In Loving Memory of Julien

On Friday, June 27, 2008, a Cincinnati attorney and dog lover picked up a young French Bulldog from a pair of Ohio puppy import brokers who were relocating their entire sales operation from Ohio to California the very next day. The young dog was far too fragile to accompany the rest of the unfortunate pack on their trek west. Just two days later, on Sunday, June 29, 2008, this young dog was dead. His name was Julien, and he was just 16 months old.

Julien would like you to remember him. He didn’t have much to give to anyone, or time or opportunity to offer it. But we know he wanted to, and would have if he could.

His rescuer remembers him. She remembers a fragile, frightened little dog carried out to her from the house where she was not invited inside, where she could smell the stench and hear the barking from the entrance way of all the dogs still hidden inside. She remembers reaching out to him and his fearful reaction, growling as he backed away from her. She remembers most plainly the husband striking this little dog, whom his wife professed to love, repeatedly in the face for that crime of being so afraid. To be sick and stressed was bad enough, but to be abused on top of it was unforgivable. She remembers wanting only to get him away from there.

Julien did not growl at his rescuer again. She remembers the drive to her veterinarian, her husband driving while she held the frail little dog who struggled to sit up in her lap while he licked her face over and over.

Julien spent that Friday night with the veterinarian, also a French Bulldog owner, while plans were made to transport him to the MedVet Medical and Cancer Center for Pets in Worthington, Ohio, a specialty referral practice which is staffed primarily by board certified vets/professors from the OSU Veterinary School. This battered young dog had so little going for him. An x-ray confirmed that his serious breathing problems were due to a malformed trachea. Every breath was a struggle for him.

On Saturday, Julien made the long trip down to MedVet. His rescuer remembers most how curious the young dog was about the sights and smells coming through the open window, and how he struggled to sit up so that he could look out and sniff the wind, but could not manage even that. One of a dog’s simplest pleasures was denied him.

Julien spent the rest of Saturday and early Sunday in an oxygen tent, finally able to breathe, and restored, however briefly, to his puppy nature. He watched curiously the comings and goings of the staff from the safety and the comfort of his tent. On Sunday morning, the chief surgeon, a board certified cardiopulmonary specialist, the only person on staff who had any hope at all of successfully operating on Julien, made an unscheduled visit to the hospital in an attempt to surgically repair Julien’s trachea and save his life.

We knew the odds were against him. We knew there wasn’t much hope of success, but we wanted to give him at least a chance to live and to be loved, no matter how small that chance was.

Miraculously, Julien survived the surgery, but he was far too weak to survive the aftermath. He crashed twice within hours of the surgery. This sweet, beautiful boy had to be let go.

Julien wasn’t on this earth very long – only sixteen months – but we would like you to remember him. Because being remembered is all he has left.