Aibou - May 2006 to 2 July 2018 - 12 years

hoegaandit

New member
Jul 7, 2011
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New Zealand
AIBOU — May 2006 to 2 July 2018 — 12 years old
(Aibou was euthanized today — and this is my Tribute to him; sorry if it is very long but I wanted to put down all my thoughts).

In early winter 2006 we drove fourteen hours in one day to Rotorua and back to pick up a beautiful bulldog puppy with a good pedigree from a breeder — his grandfather was a New Zealand champion and his father a local champion. His mother had only one puppy in her litter, and when we went to pick him up (probably too early in retrospect I think at six weeks) he had been removed from his mother and kept in a pen inside. He was a squirming little bundle of energy and nibbled my ear when I picked him up. He did not seem at all concerned at coming with us in the car for the journey back.

When we got back he slept in the lounge with my young teens, and only whimpered a bit on the very first night. I tried to take many pictures of him in those days, but the pictures were invariably a blur as he was never still. The teens loved him, even though he had needle sharp little teeth. As one of the teens had been given the choice of breed, my other teen was given the choice of name and called him Aibou, which means something like Companion in Japanese (less than appropriate perhaps for an English bulldog but a good name nonetheless).

As I worked long hours my then wife mainly looked after him at first. We needed to puppy proof our home but he still managed to savage somebooks and a bookshelf and some armchairs in his teething phase. As I was old school I had made him sleep on the carpet by the side of the bed, reaching out to pat him in the night. That did not last long as he was so insistent, with my then wife allowing him on to the bed, where he would sleep, mainly leaning against the crook of the back of my leg, for the rest of his life. He also loved his foodvand my then wife gave in to him a little (or much) too often, which I think along with his active life led to him growing much bigger than normal bullies (nearly 40 kgs, 90 lbs at his peak) though he was not really fat but more muscular and very strong as he walked and played so much.

He became a big dominant dog, past puppyhood afraid of nothing and completely unafraid of any other dog. When we took him out into the field for his very first walk he was nervous, and also when I first went to a local park which you access by walking under a railway bridge, unfortunately an express train came past at the wrong moment, giving him a fright. For weeks after that I habituated him slowly to the trains, and when an adult nothing would please him more than chasing after the trains. (Obviously he could not reach them as the trains were fenced off). When he was older almost nothing bothered him. Once one of the teens had to jump in the stream and pull him out of a hole in the stream as he had sunk like a stone, but when he got out his tail was up as if nothing had happened. (This led to our mistaken belief for many years that he couldn’t swim,but another time years later he again slipped into a stream; I jumped in but before I could get to him he had paddled his way to safety. He was not an elegant swimmer but he could swim). Different from almost any other dog I have known, Aibou also loved the fireworks on Guy Fawkes night.

I must have walked a thousand miles with Aibou over the years, as he loved his walks, particularly sniffing other dog smells and marking his territory. He loved to wallow in the streams and the sea which supported his large bulk. Over time he learned dog manners and became quite the gentleman and no longer rushed up to every dog we met. We walked in all weathers, biting cold storms on the beach, rainstorms, even in lightning and thunderstorms; when he was younger he never hesitated to go for a walk, however cold or rainy the winter night. Once we even walked him up to the local summit of Mount Kaukau (about 450m or 1460 feet), probably the first bulldog ever up there. He loved the beach at Whitireia and Titahi Bay and the bush. Some of my happiest times were walking with him on a perfect morning in Seton Nossiter Park, alone with the beautiful bush, stream, sunshine and clouds of little insects circling in the morning sun — magic moments.

We did not neuter Aibou and he was a big dominant dog, so he sometimes attracted the unwelcome attention of other male dogs. He was always the gentleman; if the dog was smaller then he just turned his face away, even if bitten by them. If the dog was a bigger dog though, and attacked him, he would always fight back. He never attacked first except on one occasion where the dog had attacked him the week before, and we unfortunately met again the following week. Still he only got into five or six fights his whole life, and no real damage was done, although it was hard to pull him away when he started fighting as he was so strong.

Mostly I walked him off lead, even on the suburban streets, letting him lead the way if he chose (within reason; I tried to give him as much freedom as possible). He did have some bête noires though — especially bicycles or skateboards — he did not run after the cyclist or skateboarder, but was mad to get their wheels, so I had to watch him closely at all times. Fortunately he would always listen to a very firm command.

Aibou was a great unifying factor for our family. He loved the rough and tumble of play with the teens and would jealously guard his ball,or pull fiercely in a tug of war. He brought the stronger pack culture of the dog to our somewhat fractured human family. He created a cohesiveness, a closeness between father and teens through shared walks which had not been there before. He was the cynosure of the family. Although he regarded himself as their boss, both the teens were extremely fond of him and he of them. When one teen, then a young adult, would skype from overseas, Aibou would get excited when he heard the familiar voice, even after a year away.

