Issue: 2015-08-20 PHOTO: Nadine Peters
Being one leg short of a full set hasn’t changed Eddie’s outlook on life
Like many other Yukon dogs, Eddie is of mixed pedigree.
He’s a Heinz 57. Or as some people like to call it, a mutt. But to me, he’s 100 per cent handsome. Eddie is not really a Yukon dog, but don’t tell him that! He came north with our family in the summer of 2012. Back then, he had four legs. In 2008, my boyfriend (now husband) and I went for a Sunday drive to animal shelter in the town we were living in at the time. These are the things couples do when they are still unmarried and childless. Eddie was sitting alone in an outdoor kennel, and at first glance I thought he might be a dachshund. He kind of looked like a wiener dog, with his longish face and stumpy legs. This particular shelter did not have an animal attendant, and since Beary (his original name) was showing all his teeth and a few gums, too, I swallowed hard, closed my eyes and opened the kennel door.
I knew he was about to give me either kisses or a face lift. Lucky for me, he did not bite, but shyly approached me as I slowly petted his head. He came home that day, on a trial basis, and has been with us ever since.
Sunday drive, indeed. In the summer of 2012, he and our second dog (an American Staffordshire terrier named Chloe) flew from Halifax to Vancouver, and on to Whitehorse the next day.
The dogs had been sedated for the flight, and when we picked them up at cargo they were groggy, but alive. We spent the first night in the swanky Vancouver Airport Fairmont Hotel, which allows dogs for only $375 per night. The following night, we booked into the Best Western Gold Rush Inn, which was not the Fairmont, but did allow dogs. It was the best night’s sleep I have ever had, even though the karaoke was in full swing just below our room.
The dogs did not even bark once. In the winter of 2013, we were enjoying a day at Conrad City, on the banks of Windy Arm, just south of Carcross. The dogs had a wonderful time chasing the snowmobile through two-foot deep snow.
Eddie loves the outdoors and his favourite things in life are to chase a ball and be with his people. He enthusiastically ran behind us and I have a few great photos somewhere on my 2TB hard drive. Side note: 2TB hard drives are a black hole for photos. Seriously. But back to my story.
Not long after this outing, Eddie developed a limp, which worsened over the next few months. We initially thought it was a torn ligament, or maybe just strain from all that running in the snow. After a number of tests, needles and X-rays, we were faced with a decision. Do we take him to Vancouver for more tests? Do we euthanize my boy? Do we amputate?
I did some research and found out that many dogs live long, healthy lives with three legs. So the decision was made. Just over a year ago, the veterinarians at Alpine Veterinary Medical Centre took off his leg and Eddie is now a tripod. His knee joint had a non-cancerous tumour, and he was expected to make a full recovery, which he has. Eddie now lives life just as he did before, but minus one leg. He goes snowshoeing with me on the 10k loop in the dune,s and chases balls with the best of ‘em. He’s still my boy, my best friend. The other night I was trimming his toenails, and I said, “OK, Ed, only four more to go.”
When I went to grab his fi nal foot, I laughed out loud when I remembered he didn’t even have a leg there!