The Bruce family has been sheltering pets for over 24 years, and those that have passed left lasting impressions on our lives. One of our forever pets was a dog that my son, David, affectionately named Ranger after his favorite hockey team, the New York Rangers. Ranger turned out to be more than just a family member; he became my son's therapy dog. Once he was fully housebroken, he was given free reign of the house. He immediately took to David's bed and that's where he settled in every night.
When David was five years old he suffered from night terrors, which was an underlying issue stemming from Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger's Syndrome is a developmental disorder related to autism and characterized by a higher-than-average intellectual ability coupled with impaired social skills and restrictive, repetitive patterns of interest and activities. All of his doctors said it would pass with therapy and medication, but it only seemed to get worse.
Our son’s night terrors were hard to overlook. He would wake up screaming in the middle of the night, profusely sweating from fear. It wasn’t hard to notice the sudden change in his sleeping patterns not long after Ranger came into the family. David would wake up happy and energetic with a more positive attitude--something that medication could never achieve. The only thing we could attribute to his peaceful nights was Ranger. It was as if Ranger knew David needed help because when he heard David screaming, he would stomp around on the bed until he woke up. He would lick his face until David would giggle uncontrollably.
While tucking David in one night, he told me that his bad dreams had gone away. and we both breathed a sigh or relief. My heart was overjoyed and my mind was at peace. I kissed him goodnight and kissed Ranger, too. For seventeen years, Ranger kept those bad thoughts and dreams away.
In September of 2013 we knew it was time to put Ranger's pain at rest. I want to say that it was the hardest thing we had to do, but I can’t because Ranger was suffering, and at that moment, as he lay on the table, he looked peaceful and ready to let go.
It started with minor seizures here and there. The medicine the vet gave us worked, but for only a short time. As we were trying other methods, Ranger ended up losing his eyesight. He also lost his ability to stand for long periods of time, until one day he simply couldn’t walk, resulting in him urinating and defecating on himself. The look on his face was heart wrenching. We would bathe him every day, several times a day and his dignity was immediately restored. Through it all, he managed to find his way into David’s room. He could no longer climb on the bed, so he would lay as close to it as possible. He continued to care for David right up until the day we said “goodnight” to him forever.
David didn't want Ranger's story to go untold. He didn't want Ranger to be forgotten. It took a year before we could talk about him without breaking down in tears. That was when David came up with the idea to put a company together that would celebrate our fur-babies. We have created a a fun way to show our love for their devotion, as well as help bring awareness to much needed animal welfare organizations and help fund no-kill animal rescue shelters.