Aibou had one undescended testicle (-this was one reason we did not breed from him, although he was always very interested in female bullies; once after they had been playing a bit I had to put him on lead to take him away from her; after a hundred yards I released him and he ran right back to her!) The vet pointed out the heightened cancer risk of that, so I opted to have that testicle removed (although not to neuter him). This was a bad experience for him, firstly as he was obviously in severe pain and did not come right for about a month after the operation, and secondly because he was separated from his family for the first time in his life, and was actually howling when we went to collect him. He was a tough dog though as I remember him struggling up the path to the car the very first day after his operation; he wanted to walk although not in any fit state to do so. He was so close to the family he always reacted badly the relatively few times he was sent to kennels, and would take about half an hour from being picked up on our return before he would come right.

It was about eight that he started having significant health issues. (When he was about four, he had injured one leg, then played too roughly and injured the other, so I had to carry him around for a week before he fortunately came right) but around eight his sight began to fail, and around nine he seemed to have a stroke as he became very confused. He would back himself into corners and sometimes went into a state where he would not even recognize me or would walk for a long time without looking left or right. But Aibou was a fighter and these episodes got less and less, and he acclimated to being nearly blind and re-trained his stroke damaged brain to recognise the family again, know where he was and how to get in and out of the house. He also adjusted to our other new dog Amy a springer spaniel cross; Amy is not very dog friendly but as time went on they reached a sort of rapprochement where they would sometimes sit close together on a mat in the sun.

In his latter years Aibou was on a lot of medications for arthritis and to moisturize his eyes. We noticed that he needed to walk less and less. He became cantankerous (maybe from the medication although the teens say he could always something of a biter) and tried to bite the tenants below, the neighbour and various courier folk. Fortunately he was too old and slow to do much damage! He did however also manage to bite my fingers on a number of occasions, once quite badly, until I stopped putting in eye medication he didn’t like. In his last six months I had to carry him most of the way to the car forwalks, or up to the path below the road, and then he would only potter around a few yards. But up until nearly the last he would happily potter around his favourite walk, smelling the dog smells and meeting the occasional dog.

In his last days Aibou became very unwell. Mostly this could be controlled by medication but sometimes he got restless and sometimes when I picked him up from his reaction I could tell that caused him great pain. Latterly he stopped eating. I am pleased that his last few days did not seem too bad as he faded away and his last hour and his passing at the vet was peaceful.

Aibou — I hope I gave you a good life; I wonder if you suffered more pain than I knew and hid that with your stoic demeanour; I hope you did not suffer too much especially in your last days; I thank you for making a relationship between me and my teens by being a new centre of our family; you were a great part of my life and I was immensely sad to see you go; goodbye my friend.
 

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cefe13

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Sep 12, 2013
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Castor (2013-2021 RIP)
So sorry for your loss - thank you for sharing Aibou's beautiful life with us.
 

ddnene

EBN's SWEETHEART aka our little GOOB
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I'm so very sorry for your loss... my sincerest condolences to you and your family. Aibou was a beautiful boy...
 

helsonwheels

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:tissue: What beautiful memories you will hold forever. When walking along the stream, Aibou will be right there with you. Thank you for sharing.

R.I.P. Big Guy. Run free in doggy heaven. :angelheart:
 

1Chumly

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Feb 19, 2015
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Buster 2014? Monty 6/2010 - 1/2020 Chumly 2002-2014
Thank you for Aibou's story. I am so sorry for your loss and I know how much you will miss him, but you gave him a wonderful life and you can take solace in that. RIP Aibou.
 

Cbrugs

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I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful life he had with you.
 

Manydogs

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@hoegaandit What a wonderful tribute you have so elegantly written. Aibou surely had a great life with you and your family,as he WAS a family member,as all here consider their dogs. My deepest sympathy goes out to you and your family,knowing how difficult your loss is. I know Aibou will always be with you in your heart,and you will meet up with him again someday. :pray::heart:
saying-goodbye-to-a-friend-pet-dogs-dog-and-rainbow-bridge-dog-memorial-quotes.jpg


- - - Updated - - -
 

2BullyMama

I'm not OCD....now who moved my bulldog?
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A beautiful tribute to a beautiful bully with a beautiful life and Daddy!

So very sorry for your loss, but he was incredibly lucky to have you as his dad.

Rest in Peace Aibou
 
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hoegaandit

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Jul 7, 2011
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A heartfelt thank you for all your good wishes. It is very hard but it does help that others understand the pain and sadness of Aibou's passing for me.
 

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