Bear came to me as a foster dog when he was about a year old and a little less than 100 pounds. He had been repeatedly discarded, adopted out and returned until he came to live with me. His legs were scarred from some affliction from the first year of his life and his nose was healed up from what looked like a trauma that had split it open. He reacted badly to loud voices or noises. He was a reflection of the humanity he had encountered in the first year of his life and it wasn't pretty.
After about a month I had to take a two week trip out of the country and since he'd been in quite a few shelters, I left him on a dude ranch where he could roam. When I returned to get him, he caught sight of me and froze. I swear I heard him say "you came back!" as he ran toward me and wrapped his paws around my waist. He adopted me. I became a foster failure.
When Doug was abruptly ejected from his home, I offered him a spare room. I came home from work one day and the two were playing and Doug was singing "Ba-ba-ba-Bear, Bear, Bear, where is the Bear" and I swear I heard Bear say "can we keep him?". Bear adopted Doug. I eventually realized he had chosen well.
We lost our dear boy on Friday to late stage liver disease. Blood work at his wellness exam in April was perfectly fine. The liver is the one organ in the body that can completely regenerate itself but it can also be 80% to 90% damaged and still function normally so by the time symptoms show up, it's too late.
So, for all you beer drinking and Ibuprofen popping sailors out there ... take your Milk Thistle to keep your liver healthy. We just added it to our daily supplements.
Rest in peace my dear boy ... you were one of a kind.