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Drake Carter Greenwell, Our Beloved Lab

When an animal is welcomed into a family, that animal becomes family, sharing in the lives of the humans who love them.

Drake came to our home in August 2013 through the kindness of Mr. David Brands, one of Brennan’s hunting buddies. He was a beautiful, full-blooded black labrador, and we were all elated to have a new dog join our family after losing my sweet little pomeranian/dachshund mix, Buddy, a few years prior. Brennan named him Drake, and although we had the papers to file for his AKC registration, we never did, and thus he never had what is a formal, fancy name, so Aubrey added Carter as his middle name.

Drake Carter Greenwell.

He’s always been a lovable pup, full of adventure and ready to roam, and we didn’t make him a hunting dog, which we probably should’ve because he had so much wander in his soul. I think now how he itched to be outside chasing squirrels and stray dogs. We couldn’t ever trust him to just stay in the yard most times, so we always leashed him. And believe me, when he got a chance, he made a run for it. He was even wise to the two little girls who weren’t strong enough to keep him from making a run for it. It’s quite comical to think how smart he was to watch either of the little girls get close to a door, and just wait for one of them to open a door to go outside, and he would all but knock ‘em down to get outside and travel. Of course, he’d come back a mess: stinky, wet, dirty, and exhausted. He knew his punishment would be to “kennel up” for a good while, but I suspect he didn’t mind since that meant he could rest after his travels.

But being an indoor dog sure had its perks as well. He was always clean and shiny, which gave him the advantage of sleeping on the furniture without too much fuss, even making himself at home on the coffee table a few times during movie night. He got to eat very well, learning the tricks of hanging around when the kids were eating, so he could catch whatever they dropped. Better yet, those little ones would just gladly feed him whatever they had without a care in the world. I didn’t mind, because, hey, he’s been known to get a few t-bones on steak night around here. Or pork shoulder bone. He loved good food, and good thing, because he was in the right family for that.

He loved his ears being gently pulled, rubbed, and scratched. He would dance with me for a treat, and do a few other tricks. The dog loved some hot dogs, cheese, turkey, milk, shoes, toys, baby wipes, dirty diapers, and anything except vegetables. Typical. He’s the reason why the trash closet and all bathroom doors had to stay closed. And today, after we got home, I closed the bathroom door behind me out of habit and cried.

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I got the call this morning at 9:38, but I never heard it, nor saw the voicemail. I called at 2 p.m. today to check on him after his surgery, only to learn that he had some respiratory distress and then passed away. I was not expecting that outcome. A leg amputated, yes. But not to lose our big, black beauty. I bawled, and called Tommy to tell him, in shock and crying. I told him I was going to get him – I wanted him home where he belonged. Tommy thought I was crazy because Drake is a big dog and that means a big, deep hole. But I wouldn’t hear of anything else, because I couldn’t bear him not being properly put to rest. (I learned when I let my Buddy be cremated, and I wasn’t doing that again.) Tommy heard my sadness and anger, and he knew how strongly I felt about this, so he obliged and got Uncle Mark to help him with it.

I left work to get Brennan so that we could go together to get Drake. And let me tell you, to hear your almost grown son bawl will tear your heart to pieces. I wanted to speak with the vet because I was unable to focus on anything after he told me that Drake died, and I wanted to know what happened and why. Why? How? I thought he was going to be fine after my 7 a.m. call to the vet. And Dr. Cato did, too. He assured me that Drake was doing fine for what he had been through, and that he would have another go at it later that morning.

But Drake never made it to the table.

Essentially, Drake started having labored breathing this morning, he was given different medicines to help him, but he couldn’t overcome it. Dr. Cato was with him when he died and he was just as puzzled as we were about his passing. He said he checked his thoracic cavity and lungs for blood, and none came back in the needle, but not saying a blood clot couldn’t have formed afterwards, or that his lungs stopped working. He feels it was primary respiratory failure, and they did try to bring Drake back with compressions, but he was gone. Dr. Cato asked me if he was an indoor dog and I told him he was. He chuckled, and said that Drake was showing signs of discomfort last night, but it didn’t seem painful. He then realized he had urinated on himself and the blanket he was on and he didn’t like it, so they had his spoiled butt pegged.

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Drake was a good (big ol’) baby, a little rambunctious and irritating with his bad habits of eating anything, and licking his privates in loud, slurping strokes, oh and his need to run off from time to time, but he was a good dog, our baby Drakers. The sweet, lovable ladies’ man (Tommy said we should’ve cut ‘em out, and the next one we will 😂), the foot warmer, loud snorer, trash lover, barking fool, sloppy slurper, food thief, lazy sunbather, town traveler, black beauty, tummy scratching lover, and he was so very loved by his family. He would’ve been four years old on June 26, so I know he will be eating a lot and chasing hotties in doggie Heaven.

We brought him home in a horrible storm, only to have the clouds open up and clear off as we pulled into town. I can only believe that God saw our grieving hearts and knew we needed to have the time to bury him before the next round of storms, and we did so with sunshine peaking through the clouds, watching through tears as the dirt was put over him wrapped in his blanket. My husband had suggested the best spot to bury him and his final resting place is under our children’s trampoline, where Drake would often chill while the kids jumped or splashed water over him while jumping. I know this is long, but I’m a weaver of stories and wanted to give my sweet baby Drake a good send-off. Thank you all again for your prayers and well-wishes. Tonight will be a night of watching “A Dog’s Purpose”, as suggested by another pet owner who chatted with us outside as we waited. ❤️

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