Bear was born on October 16th, 2003 to a family friend's dog. This was on Kira's birthday, always making it easy to remember that special day and fun for them to share a birthday together. He was the very last born of the litter, the only boy, and also somehow the runt. As a puppy, he was dark brown and black, always nibbling on our hands and feet, and so we named him Bear because that is what his round and furry face resembled.|
He grew up to be larger than life, a rambunctious 25 pound dog (about 10 pounds larger than Lhasa Apsos are supposed to be - he wasn't fat, just solid). He loved playing with his humans and carrying around soft toys. He never really chewed on his stuffed animals, just enjoyed carrying them around. He LOVED food. He would dig through trash cans and always find "snacks" he wasn't supposed to find. One Easter, he ate a white chocolate bunny. We were so worried that it was going to kill him, and after Googling, learned that we needed to give him hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. We tried the recommended amount, and nothing happened. Tried some more, still nothing. This went on until we knew we couldn't give him any more. After further research, we learned that white chocolate wasn't a concern for dogs and he would be just fine. We laughed about the trouble he put us through for being a snoop, but were so glad he would be okay.
That story is very telling of Bear's personality. Until his old age, Bear was a stubborn dog. One could say he was territorial and jealous of other dogs around his humans. However, he loved his little brother Joey. Bear and Joey were two peas in a pod, and loved playing when they were younger and even some when the boys got older. They always enjoyed cuddling with each other and often shared a small dog bed. Bear sometimes even sat or laid on top of Joey, which always made us laugh since Bear outweighed Joey by almost 20 pounds. Joey never seemed to mind though. The two of them were shadows to Dad whenever he came home on the weekends and would not leave his side. All around, Bear just loved cuddling and being held. Another thing Bear loved was licking. He would lick your feet, legs, arms, whatever until your skin was raw if you let him. He was weird in that way. Maybe he was giving us endless kisses.
As he got older, Bear seemed to become burdened by more and more health issues. The first issue to start was his breathing. Lhasa Apsos are prone to respiratory issues, having such a short snout, but we took him to so many specialists and nobody could figure out how to help him. As time went on, we got (somewhat) used to the snorting and hacking he did, and eventually got an air purifier that helped him breath much better. Over his later years, he required multiple teeth to be pulled due to infections. Unfortunately, age also did a number on Bear's joints. He suffered from arthritis and in his last several months, started to fall down more when trying to walk places. His hearing and sight got worse (although he always suffered from "selective hearing" - part of his stubbornness). It was also clear his memory was going. On top of that, the poor old man had an issue with his toe and toenail - the vet said that this was probably cancerous and he would not survive a biopsy. He was on pain medicine, but other than that, there wasn't much they could do about it.
It came time to decide. The decision was one of the hardest we've all had to make. We didn't want to wait until Bear was truly suffering. We wanted his last few days to be happy. His quality of life was not very good, and we didn't want to be selfish and keep him around because we weren't ready to let him go. Bear was ready. The morning of August 8th, 2020, we cooked him a juicy steak for breakfast. He did something funny with the last piece and tried to bury it in his bed with his nose, like he often did with food or other things. After a few minutes of this, he gave up and ate it anyway. Dad gave him lots of hugs and cuddles. Mom and Kira took him to the vet. We gave him so many kisses. The vet affirmed to us that this was the right decision; he was ready. We held him as they gave him something to relax, and then something to stop his heart. He went so easily and quickly. He never felt so peaceful. We cried and cried and cried. We then thought, he's probably up there at the Rainbow Bridge thinking we are so silly for crying so hard - he is at peace now. He can run around and play with his sisters Bianca and Roxy. Free of pain, difficulty breathing, and all his other ailments. Perfectly healthy and happy.
Despite his grumpy groans that reminded us what an old man he was, he still seemed happy in his last months. He has left a big hole in all of our hearts. He was so deeply loved by each member of our family. Bear, thank you so much for loving us and letting us love you. Thank you for such fond memories. I hope you're having the best time up at the Rainbow Bridge. We will miss you forever, until we see you again.