You may all remember the story we featured here about 'Waterfowlers Prepare a Special Gift For Deployed Soldier and His Daughter".
SSgt. James Bent returned home his 7th deployment on February 15. SSgt.Bent and Waterfowling friend KY Pro Staff Michael Carver will be featured on the new Lifetime TV series 'Coming Home'. His emotional trip home to his wife and four daughters also came with some hard news.
In the previous article we told you about Jim's daughter, Abby, who was mauled by a labrador retriever at a young age. Mike's dog, Reload or "Pooh", was to provide a puppy to Jim to help his daughter overcome her fears and Pooh is a dog Jim trusted. The original breeding in the fall of 2010 didn't take so we would have to wait on spring.
Exactly one week before SSgt.Bent was to return... Pooh got sick. He took some bites of food and had trouble breathing.
Mike rushed Pooh to the vet that had been treating him for only mild laryngeal paralysis. Pooh had been having small episodes but nothing like this. Mike administered oxygen to the dog on the twenty minute drive... with no improvement.
The vet tried everything to help Pooh overcome his episode... and Pooh struggled to get any oxygen. With his heart overworked, and his body exhausted...Pooh was getting worse. The vet advised that there was nothing else that could be done and it was only a matter of time, now.
With a teary eyed vet, an emotionally exhausted Mike, and even a crying vet tech.... Mike told the vet to give Pooh the shot so that he wouldn't suffer anymore. I left for the vet myself but I didn't make it... but I was home when Mike came home to lay Pooh down. We buried him at the corner of the field with some mallard curls...
Pooh touched the lives of so many people including SSgt.Bent. It was hard for Jim and for us not to be able to give him a puppy from the one dog that he completely trusted. Pooh's original mate will be bred to another dog in the spring and we'll get 2nd pick of the litter but no dog will ever replace Pooh not for us or for Jim.
Pooh was about to turn 11 in March. He hunted for 9 years. He retrieved his final two ducks on Thanksgiving Day 2010.
In memory of Reload. February 9, 2011
I'm going to miss my buddy...
(You can click the photo for a link to a video of pictures to the song "Duck Blind")