A note from Bear's adopted Family:
In July of 2001 I adopted Bear, a 7 month, 70 pound owner-surrender. He was passed almost directly to me via
Kathy Ferragamo (if my memory serves me correctly), spending only an hour between his previous home and his
forever-home. It was an immediate connection and our bond grew quickly. However within 5 months it was obvious
something was terribly wrong.
Bear had dropped to 60 pounds and all food passed through his system quickly, resulting in liquid stools. He was, as
the vets termed, "ravenous." He ate everything; rubber work gloves, 10 lbs. raw potatoes, a whole tennis ball, roadkill,
roadside mushrooms, disposable razors/pens/cameras, etc, plus anything else that was actually "food." After four months
working with a fabulous Kennebunk vet and process of elimination (no pun intended), we discovered he was allergic to gluten.
His intestines were shot so we had to heal them with a special diet and meds. I cooked pork, rice and tilapia for him for 8 months.
He recovered fully, gained weight, and transferred to a gluten free commercial dog food.
As the years passed, we made many friends in Kennebunk, went on many adventures, and had the occasional visit to the vet
for the usual malamute shenanigans. When he was five, my work took us away from the beaches, trails, and canine friends
we had grown to love, when we moved to the mid-coast area. I purchased land on a pond which abutted several hundred
undeveloped wooded acres, laced with snowmobile trails, which entertained us in all but the hunting months. Our house
was built and my life was filled with Bear's company, humor, and encouragement. He welcomed friends to the house and enjoyed
going places for the many compliments he would get. He was even tolerant of the felines that came and went over the years.
As time passed, he suffered with a pinched nerve in his neck, deteriorating eyesight, and sore hips. It was difficult to tell
sometimes when he was in pain, but we learned to read his "tells." The local vets were extremely helpful in managing his pain
and maintaining his quality of life, as were the Portland Emergency Clinic folks, on his occasional visits there. Having been
to the vets' 21 times in the first 12 months I had him, he grew to enjoy the experience, especially when he knew there were treats.
The clinicians were so always to happy to work with him. It was these kind & compassionate people that helped us say goodbye
to him on Thursday, November 30th, just two weeks shy of his twelfth birthday. His digestive system gave out on him, as
I had always feared it would. He hung on to the end, hiding his pain and going on as if he were still a pup.
His companionable talking, dependability at knowing exactly when he should be fed, ferocious loyalty when I was sick
(or sleeping), goofiness, joy of being with just about anywhere with us, and quiet strength and beauty will live on in our
memories for the rest of our lives.
With sincere thanks to all of you who have compassionately cared for Bear over the years
Nina and Louis