Celebrating our Berner Veterans
In Loving Memory of
Oberland's Quentin Thor
September 30th 1997 to August 26th 2011
Proudly owned and now so very sadly missed by Liz Murray and family
My baby Thor was quietly euthanized at home tonight after almost 14 years of life, love and really great food. He was such a good dog. The only bad thing he ever did was steal some pizza wrapped in plastic wrap, left near the front door to be taken to work for lunch. The plastic wrap reappeared in the backyard the next day. Almost 14 years and one bad act. How lucky was I! He was so good that he would alert me when his baby sister, Taku the Tibetan Mastiff, was doing something she shouldn't have. I could trust him with anything.
When Taku came home at 11 weeks, she was such an obnoxious devil. For months Thor tolerated her pulling on his ears, grabbing him and constantly harassing him. When she was 6 months old she was spayed and had to wear the dreaded cone. She quickly realized Thor hated the cone and she took great pleasure chasing him around the yard bumping into his bum as he ran to escape her. He tolerated it all until one day he decided she was finally big enough and he pinned her to the ground. That was the start of a long friendship.
I always thought Thor was such a softy. He had been harassed by a big male golden for a while in the off-leash park until one day he decided he wasn't going to take it anymore so he scruffed him the next time he saw him. I think my mouth hung open in complete shock for the rest of the evening. That was the end of getting harassed by the golden.
Life with pets is so bitter sweet since you almost always outlive them and you often have to make the hard decision. I don't have human children so my furries are my kids. This decision was extremely hard but I know it was right. Thor started dragging his back foot two years ago, then came the loss of coordination in his rear end followed by walking on the top of his foot. In the last year he has lost almost 30 pounds of muscle - a lot for a dog who spent his whole life at 95 pounds. It became difficult for me to cuddle him because all I could feel was bone. I was thankful for that curly black fur so I didn't have to see the changes in his body. In that last few months I tended to only pet his head and shoulders so I didn't have to feel his backbone, hips and ribs so sharp under his skin.
Thor most likely had degenerative myelopathy. His DNA test was done almost a year ago and he was determined to be a carrier. Several e-mail exchanges with Gary Johnson at the U of Missouri led to further testing and the conclusion that he most likely had a second mutation they don't screen for. The sad part is that Gary indicated he has seen carriers affected with DM which the OFA results description does not tell you. Test your dogs so they can solve the rest of the puzzle that is this horrible disease. Life for Thor was difficult in the last couple of months. He was still quite a high functioning DM dog but he had started to walk on the top of his other foot and he was unable to get up on his own near the end. But his wheels allowed him to be mobile and spend some time in the yard enjoying the sun and the grass. But then he would have an accident (he was completely fecal incontinent for several months and was becoming more and more urinary incontinent) and not be able to move away from it. It was heartbreaking to hear him cry then. There were other things happening with him that forced the decision but mostly I wanted to ensure he died with dignity and in the best way possible. A wonderful friend did me the most amazing favour and euthanized him at home in his favourite place - no stress and no fear.
I know I'm luckier than most since I had him almost 14 years. Many would give a lot to be able to say that about their berner. I still feel robbed to have had him struggle like this. Who knows how long he would have lived. But he's my buddy and he deserves the gift of dying with dignity. I love you Thor
Liz Murray with Taku and Mobi, the TMs
In memory of Thor the really good berner
"Today is such a happy day. Below is the lovely Oberland's Quentin Thor lounging on his couch (actually my couch but who's counting) in a manner to which any 12 year old berner should become accustomed. It's a big birthday in our house and one which we are thrilled to celebrate. You would never know Thor was 12 to see him - he runs and bounces around like the young ones with his tail constantly going. It's McDonalds cheeseburgers tonight and some ice cream on the weekend with fellow old timer Bella. Thanks Wanda and Eric.
Liz with 12 year Thor and Taku & Mobi the TMs"
"I thought you'd like to see this picture that Robin took on Saturday. This was just prior to ice cream. Bella just turned 10.5 and is lying down like the regal lady she is. Thor just had his birthday bath and is trying very hard to sit still long enough to take the picture. That's 22.5 years of beautiful Oberland berner, in case you're counting."
With much sadness, Bella died a few months after this picture was taken
Her Tribute Page on Veteran Angels is here
Happy 13th Birthday, Thor!
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