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In Memoriam: Simba


Simba was already an elderly gentleman when I met him five years ago--a perpetually good natured, nonstop tail wagging golden retriever  chow mix who could easily have passed for years younger than his true age of 13.  He lived in a shady pen in front of John and Rebecca Thorntonís home and took his job as shelter mascot and chief greeter of visitors very seriously. No one could pass by those laughing eyes and that full body waggle without bestowing a pat on his head.  Simba lived for attention and affection, and he gave it just as readily as he received it.

What few people realized, however, was that Simba had spent his first 12 years as a family pet before being abandoned at the shelter for reasons unknown. Some dogs would have had their spirit crushed by such a turn of events. But in classic Simba fashion, he bounced back and embraced his new life and his new best friend, John Thornton.  

Simba arrived at the shelter with a bad case of heartworms, and he became the oldest dog to be treated by our vet.  He came through the difficult treatment with no problems. I always thought it was because his heart was so full of love that not even heartworms could stop it.  At the age of 17 Simba developed a large tumor at the base of his tail.  Again he proved his strength and resilience by surviving the major surgery with no problems.


By the time Simba turned 18 his body was showing signs of age but his spirit was undaunted. He still patrolled his pen daily, a little slower in step but no less joyous. Then came the night when John found Simba staggering, vomiting, and gasping for breath. He immediately rushed Simba to Animal Medical Clinic in Vicksburg, MS where Dr. Krapac kindly met us at midnight. We hoped at first that it was a severe intestinal infection, but tests revealed acute pancreatitis and kidney failure. Despite all efforts to save him, our dear boy crossed the Rainbow Bridge on July 19, 2010.

Now Simba is running in green fields where dogs are always happy and never sick. Our lives are so much richer for having shared this world with Simba. We will always miss you, sweet boy, but we know your spirit lives on and some day we will be with you again.


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