SMOKEY by Rhonda Van Laeke / Mommy, Daddy, and Bandit

In the spring of 2001 you were born in a small town of Minnesota. I found the website that had parti poodles and drove a good 10 hours to get there. You were so precious and barely fit in my hand. Your colors were black and white and grey, and swirled around your body like music flowing. I held you first and then your brother. There was no choice but to take you both. Five minutes down the road and you were car sick your first and only time. Nervous I am sure about your new world to be. I started clicking my camera from day one and watched how you turned from a spunky little toy meister into a wonderful beloved pet that stole the hearts of both me and your daddy and
anyone that met you.

You decided to be the alpha dog and would take all things away from your brother only to make us laugh at you much more. You always had a chew stick in your mouth and would jump up on the bed to make us hold it for you. In the summertime you jumped on the raft in the swimming pool and floated and barked for us to play with you. You even barked to let us know that your brother needed to go outside. You would get so excited when we would go for a walk. Play and more play and
you never tired.

It was a beautiful fall day in October when I took you and your brother to Rock Cut State Park hiking. It had rained a few days earlier and there were still mud puddles. I removed your leashes and set you both free. The park was empty that day, and I was amazed at the freedom we had running together. I clicked some more photos of you and Bandit. You were in the lead setting pace for us and sniffing everything. I did not know that there was such a thing as Blastomycosis that thrived in the beautiful park
that I have hiked in for years.

It must have taken about 2 weeks to affect you. You had such a sore eye one morning. After a trip to the vet, and some ointment for conjunctivitis, I took you home. Two days later it was worse, and you saw a different vet in the same clinic, and she took eye pressures and said you had glaucoma. So I gave you some steroids and I thought it was strange for a dog 2 years old, but it was easy to see that you were already blinded. Two days later your paw was maimed and you were limping. I thought maybe you had an accident and ran into something because of your eye. Back to the vet again, and this time the vet wanted to do some blood tests. Next you developed some skin lesions
that had blood in them.

Back to the vet again and this time he took a chest x-ray. In the back of my mind I was thinking maybe you were stung by some bees. He then showed me your chest x-ray and it was terrible. You had something in your lungs that was growing so fast. I made a few calls and did some homework on the internet and found the word Blastomycosis. The University of Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Hospital specialized in treating for this, and I grabbed you up and all your files and drove up there on a Friday.

Each day they gave me 15 minutes to spend with you. You barely were breathing by Monday and they had done everything possible. You passed away and my heart is still aching so bad for you. This horrible disease took you from us in 9 days start to finish. The house is so empty and your brother misses you something terrible. He is still looking for you and has no desire to play anymore. Your daddy comes home every night and waits for you to greet him at the door. All of us miss you Smokey, and we have
a very large hole in our hearts.

There is no way possible to replace you.
It’s 2004 now, and time is dragging on. The candle is lit for you everyday and our thoughts are still sad. I just want
you back home in my arms again.


All Our Love,
Rhonda Van Laeke