|Bear and Tashi in the studio|
I’m so sad to report that Bear passed away Tuesday night. Up until a few days ago I was still entertaining the idea that I might be able to have him with me for many more weeks, even months. Nothing about his illness has been linear, and after a few bad days his energy and spirits were up and he had been steadily regaining strength. He finished with crate rest and was once again free to go about the house, having no trouble getting around, albeit slowly, even on the slippery wood floors. Then abruptly his illness changed course and he became so very tired, sleeping most of the time, and then seeming terribly weak. His breathing became irregular and suddenly this was bothering him – so much so that I took him again to the animal ER. They confirmed that the cancer was starting to pressure his throat, and it was time to peacefully let him go.
Bear was a steady companion, following me from room to room as I went about my day, or more often, anticipating what was next and leading the way. He liked to adhere to a strict schedule and would always prompt me when it was time for a meal, or a treat, or a nap, or a walk. Vocal, intelligent, and with a sense of humor, he made every activity he could into play. He would jump up on the bed so I could chase him off it while trying to make it – repeating as necessary, play tug of war with vines in the garden while I was weeding, chase the cat just because the vacuum cleaner was coming out of the closet and the cat was probably about to run, chase squirrels because they were chewing on the house, or chase squirrels just because. Without vacuums or squirrels present, it was fun simply running over there in order to spin around and run back here – zooming back and forth. He was excellent in the studio, always supportive, never judging. He had a skill for kitten herding and supervision, and he was a great help in the kitchen. He protected everyone from all the creatures trying to get in through the television, including dogs, cats, horses, and every other animal, as well as animated cartoon characters – he held them all at bay by barking at the screen until they went away. He was remarkably sweet and his loyalty was unfailing - I feel privileged to have had all the years of love and joy.