Bronx’s Short Story for A Big Dog
We got our boy Bronx, a rich fawn bullmastiff when he was 8 weeks old, his father was and is an Australian champion or so the breeder’s website says.
We did a lot of research looking for the right breeder as big dogs have big problems and the best way to avoid hip or elbow issues are to have them breed out. The breeder said to me “if you have hip or elbow problems that is more my problem then yours” that is the theory but in practice far from the truth.
Bronx was instantly part of our family, he was a quick learner but could be stubborn when he choose too be, when he was 6 months old we took him back to the breeder just to see how we were going, the breeder wasn’t that interested in seeing us but we went anyway, plus they still owed us his papers, we never got the papers.
We choose the wrong breeder, the kennel was great but we should have walked away when we said we wanted a pup and to keep a boy for us and to call as soon as he is ready. On not getting any calls we rang to see if everything was ok, the breeder said that he only had one boy left but two girls and if we want the boy then we had four hours to come and get him, which we did.
The breeder was more interested in selling the pups and not the breed we got no questions about managing big dogs or what we intended to do, it was just pick one and will that be cash.
We had no issue with Bronx for the first two years, he slept inside at night snoring and farting and doing a patrol around the house often finding that the lounge was more comfortable then his bed. He went on holidays with us, to the café and shopping, he had a gentle nature but also wouldn’t take a backward step, he didn’t start trouble but he would finish it, which didn’t happen often.
Bronx grew to 60kg and was a tall dog, he was not over weight and had regular walks in our off leash park, we were careful that he didn’t grow too fast but at just over two years old he did the cruciate tendon in his knee, we took him to the Veterinary Specialist Centre who were fantastic and Bronx had major surgery on his knee, this went well and after 3 months he was back to normal, on investigation I was told that this was a hereditary condition and very unusual for it to show up the young age Bronx was.
Things were good for the next few months and then one day after our walk, Bronx was dragging his front paw as if he couldn’t lift it completely off the ground, over night he got worse and we rushed him to our vet who then sent us to SASH again another great team of doctors and nurses.
We eliminated the obvious issues such as poisons, diet changes to see if it was a reaction on his nervous system and eventually agreed that an x-ray was the only way left to do.
On the x-rays we found he had a bone growth on his spine “Spondylolisthesis” or commonly called “Wobblers Disease”, we were faced with either operating or physio but after talking to some other people we found that operating is the only way to really fix it.
We consented to the operation and he went under the knife after many hugs kisses and tears, we ticked the box to resuscitate we would have done almost anything to keep our boy.
In surgery we got more bad news it turned out he had three growths but the operation went well.
We were there the next day to see our poor boy that just looked up at us with those big intelligent, sad eyes. After a couple of days we saw no improvement in him being able to get up, the nurses all said he was an amazing patient and just watched them go about their work without a whimper even though he was in pain. There was a husky there having the same operation and he did nothing cry but not our tough boy.
Three days later I got a call from the vet, Bronxsie had a breathing problem in the night and they had to resuscitate him and he was now on a machine to breath. What did I want to do?
I had no choice but to let him go, the suffering, the sadness in his eyes and the constant problems we seemed to be getting left me no choice, I told the vet to let him go to sleep.
What a feeling of sadness, of loss, of emptiness and of anger. It has almost been a year since we lost him we still are not over him, still too many pictures of him on the fridge and we feel strange to use his leads or collars on our new dogs but in time I know. If my wife was to read this she would start crying.
I don’t know if I could put another dog through the operation and I hope I am never in that situation again. In the last year of his life we spent over $16,000 on Bronx’s medical bills, luckily for us we had insurance with the RSPCA and they covered a lot of the cost and were fantastic, we have both our new dogs covered as well.
I miss my boy and my afternoon beer with him sitting on the back step looking at the world; he never ever gave me any bad advice or argued with me, such devotion and love I truly appreciated.