On May 10, 2001 Burkley was born. On August 4, 2001 we found Burkley at a pet store, brought him home and named him. We knew he was going to be a huge part of our lives and we would become caring pet parents quickly. Burkley was a very trustworthy dog after he grew out of being a puppy. We could leave him at home without any worry that things would be okay when we got back. He loved being part of our family.
In 2008 he developed signs of Cushing’s Disease. The kind he had was treatable by medication but he had to be on it the rest of his life. It was also not cheap. Surprisingly he tolerated it well and he continued to live a full life.
In 2016 Burkley became a diabetic dog. Diabetes is an endocrine disorder like Cushing’s and frequently are presented together. It isn’t very often that a dog develops diabetes at 15, though. He took the twice daily insulin shots like a champ. He even let us take three glucose readings every day. We had to feed him at 12 hour increments reliably and couldn’t be away from him for more than four to five hours. It was a huge lifestyle change but again worth it.
In August of this year, 2018, Burkley suddenly started bleeding from his mouth. We believe it was due to complications from a bad tooth being infected. That infection also spread to his nasal cavity which then also affected his eyes. He started to show signs of not wanting to eat but would still eat delicious things like cooked chicken and bread. Eventually a couple weeks ago he really gave up eating altogether. He still drank water and used the bathroom until last week. We knew the end was coming so we had family over to say goodbye.
On Friday last week we made the choice to help him move on. Putting him to sleep was the hardest thing I and my husband have ever had to do in life. The experience was traumatic even though Burkley was mostly out of it that last day. I keep replaying events over in my head of his final moments. Seeing his lifeless body emptied my soul of happiness.
We’re slowly getting better every day. We realize and accept the choice we made to help him – it was inevitable that he would die soon anyway and likely in a lot of pain. Burkley hasn’t been himself for a while now but he never complained. Never. It was rare that he ever expressed pain and always managed to still express his love no matter how he felt.
His brother, Wunjo, was able to be there with us that day and got to say goodbye as well.
Everyone who met Burkley says he was a great dog full of personality. Here are some photographs of him so you may be able to glean just how much he meant to us over the years.
We’ll miss you, B. See you some day near the Rainbow Bridge, my pal. ❤️
Aaron, I’m so sorry you lost Burkley, but glad you had the time with him that you did. I lost my dog to cancer a year ago and I know how hard it is.
What a beautiful tribute! Someone once told me in this situation that since you’ve shared the same space and breathed the same air, you and Burkley have “entangled particles” — you’ll always take a little bit of him with you wherever you go. I like to think those entangled particles take up permanent residence in the heart. Thinking of you and Mike. It’s so hard to lose your best friend. <3
I do still feel him in my heart. It makes it slightly easier but the adjustment to not having him around is quite unsettling. He’s been a fixture of the living room during the day the past 6-12 months. We have the red sweater and blue hoodie of his folded by a picture of him in the living room. Wunjo has been going over by them and sniffing them once in a while. Breaks my heart 😭
I can relate. I slept with my old dog’s sweater under my pillow for months. He wore it every day as a senior — it helped keep him warm and he always seemed much more relaxed, settled, and comfortable wearing it. You must also feel the absence of Burkley’s routine as sort of steadying anchor in your days and I know that change in routine was really hard for me. In the last year of Murt’s life, I’d wake him gently and then just carry him outside so he could do his thing in time. It would be chilly and raining in the morning and I’m out there holding the umbrella over my ancient pupper so he doesn’t feel the cold rain. Special food prep, medication….I’d do it all over again in a hot second. So small a contribution to make to the comfort of a beloved dog who gave us his huge heart and happy tail for 17 years. It gets a little easier, but you never forget. Big hugs, friend.
Aaron, I am really sorry to read about Burkley. I don’t really know what to say as I know how much you cared about him. I just wish for good health to you, your husband and Wunjo. My thoughts are with you all.
Aaron: I’m so sorry to hear this news about Burkley. They are never with us long enough. My thoughts are with you, your husband and Wunjo.
Although we already spoke elsewhere… i’m NOT leaving this post without sending you a *HUGE HUG* to the both of you!!!
That was such a beautiful story. I’m so sorry for your loss.
I can’t read this beautiful tribute without thinking of the beloved companions I’ve laid to rest over the years. Most recently, Giovanni, the world’s sweetest tuxedo cat. And before him, Emile, a Shi’zu with terrible skin problems and a big protective heart. He watched over our daughter from the day we brought her back from the hospital until he passed when she was seven. Both animals were rescues; all our animals are. They are such loving spirits. Thank you for sharing this.