11/04/93 – 01/26/08

January 29, 2008

Three and one-half years ago, Amy and I drove to North Carolina to pick up an owner surrendered griff that we were going to foster. He belonged to an elderly gentleman, Mr. Parker, who was no longer able to care for him. Mr. Parker’s daughter Connie called rescue and there began a love story for a little frail 10-year-old boy named Davey who came to us with severely distorted pads on his feet, almost no hair, and a chronic ear infection that would take almost two years to get rid of. Perhaps Davey’s greatest injury was that he had a broken heart. In the span of 8 months, he had lost Wookie, his lifelong griff companion, his mom, Mrs. Parker, and finally lost everything else that was familiar in his life as he spent a month at a vet clinic being treated for chronic yeast. My first glimpse of Davey in the backseat of Connie’s car was one that made me say “oh my goodness” under my breath as I looked at this pitiful little 4 pound nearly bald hump-backed griff.

After getting him home, I discovered he was so stiff that he wasn’t able to use his rear foot to scratch around his face or ears as most dogs do. He could barely move his rear legs at all. He didn’t appear to have feeling in any of his feet as evidenced by his stoic expression when I would accidentally step on one of them. His movements were very stiff and he wasn’t able to maneuver even the smallest step or incline. His little body was so lean that his spine and ribs made holding him feel something akin to that of a skeleton.

I won’t bore you with the details, but over the course of the next year or two, Davey made slow but steady progress and showed improvement that far exceeded any expectation I might have had. His hair gradually got thicker, I noticed him scratching his chin with his foot, he seemed to walk with greater ease, and actually could almost run (well, it was just a really fast walk but for him, it was the equivalent of running). He learned how to come up the three small steps from our backyard to the deck. Most important of all, he learned how to smile and was actually excited to see us come in when we had been out somewhere. We fell deeply in love with him and he showed us in so many ways that he loved us in return.

For the last month or so, Davey had not really been sick, but he had lost some weight, didn’t have quite as good an appetite as usual, and had several bouts of unexplained diarrhea. Several trips to the vet showed nothing abnormal about his blood work and by increasing his food we were able to get him back up to almost 6 pounds. He turned 14 on Nov. 4, and I was hoping he would make it to at least 15 and felt he probably would. He participated in the rescue parade in Louisville for 3 consecutive years and won many friends, thanks to his charming personality.

This past Friday, Davey went limp after a trip out to potty and then rebounded just a few minutes later. A trip to the vet Saturday morning showed nothing remarkable other than an inflamed digestive tract due to a night of diarrhea. On Saturday evening, around 10pm, Davey went limp again and we waited for the rebound. Instead, it became clear after a few minutes that this time was different than the last. We held him between us, kissed his little head, begged him to please not go, and then when it was obvious he was leaving, we told him his Mama Parker and Wookie would be there to welcome him home.

He was such a little guy but left such a huge impression on those he met. People who didn’t even like dogs would find themselves drawn to Davey. Our hearts are broken and we can’t imagine life without him, but we are so grateful for the opportunity to have shared a few years of our lives with such a special little guy. I believe that Davey finally has a thick coat, a straight back, and he is running! (not just walking really fast) We love you little Dave man.

Cindy Godwin and Amy Willingham

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