I am always touched by the stories of the dogs who worked at the 9/11 sites. Even now, the stories continue. Hoke is one of only a few 9/11 dogs still alive and he is suffering the debilitating effects of arthritis. Here’s the full story:
I am proud of the veterinarian and MediVet for stepping up and helping this dog. I’m also happy that they’ve offered to do the same for all of the remaining 9/11 dogs. Hopefully this experimental treatment will help to alleviate Hoke’s pain and allow him more dignity in his senior years.
A few years back I fostered an elderly Black Lab I called Maya. She had a lot of problems and wasn’t expected to live very long so my job was to give her the best life I could in her last weeks. She had severe arthritis, many different types of tumors, and no voice (we figured someone must have debarked her). I started taking her for short walks, playing catch with her and a tennis ball and treating her with an anti-inflammatory. Quickly Maya became a different dog. She perked up and seemed to be reliving her puppy-hood. If not for her graying muzzle and her stilted gait you might have thought she was a few years younger than she had been those first days.
Well, Maya lived for another 11 months. I hope that I gave her a happy life because she certainly brightened mine. Finally her bad days began to outnumber her good days and we had to decide if she was truly enjoying life anymore. I was with her those last moments and her tail was wagging the entire time. Maya was a happy dog in spite of her infirmities. I’ll never forget her and still visit that part of my heart that she inhabits every now and then.
Even though I only had Maya for 11 months I understand how these wonderful dogs can get under your skin. I’m sure all of the handler/owners of the 9/11 dogs keep their dogs and memories in a special corner of their hearts.