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Kestrel Michaud


Classically-trained Fine Artist and Fabric Illustrator


Remembering Obi

Obi was a purebred Tibetan Terrier (TT) born on February 14, 2011. He died on Friday, November 27, 2020 after suffering from Protein-Losing Enteropathy (PLE) for five months. He was the sweetest, purest soul and I want to use this post to share some of my favorite memories of him.

My Memories of Obi

Obi as a puppy
Obi as a puppy

Alex and I purchased Obi in August, 2011. He was our first dog and actually our wedding present to ourselves. Obi arrived at the Orlando Airport shortly after we returned from our honeymoon.

As he grew older, Obi's pure white coat turned to dappled grey, but his love of bones and toys never changed.

Obi loved bones
Obi loved his bones

He used to walk around the house with his bone, looking for the best place to "hide" it. Some of his spots included: along the wall, in a corner, under a desk, wedged into the couch, and even under a pillow on the bed. And if Alex or I happened to come across a stashed bone, Obi would delightedly take it from us and start the search for a new hiding spot all over again.

Obi's favorite toys were those that had empty water bottles stuffed inside, especially if those bottles had squeaker caps on them. We had a number of water bottle toys, but this monkey was his favorite of all.

Obi loved toys
Obi and his monkey

It was always easy to tell Obi was happy because he would pick up the monkey and walk around the house squeaking and crackling as he crunched on the bottle.

Obi's all-time favorite game was the lure course. The lure is a flag tied to a cord. The cord is connected to a motor that zips it along a series of pulleys. Obi absolutely adored chasing the lure and it was a true joy to watch him run.

Obi chasing the lure
Obi chasing the lure

Another game Obi loved was to "Wake Up Alex". "Wake Up Alex" is a command I taught Obi that meant "run and jump on the bed to wake up Alex". As you can imagine, this was great fun (for Obi, at least). And the "Wake Up Alex" game always ended in morning cuddles.

Wake Up Alex
Obi and Alex after a Wake Up Alex game

Obi was a master manipulator. He figured out the ultimate method for getting us to give him what he wanted, and it was a technique I was utterly powerless to resist. Obi's trump card was "The Paw." Here's how it worked:

  • Stage 1: The Eyes Obi would come over and sit next to me (or Alex) and just stare at me.
  • Stage 2: The Chin Next, Obi would rest his head next to me or on my leg, continuing to work those puppy eyes.
  • Stage 3: The Paw If all else failed, Obi would extend his front left foot and gently tap my leg or rest his paw on the couch next to me. Sometime's he'd just wave his paw in my general direction. This completely did me in and I caved every time.

Obi Uses the Paw
Obi uses The Paw

Obi was a very majestic dog, but he definitely had his moments of silliness.

Obi was majestic
Obi relaxing on the lanai

Obi was a spaz
Obi had a spaz attack on the lanai

Obi being silly
Obi rolling around on his dog bed

It's impossible to give a complete picture of Obi without mentioning Revan. Revan was our other TT, and he and Obi were like brothers.

Obi and Revan want food
Revan and Obi want my food

The two of them were always together...

Obi and Revan
Obi and Revan after an exhausting game of Wake Up Alex

...even if Revan occassionally used Obi as a chair.

Revan sat on Obi
Revan sitting on Obi

Bath day was a hated event. TTs have hair, not fur, and they don't shed like most dogs. As a result, they don't need baths very often, and once a month was our routine.

Wet puppies
Wet puppies are sad puppies

Obi didn't like getting wet, but he didn't really mind being wet. Poor Revan, on the other hand, hated every minute of it, but he was terrified of the blow dryer. Since I couldn't blow dry him, the poor guy would shiver until his fur dried, and to keep him from getting sick, I wrap Revan up in a blanket. Obi, the good brother that he was, would keep Revan company while he was in his puppy burrito.

Obi and Revan are wet
Obi keeping Revan company on Bath Day

The only day worse than Bath Day was Grooming Day, which happened every 3-4 months. No one liked Grooming Day, but Obi and Revan sure were happy once their thick coats of fur were gone!

Before and After Grooming Day
Before and after on Grooming Day, complete with a brussels sprout snack

One of the things I miss most about Obi is how he liked to sleep under my desk. Revan sometimes hangs out with me, but Obi always did. Anytime I worked on a quilt or at my computer, he was right there with me.

Obi under my desk
Obi under my desk

Puppies under my desk
Obi and Revan under my desk while sewing Beauty Queen

The End

In July, 2020, Obi suddenly developed Protein-Losing Enteropathy (PLE) caused by Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD). PLE is a disease in which Obi's intestines stopped absorbing protein correctly, leading to fluid containing that protein collecting in his abdomen. Dogs who develop this condition have a 50/50 chance of surviving 6 months, and another 50/50 chance after that of surviving a year.

For almost five months, we did everything we possibly could to keep Obi healthy. From a biopsy to ultrasounds to oral medications and injections and, at the end, a blood transfusion. The blood transfusion was our last ditch effort to reset Obi's system. The idea was to artificially increase Obi's protein levels back to "normal" via the transfusion. Doing this would give his body a chance to reduce the inflammation and function normally, with the hope that after this reset, Obi's body would start responding to the medication.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. Obi had a few final, happy days following the transfusion but just one week later, on November 24, his protein levels had fallen dramatically. There was nothing else we could do. (Not only were Obi's intestines enlarged and leaking fluid into his abdomen, his body was getting the protein it needed by eating away at his muscles. He was losing fur. He was on rationed water and a very strict diet, was taking five medications a day, was too weak to play, wasn't allowed to chew on any bones, and was uncomfortable all the time. Our boy was suffering.)

Obi on Thanksgiving morning
Obi on Thanksgiving morning, 2020

In the end, Obi himself chose when to throw in the towel. After the vet visit on Tuesday, I stopped rationing his water and let him eat a more relaxed diet. Thanksgiving morning, two days later, Obi stopped eating altogether. We said our final goodbyes the next day.

Memorials

One silver lining to this awful situation is I knew it was coming and could prepare. I took the photos I needed to order a Cuddle Clone. I'm putting together a Shutterfly book of photos and a shadowbox of his collar, photo, and fur.

Obi's Fur
Obi's fur in a small vial

And, of course, I'm planning a quilt of Obi and Revan. But I need some time before I make a quilt of him. I miss him too much right now.

Thank you for reading about my sweetheart, Obi. He was a truly wonderful dog and the world is a dimmer place without his bright, inquisitive spirit. That's how I want to remember him: As the curious, happy puppy I loved so much.

Obi
Love you, Obi. You'll be forever missed.