We adopted Packer on Sunday, January 4, 2004. I was working at The Humane Society of the United States regional office in Naperville, Illinois, on Friday, January 2nd. I was the only person in the office that day when a person from A.D.O.P.T., one of the local animal shelters, came in to pick up some of our brochures that we distributed to local organizations. (A.D.O.P.T. is an excellent shelter, and we subsequently adopted three more dogs from them, our Chinese Crested Yogi and and two more Bostons, Lambeau and Cagney.) The A.D.O.P.T. volunteer saw the pictures of our Boston Terriers on my desk and said, "We've got one of those at the shelter." Of course, that excited me, so I called my husband Jeff at his work and said meet me at the shelter during lunch. We met there and saw the Boston that was, at that time, named Simon. We had lost one of our Bostons, Pepsi, in 2001 to a brain tumor after a long illness and treatment period and had hesitated about getting another dog. We still had two Bostons, Pluto and Pogo, but we decided it was time to add another one and we wanted Simon; however, we needed to bring our dogs to meet him before we made the final commitment. Jeff had to work Saturday, so we took Pluto and Pogo to the shelter on Sunday and adopted Simon, who was just a puppy at eight months old. We changed his name to Packer for the Green Bay Packers.
Packer had started out as an Iowa puppy mill dog and was sold by a pet store in Naperville. Then he was surrendered to the shelter because his owners had a larger dog, who tormented him. Packer was so skinny that we were sneaking him extra food without the other boys noticing. He was also terrified of almost everything. When we took him for walks, he would first peak out the front door, look both directions, and make sure no one or nothing was there. While he was outside, if a leaf blew by, he would dash back inside. His fear did alleviate eventually; however, he was always a little scared and hesitant to try new things.
For a while, we had three Bostons, Pluto, Pogo, and Packer. [Our other dogs we've lost, Penguin, Pepsi (before we had Packer), Pogo, Pluto (with Packer), Cagney, Nitschke, and Leroy Butler (adopted after Packer but died before him) are also memorialized on this site.] Pluto, Pogo, and Packer got along very well, and Packer quickly settled into the family. One thing we never had to coax Packer to do was eat! He loved his food and rapidly gained weight.
One thing he loved more than food was his "fuzzies." We would buy them for him often, and he always knew which ones were new and would get so excited that his little tiny tail would wag and shake his whole butt! He would suck on a fuzzy like a pacifier, and we always thought that was because he was taken away from his mother too soon. Another thing Packer loved was to lie in front of the fire, as have all of our dogs, both past and present. In fact, we are guilty of turning on the fire in the middle of summer just so they can bask in front of it!
Packer was diagnosed with diabetes on his tenth birthday in 2013. Our vet put him on insulin, so we had to give him shots twice a day for the rest of his life. He was such a good dog that he didn't even flinch when he got the injections. Shortly after the diabetes diagnosis, Packer went blind. I got books from the library and searched for articles online about how to take care of a blind dog. Nearly every source said that dogs could adapt very well to blindness and offered many hints on how to help them cope, such as not moving furniture around and putting different scents in different rooms. Unfortunately, maybe because he was ten years old when he lost his sight, Packer never did well. He would get lost in the house; often we would find him stuck behind a door. He would bump into walls and could not walk down the steps to go outside. Jeff had to carry him outside and back inside for the past 2 ˝ years. We also had to pick him up and put him on the furniture or the bed and lift him off again so he wouldn’t hurt himself. However, the blindness and his disabilities didn't make him unhappy. He was, up until nearly the end, an amazingly happy dog.
While we treated him for his disease, our vet always commented that we were keeping Packer together with duct tape and string. Our vet also had a good guideline for knowing when a dog still has a good quality of life: he is doing doggie things like wagging his tail, wanting to be close or be held, responding to his name, and enjoying his food. Packer's tail, tiny though it was, wagged like a metronome whenever we talked to him or he heard the treat jar open or the call to dinner. He did all those things until nearly the very end of his life.
Although we managed Packer's diabetes with daily insulin shots, it took a toll on his heart and other organs, and he was on several medications for the last six months of his life. Packer began having severe seizures on August 28th, progressively getting worse. The only way we could stop the seizures were heavy doses of phenobarbital and Valium. He couldn't stand or walk without collapsing, and he wouldn't wag his tail. When his tail stopped wagging, we knew it was time. We had Packer euthanized on September 1, 2015. He was cremated with one of his beloved fuzzies, and his urn is in our breakfront in the dining room, along with the seven other Bostons we have lost. We had a wonderful 11 ˝ years with our precious Packer.