sibling, my younger sister. My sibling has had three children, all of whom are dogs. These are the nieces and nephews I get, and so I love them. Or I have loved them.

Let's back things up. For most of my life I was terrified of dogs. My dad got bitten by one when he was a kid and therefore any time a dog neared me, he started yelling, hiding me, and otherwise protecting me from potential teeth. I didn't even realize that until I was an adult and he did the same for my daughter.

My sister knows this, and so when she and her husband adopted a rottweiler puppy, I was kept in the loop. I got to see pictures of the litter as soon as it was born, got to see a tiny thing turn into something big enough to romp, and they took the puppy to visit me and my then-toddler daughter. I was called over to visit regularly and any time the dog started a growth spurt. My sister and my first niece got me over my fear of dogs.

Then my sister adopted a boy, also a rottweiler. Whereas my niece was from a line of working dogs, my nephew was from a line of show dogs. I was kept in the loop just the same with him, from his birth through his growth into a dog who would have been show-perfect if not for a very slight underbite.

Both dogs were well-behaved. They were trained in agility to stay healthy and they were cuddled and loved. They were most definitely family.

My sister's small family was growing with the adoption of another high-energy niece when their first died of cancer. They'd heard about a link between spaying/neutering and cancer, so they left their boy intact as long as possible before neutering him.

He completed what his older sister started. She got me over my fear of dogs of any size or breed, and he was so mellow and so cuddly that I actually grew to like dogs. I'm considering having a dog some day, when I can afford to raise one well.

Then he began having occasional seizures. He was such an easygoing dog that he got to expect the attention he got afterward. He'd be shaky, but he'd get up and head for the bathroom for a warm, relaxing bath and a nice rubdown, then he'd cuddle into a nap.

This is more than just my sister's dog died, for all of the above and more. My five-and-a-half year old nephew died today. He was allowed free reign in the house while my sister and her husband were at work because he was trustworthy. His little sister stayed in her kennel during work hours, except for a lunch break at home. He was found dead lying outside her kennel.

I know you're not supposed to have favorites, but he was mine.

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