by Lisa G. Murray
When Hally and Brian Hogg saw the 3½-month-old puppy named Boomer wobble over and then topple on his side at a Kansas City Shelter, it was love at first sight. They had sought out an English Bulldog, and this little one, complete with obvious mobility challenges, was clearly going to need an extra dose of love. The couple was more than ready to give it; they had waited to find a Bulldog rescue for a long time. Both committed on the spot to accompany Boomer on his life journey – no matter where that might take them. “We knew we would give him the best life he could have,” says Hally.
Despite visits to several veterinarians, they were unable to determine what caused Boomer to consistently fall over after three or four steps. However, his condition clearly didn’t cause him pain or diminish his ability to enjoy life on his own terms. “The biggest challenge for me,” says Hally, “was dealing with strangers who would say things like, ‘Oh, that poor dog!’ They jumped to the conclusion that Boomer was in pain. They didn’t understand that he was the happiest dog in the world, full of so much life and energy!”
Hally and Brian often carried around the fully grown, 45-pound Boomer, or pulled him in a heavy-duty utility wagon. Eventually, when Boomer’s hind legs became paralyzed, Brian went into high gear researching dog wheelchairs. Boomer was outfitted with a Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair, which gave him the freedom to walk and run on his own again, as well as romp on the beach – a favorite activity.
But one of the things Boomer did best was snuggling. He enjoyed sharing Hally and Brian’s bed each night, starting out at the foot of the bed and working his way up until he was in between them. “Eventually, half of his body was either on my husband’s pillow or mine,” says Hally. “He was the cuddliest living teddy bear to sleep with. I will always cherish those nights sharing our bed with him.”
Boomer’s journey wound up to be much shorter than the couple had hoped. Within 2½ years, the mysterious condition did further damage, gradually robbing Boomer of his remaining muscle control. With Boomer’s quality of life declining, Hally and Brian made the heart wrenching decision that Boomer’s time had come. Although his time was relatively brief, they had given him the ride of a lifetime.
“There were a lot of ups and downs with him, but if I had the chance to do it all over again, I wouldn’t even think twice,” says Hally. “Rescuing him was one of the best decisions of my life. Boomer taught me the importance of looking at another soul, not just the face value of what you see. He was the best dog I’ll ever have, and he brought out the best in me.”
Lisa G. Murray is a freelance writer and the Marketing & Public Relations Director at WalkinPets.com.
1. Sosia Vdovichenko (Hally and Brian’s niece), takes Boomer for a stroll.
- Boomer enjoys a walk in the autumn leaves.
- Brian Hogg and Boomer play on the beach.
- Boomer splashes at the Jersey shore.
- Boomer and Hally Hogg enjoy a good snuggle.