“Do you think we will be able to walk him?” Marley asked when I first proposed going to look at Bodhi (then named Buddy) to maybe adopt. We had never had a blind dog, knew nothing about it, but something about his story drew me.

Bodhi’s original owner died suddenly, and the relatives didn’t want Bodhi, so took him to a local vet to be euthanized, at age four. He wasn’t neutered. He was covered in fleas and he had Lyme disease. The vet had them surrender Bodhi instead, and once cared for medically, he became a Castaway Critter. As soon as I saw mention of him, I contacted my friends at Castaway, and it wasn’t very long before we went to visit Bodhi.

Marley walked Bodhi for awhile at the foster’s house, and that was pretty much it. We loved him from the start, and we went back later that day, after making some preparations at home, to adopt him.

Bodhi’s first day with us.

Blind from birth, we set about learning how to help Bodhi, who was the sweetest dog from day 1. But he hadn’t been anywhere or done anything, and was totally over-stimulated by getting to do almost anything. It took about six months for him to go from being a dog who had probably just laid around for four years, to being a dog on the move and happy to be out in the world. He trained up easily once we learned about using bells to help him know where we were and where he could go, and eventually he even took nosework classes (and loved them!).

One of his favorite games in his younger years was to go with us to a large field, and Marley and I each had bells, and we would spread out, and one of us would ring our bells and he would come running to the sound of the bells (and to a treat!) and then to the sound of the bells from the other person. It was one of the ways we could give him some good aerobic exercise. Marley and Bodhi walked all over the place every day – often for up to an hour – and they loved their walks. Bodhi even went on vacation with us a couple times to the beach and he adored the ocean.

Gracie came along a little while after we got Bodhi, and she was a bit of a pill for him when she was a puppy, wanting to play in ways that Bodhi never did understand, but they eventually became friends.

Above all, Bodhi was a daddy’s dog. For many years Bodhi was found on Marley’s lap watching tv with him, his very favorite spot to be.

In the last year or so Bodhi’s health started to decline, as happens to older labs (and the rest of us.) Although blind from birth he developed glaucoma and had to have two emergency surgeries to remove his eyeballs, along with another to remove a penny that he’d swallowed. He also developed progressive neuropathy, so his body was declining slowly. He endured several months of physical therapy with relative grace, which slowed the progression. In just the last week or so, he developed a tumor on his foot, which had to be removed. Then yesterday he developed bloat, a twisted stomach. No one know the cause of this, but dogs with large chests seem to be most prone to it. Surgery is sometimes successful, but not always or even often, and on a dog who is already in decline as much as Bodhi was, surgery was not even a reasonable option. He probably wouldn’t have made it off the table, and recovery would have been hell for him if he had, so we made the decision to put an end to his suffering. His last couple weeks were tough for reasons we don’t entirely know, with Bodhi seeming disoriented and distressed often, probably connected to both age and the neuropathy, and in some ways, letting him go seemed a blessing for him. Things were not going to get better or easier for him, and watching him struggle was just plain painful.

Perhaps Bodhi has his eyesight restored now, and is enjoying running in fields and in the ocean, and being free in ways he hasn’t been able to in the last year or so. We will miss him fiercely…he was one of the best dogs ever. Rest in peace, sweet Bodhi. Make lots of new friends on the other side of the rainbow bridge.

42 thoughts on “The Last Bodhi Chronicle: In Memoriam

  1. I am so very sorry. This is such a beautiful tribute to a sweetheart of a dog. Rest in peace, Bodhi. You didn’t know me, and I didn’t know you, but I still smiled every time “the Bodhi Cronicle” popped up in my Inbox. You will be missed by many. XO

  2. I’m so very sad to hear about darling Bodhi. It was the only thing you could do to give him a hug and kiss and let him fly away. You and Marley gave him the best home he could EVER have had……His life sounds like it was pretty sad prior to your rescuing him but after that, he could NOT have had anyone understand him or be as devoted to him as you all have been. Thanks for sharing his story. I know you will miss him a lot. I remind myself that one of my favorite beliefs about our pets is that we WILL see them all again one day and meanwhile they watch over us from the Bridge just as they did while here.

    Love and Hugs, Pam and Teddy too

  3. Please accept my heartfelt condolences on your loss. We always enjoyed saying hello to him and Marley when we ran across each other on our walks. -Leah

  4. So sorry for your loss but so thankful he found new life with both of you here on earth! Paw prints on your hearts forever til you meet again🐾

  5. So sorry to read about the loss of your wonderful sweet boy Bodhi. I hope you can find some comfort in all the beautiful memories. Wishing you lots of strength.

  6. I cried reading your post, but fully understand Bodhi is “safely home” now, as one friend likes to say when an elder passes away. No more pain or suffering. What a wonderful, sweet dog he was, and how lucky he was to come to live with you and Marley. He will get flowers planted here in his memory. Bless him, and you both for all the good years you gave Bodhi.

    1. That’s so sweet of you to plant flowers for him. Maybe we will do the same…very nice idea.

  7. Debra, my heart aches for you and Marley both. Not enough words for the love you both gave Bodhi.

  8. Aw, such sad news. Condolences to both Marley and you. I bet even Gracie misses him. You gave him a good run and he paid back in spades. RIP, dear Bodhi. ❤️

  9. What a wonderful life you both worked to give him ! So much love going both ways ! Run free Bodhi !

  10. Oh gosh, Debra, “I’m sorry” doesn’t seem to be enough. I remember when you and Marley first adopted Bodhi…and all the things you learned to help Bodhi adjust to an active life. My deepest, and most heartfelt sympathies for your loss. I know all too well how much it hurts, whether expected or not. Sending you and Marley love, hugs, and peaceful, comforting energy.

    1. Seems like only yesterday that he arrived. Time flies when you’re having fun. We will miss him.

  11. We were so sorry to read your post regarding Bodhi. We hope you can take comfort in knowing you gave him a wonderful life, filled with lots of love. Prayers for peace and comfort to you and Marley.
    Our best,
    Cindy and Barry

  12. Tears are flowing as I read your post; I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet boy, Debra. Bloat in senior dogs (especially with deep chested breeds) is not uncommon according to my vet. I’m sure Bodhi is running free from pain and discomfort along with other pets at the Rainbow Bridge. No doubt my Sam greeted him with an enthusiastic tail wag and is now showing him the ropes. Thank you for giving Bodhi a good life, for loving such a handsome boy and for sharing him with us. Sending tender thoughts of comfort to you and Marley. 💔

    1. I love the idea of Bodhi and Sam meeting – they would love each other. Thank you for your kind thoughts. Bodhi was a special dog, and we were lucky our paths crossed.

  13. It has taken me awhile to respond. I hope you see this. Did not comment on the actual post. I was truly heartbroken to hear of this sweet boy’s passing. But knowing he not only survived a family not wanting him but to experience a new life of joy and love and understanding makes it all worth it. He was a very special boy and if he didn’t find the perfect home, which he did, he would have stayed with us. I am so grateful for the years you gave him and reading his chronicles. I am sure he will be missed every day…….. they take a piece of our soul with them……. Sue

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    1. Bodhi is very much missed. He was one of the best dogs we could possibly ask for. We learned so much from him, and hopefully we gave him the life he deserved.

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