When my boyfriend Fred and I rescued a 6-month-old American Bulldog mix from a Carson, Calif., animal shelter back in October 2007, the staff had named him “Snorty” because he loved to snort like a pig when he was happy (or anywhere near a bowl of food).
Although we changed his name to Leroy Brown, he truly lived up to his shelter moniker and spent a good part of his lifetime snorting (not to mention snoring many decibels louder than a Harley engine). He was one of the happiest, sweetest…and adorably loudest dogs I’ve ever had.
Earlier this year, Leroy’s health began to fail, yet he didn’t let it get him down, and continued to snort as much as possible. Sadly, he took a turn for the worse this week, so Fred and I made the heartbreaking decision yesterday to end his suffering.
I kissed and scratched my sweet lovin’ brown dog’s ears — his very favorite spot to be scratched — as he took his final breath.
About 30 seconds after the veterinarian confirmed his heart had stopped beating, Leroy snorted.
The vet and I looked at each other in disbelief. We both believe it was a signal from Leroy. Wherever he’s slipped away to, he is very happy. I like to think he’s been reunited with his old girlfriend Sophie, and they’re having a whole lot of fun together up there in dog heaven.
As we drove home from the animal hospital, both Fred and I heard a loud, random dog bark. Sure, it probably came from a real, live dog, but we like to think this was also a sign.
And after I went to bed last night but was still wide awake, I saw a dog-sized shadow glide past the bedroom door. I thought it was our other dog, Ella, but it wasn’t. I really don’t believe in ghosts, but I’d like to think that it was Leroy’s spirit, letting me know that he’s now free of arthritis and his other health issues.
Here’s a video I made after we adopted Ella in 2010. As you can see, Leroy and Ella got along really well back then, but eventually they became “frenemies,” barely tolerating (and occasionally fighting) each other. But I know they cared about each other…I can tell that Ella is grieving now, just like Fred and me.
Rest in peace, sweet Leroy Brown. We love you so, so much.