An Ode to My Brother, Lawrence and Taylor

Last week Monday, I found out my dog Taylor’s brother Lawrence, who lives with my brother George and his wife Kathleen in Chicago, has bone cancer. The prior week, he couldn’t get up any longer. Like Taylor, he’s seven years old. Unlike Taylor, he’s lost the spring in his step, though steadfastly holding onto the fight in his heart.

I have often called my brother the dog whisperer. He’s always had a symbiotic relationship with his dogs, first years ago, an Akita named Kalib (who, among other things sat exactly the way his dad did), then two American Bulldogs named Lawrence & (later my dog) Taylor. (George is the biggest NY Giants fan I know.) In between, he had special relationships with my dog, a Chow named Jack, and after he passed, our family dog, an English Staffordshire named Foster. Years later, when he had to separate Lawrence & Taylor, two alpha males not willing to share their dad with each other, it was with a heavy heart that he gave Taylor to me, who for days would sit in my hallway staring at my front door, patiently waiting for George to take him back. Three years later, Taylor still does back flips when my phone rings and George is on the phone. I would ask George later when the wounds of his boys’ separation had dulled how did he choose who to give up. While they both had big hearts he would say, he shared with me that Taylor was more adaptable and resilient to change. Lawrence needed more care. The decision was both hard and easy.

More than three years have passed since then; and we are now where we were last Monday, with the news that Lawrence has bone cancer in one of his hind legs. Since he has been unable to get up and down the stairs, my brother has been carrying Law’s 100 lbs four flights. The “good” news is that the cancer is believed to be localized in his leg. The “bad” news is that the leg will need to be amputated, followed up with six rounds of chemo over the next 18 weeks to ensure the cancer doesn’t spread. Already the toughest dog on his block, Law will be the baddest three-legged dog in Chicago.

Today Law FaceTimed Taylor. The two of them looked at each other the entire time, mimicking each other’s actions while I spoke with their parents.

Tomorrow is the big day. Law loses his leg, but gains a few more years on his life. It’s with tears that have been rolling since last Monday that I write this. Please pray for Lawrence aka The Law-dawg.

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Love these two. Lawrence decided to FaceTime Taylor, and then decided to play copycat. Big day for the Law-dawg. #americanbulldog #americanbulldogs #LT #lawrence #taylor #tay #tayrr #brothers #lawrencetaylor

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