Dillard’s story, by Becky Wendeln

I met Dillard in October 2012, when he was six months old. I saw his picture online and was drawn in by his curious expression and oversized ears. Our first meeting was unforgettable – he crawled across my shoulders and gave me love bites that said, “Take me home!” Through his foster, I learned Dillard was a bottle-raised orphan and he was named after the department store.

From the beginning, Dillard was everything to me. Just like his ears, Dillard’s personality was oversized. He was the leader of the household, and our lives were shaped around him. Fiercely independent, Dillard also longed to be near me at all times. He would keep watch from our front window to greet me after work.

I couldn’t write about Dillard without mentioning his love of the outdoors. We looked for ways to fulfill his desire for grass and fresh air, first with a harness, then a stroller, and finally, a cat-proof enclosure, where we spent most evenings. Dillard would watch our feet closely and if we made any movement towards the back door, he would bound over furniture and sprint to his stroller.

Dillard was eternally positive, even when life wasn’t. In 2020, he was diagnosed with disc disease, and we spent that November on “bed rest,” confined to a room while he healed. Dillard’s strength was contagious, and I knew we’d get through those weeks together.

In 2022 he faced another setback when he was diagnosed with chronic bronchitis. Despite countless vet visits, we were never able to control the disease and on Friday, June 23, 2023 he went into respiratory distress. At the emergency room, we learned he had a pneumothorax, and as our vet put it simply, his lungs had lost their ability to function. My husband and I agreed it was time to say goodbye to our sweet boy.

The silver lining that day was our compassionate family vet, who allowed us to bring Dillard to her. We made one last stop at home to visit his garden, then, in a room full of people that loved him, we said goodbye.

Dillard was my soulmate and I’m so very thankful and lucky that fate brought us together. I’ve been forever changed by his love and will always carry our joyful memories in my heart.

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