• Shawna Kratochwill

Farewell Brantley, Our First and Forever Doggo

I got up and started my day without your freckled face and wagging tail to greet me. I looked out the window at the spot where we buried you, near the creek. Yesterday when I woke up you were standing right there, looking at me, wagging your tail, anxious to get outside. I didn't know it was the last time I would open the door for you. You ran out and chased whatever it is you chase every morning.

I poured my coffee and settled in at my desk for a morning of work. At some point, you joined me in my office, resting on the floor. Dad came in to say goodbye as he was leaving for work. We noticed that you were shaking and breathing fast. We discussed whether you should go to the vet but decided to hold off. We had heard some shots outside, which always make you anxious, and blamed them for your trembling. I said I would watch over you. I spread the brown comforter on the floor next to me and wrapped you up in it to ease your anxiety. I started my morning work.

I was on a video call, muted thankfully, when I heard your breathing change. I leaned over and checked on you. I worried you were too warm, so opened up the blanket a bit. Then your head flew back, your body became rigid, and your eyes started to roll.

I flew to the floor to help you through the seizure, saying your name and stroking your head and body. But you quit breathing. You gasped a few times as I called to you to come back to me. When your eyes went blank and your tongue fell from your mouth, I knew you were gone.

No, no, no. Don't leave, Brantley. Come back. I love you. I'm so sorry.

A few days ago, on Tuesday morning, we were in this office when you had your first seizure. You had several seizures that day. I held you through all of them. They waned throughout the afternoon. Although you were weak, it seemed you would be okay. Your family rallied around you and showered you love. Dad and I went to sleep with you lying between us.

The next day, you were home with the kids. You were still weak, but had no seizures. You were getting better. Thursday morning, you ran outside in the morning: a victory! You were definitely better. You didn't eat your dog food that day, though. We browned you some venison: you ate that! We had no idea we were serving you your last meal.

You were our doggo for 7 years. You were our first dog! We adopted you from a shelter on January 29, 2012. No one was sure of your breed, but you were definitely a Kratochwill from the moment we met you. Your mysterious breed would be a conversation topic your entire life! You were in the shelter for a long time before you joined our family. No dog could have been happier.

You had such a sweet spirit. You never needed much, just presence. You were always happy to be with your family. You made friends with every person and critter you met. You never had a cross word. Not even with Koko, your bratty little sister! More than anything, you were weird. We will miss all your quirks: your anxiety, your staring and hovering, the funny expressions you made, your belly rub comas, your pacing, the click of your nails on the floor, how much you loved car rides and walks, your bid ears, freckles, docked tail and floppy dew claws. I could go on and on. You were a good, good boy. We will miss you always.

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