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Goodbye, Our Dear Sweet Boy

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our dear sweet boy, Munro. He was a loving companion and wonderful friend. His various illnesses finally caught up to him, and we had to make the painful, yet compassionate decision to help him to cross the Rainbow Bridge and on his way to better places. Munro leaves behind Michelle and I and his little sister, Mylie. Our deep gratitude to Dr. Cathy Wilkie of the Animal Medical Hospital, West Vancouver for her care and guidance over the past 1.5 years.

Munro, aka Munromance and Mr. Stretchy Pants came to us in November 2012 as a 9 week old pup, whom we adopted from a family in New Westminster. After the passing of our Josie-Jo, we planned to get a second small dog like our cheweenie, Mylie and “downsize” our doggie children. However, I asked (Michelle remembers me demanding) that we get just one more “big” boy dog. On his first night with us, he demonstrated his sensitivity by escaping into the rainy night and wedging himself between the fence and the woodpile and would not allow himself to feel safe until his biological mom was brought to our house to tell him it was OK to now stay with us. From that moment on, he became a wonderful addition to our family.

We shared many adventures over the years, and he brought so much love and joy to Michelle, Mylie, myself and all our family and friends. When we made the move to a new house in Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, he embraced his new backyard kingdom, punctuated by rolling and scratching his back on the grass. Munro loved the sun and his favourite place to spend summer mornings was on our front patio. Once the sun had risen enough, he could sense it through the closed blinds and would softly “woof” in order to have the door opened. He loved his walks, especially in Lynn Canyon where he would crash through the underbrush at breakneck speeds. He would always select a stick on the way home, to carry to the front yard as if it was his job. He never returned those sticks, though. A true Branch Manager… He would greet each day with his ritual “morning wiggle”, wherein he would get out of bed, then throw himself on the living room floor and wriggle on his back for several minutes and kick his feet in the air. Then he roll to his side and stretch out fully, looking like a flying superhero. He got amorous with his daybed in the evenings as I prepared his supper. We called it “humping his bitch”. He certainly made us smile….

We took Munro and Mylie on many travels around southern BC and the western USA, but we hope the highlight of his life was traveling with us for a year in Europe in 2018-19. How many Vancouver dogs get to visit 21 countries across The Pond? Below, Munro is with Mylie on a hike around Tre Chime in the Italian Dolomites, with the family crossing the Atlantic Ocean aboard Queen Mary 2 and sharing a pint with Michelle at a pub in Holmsfirth, UK.

Munro battled diseases for over half his life, beginning in the summer of 2016. He suddenly could not keep food or water down and spent a week in the hospital to recover. Recover he did, but after exhaustive testing, the doctors could not identify the cause. So we dealt with his symptoms as best we could and he continued on his life journey. A result of that mystery was his head muscles slowly atrophying, causing his head to look skeletal. Then in January 2020, he was diagnosed with Mega Esophagus (ME), an insidious disease where the esophagus fails to contract to send food and water to the stomach. Michelle did a Herculean task to research methods to make his life bearable and one was discovering the Bailey’s Chair. I built him one, so that he could eat in a vertical position so gravity would help food and water to get to his stomach. This helped for several months.

Dr. Wilkie warned us that the ME would slowly advance (there is no known cure) and eventually take his life, and indeed, that is what happened. This time was particularly hard for us, as Munro did not give us “the look”. All our past dogs have done this – that look the sends ice through my veins that says “I’m done. I love you, but I need to go. Please help me to….” But last night, after I went to sleep, Michelle was meditating in the dark and she heard Munro exhale – a long, vacant breath, and we believe that was his signal to us.

So we say goodbye to yet another of our pets. Munro will meet Bushido, Kiai, Miles, Josie and Rusty who are all waiting for him at the Rainbow Bridge, along with all the other extended family pets and humans that have passed ahead of him. We will be moving to a new house in August and we hoped Munro would be able to enjoy just a little of the new garden while on this Earth, however, it is not to be. His ashes will live on there, instead.

Our hearts ache, but we will remember the wonderful, sweet soul who came to share our lives for almost 9 years. Michelle and I have no human children, so our pets are our kids, and each leaves a gaping hole when they go. I picture Munro in the sun, as his used to do greeting guests at our gallery (above), enjoying the painless peace that I trust he is experiencing now.

Goodbye, Munro…

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