My sweet Ville,
My sweet Ville,
Tribute for Melville
By Brianne Kotschwar
He loved laying his head on my foot and falling asleep during training. One time, I was working on escalators with my trainer at the mall. The staff supervisor was holding Melville for me. He was looking to the left and to the right trying to find the best view of me as if to ask someone to please move the bars for him because they were blocking his view of me. At the vet before we finished training, his head moved with the vets, but his eyes stayed on me. They laughed and said, "Aww! Melville already knows who his mom is"! It was at that moment I realized he would have eyes on me at all times. And I'd have very little opportunities to go anywhere on my own. Every time I moved, he'd jump up to follow me.
In 2017, we flew to Utah to attend a woman's retreat. He and I conquered a mountain! It felt so good to be standing at the top of the mountain together. He was so cautious around traffic. I was so grateful to him for this. He loved to play! His favorite game was fetch. He even had to teach some of his canine friends how to play. He was such an instigator!
Melville had many nicknames: his puppy raisers called him Mel. I called him, Melville, Ville, Super Glue, Buddy, My Movie Star (everyone told him how cute he was), and Baby Boy. Melville made me feel like i was such a confident handler. He was also a very loud panter, eater, and drinker. I was told Melville had awesome facial expressions and did what we would call "eyebrow exercises" where one eyebrow would go up and the other would go down, then he'd switch the positions. And the "side eyes" when someone did something he didn't approve of (AKA: me eating a snack and not sharing with him).
Melville picked up on things really quick. He knew what a "Button" was. I was with him at Walgreens trying to find help/the button to call for help. I was talking to myself saying, "Where's the button, I know they have one around here somewhere..." I was trying to walk up and down the aisle and noticed Ville wasn't joining me. I asked him to "heel" and he wasn't moving. I then asked him "What's up? Did you find something?" I went to where he was and Bam! There was a button! He got so much praise and kibble for finding it. He was so proud of himself!
Ville knew how to get me out of bed! He'd start with his front paws on my bed, if that didn't work, he'd try giving me kisses. If that still didn't work, he'd stick his head under my covers where my head was and would give me a kiss or rub his face against mine and start making noises until I surrendered and got up. He was so proud that he actually got me out of bed. Melville knew what the word "Amen" meant at church! To Ville, "Amen" means "we leave"!
Ville saved my life on more than one occasion. One time, we were leaving Panera Bread and walking to a car with some friends. I said, "Melville, forward"! He did this, then all of a sudden he stopped literally seconds before an approaching car did! My hero! I cried when he did this.
Melville loved serving with the kids at my church with me. He would sit next to me or keep his eyes on me from accross the room.
Melville loved snow. When it snowed, I would take him to the dog run at my complex and let him run around off leash for a while so he could play in the snow. He hated guiding me in the rain, especially if there was a puddle and a car came zooming by, he would stop walking and hide behind me so he didn't get nearly as wet as i did. As soon as that car left, he would be ready to guide again. Little stinker! He was so proud of himself! Melville had to go on a walk daily and we had to cuddle daily too. #NoSocialDistancingInOurHouse! He was there for me when I lost my mom.
Ville was always the jealous type. I couldn't talk to my friend's new born son without Ville's head being right there giving me kisses. I also couldn't give love to another dog without his face being right next to mine. Let me tell you how spoiled my boy was: I went Black Friday shopping with a friend and her two oldest kids. We were in Walmart and I found something for me. I thought everything was good. We get in the back seat and no joke he scoots himself closest to my friend's daughter giving me his side eye. He didn't even want me petting him. I then asked him what i did to deserve the Silent Treatment. My friends were laughing at how mad at me he was. They said, "He's looking at you like, "You know what you did..." Then realized I didn't get him anything at Walmart and he knew it! In my defense, I didn't see the dog aisle. I then had to beg his forgiveness on hands and knees and promise him I would buy him something at Target. That along with kibble got him right by me again. Not only did he get one thing, he got three things at Target and finished off with a PupCup at Starbucks! He was so happy.
He guided me for 6 years. Many ups and downs. When I was upset he felt it and had to comfort me. When I was happy, he tried to keep the happiness going. Ville started getting sick the last two weeks of March 2022. I took him to the vet twice and they performed an ultrasound and found nothing in his stomach. He was on a bland diet for two straight weeks. On April 1, 2022, Melville and I made a decision to go to the botanical gardens in Albuquerque with one of our friends from church. Melville was feeling good that day and so was I and we both needed to get out of the house. Melville did so good at guiding me through all the twists and turns and narrow pathways. I had no clue that would be the last time he would be guiding me. It was such a special memory for me. And we have pictures to prove it. That evening, my boy wanted to play fetch. He had not wanted to play fetch that much in a couple of weeks. So I was thinking I was getting my boy back. That night, I tucked my boy into bed and he gave me lots of good night kisses. I did not know those would be the last kisses i got from my boy.
On Sunday, April 2, Ville woke me up at 6 a.m. by putting his front paws on my bed. I got up to see what was going on with him. It didn't take me long to figure out something was seriously wrong with my boy. He could hardly move/walk, he refused to eat, also would not go potty. I frantically texted a friend and asked her if she could take me and Melville to the emergency vet and she and her daughter were there in less than 30 minutes. Turns out my boy was in very critical condition and needed emergency surgery and was predicted to not survive the night. Not only did my boy survive one night, he survived two nights! The vets called him a living, walking, tail wagging miracle. But on Tuesday, April 4, 2022, his health deteriorated and I had to make the difficult decision to let my boy go across the Rainbow Bridge.
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