Warning: This is a long read, but Dog so earned it. So bear with me. Humor? Not so much today. Dog did provide us with humor in the past which is why I am posting this also in the Humor category.
Sunday evening, 02/26/2017:
My heart is breaking and breaking and breaking as I write this. Tonight, I have had to accept the fact that Dog’s time on earth has reached the end. Tears are flowing down my face and my nose is so stopped up I can barely breathe. I can’t sleep! I am surprised I can even see through my contacts. How do you say goodbye to a fur baby that has been your protector, entertainer, pain in the butt, comforter, pain in the butt, best friend, pain in the butt, sounding board, child, pain in the butt, right hand man, shadow, pain in the butt, companion for the last 11 years? Did I say pain in the butt? As most of you know, he did that part so well!
While my blog is supposed to be all about humor, sometimes humor doesn’t make an appearance until much later when you get beyond the grief, sadness, and heartbreak and/or maybe it is part of the grieving phase. I am not sure I will be able to find humor in this post, but in Dog’s honor I am going to do my darndest to do so! He has always been such a prankster and in turn this will be a celebration of his life. He has been entertainment not only for me, but for my family, friends, Facebook, Twitter and Blog friends. It was actually family and friends who gave me the idea to create the Blog as they loved hearing what shenanigans Dog was up to next. I wanted to name the blog “Aunt Maxine and Dog”, but since he was 12 years old at the time of the blog creation and already having issues, I knew that was probably not a good idea. It broke my heart to not be able to do so, and so I did as many blogs as I could that included him. To me, it will always be Aunt Maxine and Dog as Dog has definitely been the little Dennis the Menace in canine form and brought joy and laughter to so many people!
If you are too young to know who Dennis the Menace is, then do what you do best and google him! He is a trip!
Dog and I came to be about a month after I lost my previous dog and she was a force to be reckoned with in her own right.
I lost her Christmas week of 2005. She came to live with me when she was about two years of age and was with me for about 7 years and was the female canine version of Dennis the Menace, but so smart, sweet and loyal. I didn’t think I would be ready for another dog for a long time. But, then, about a month later, after a three-day weekend of walking around outside and looking behind me only to find no one there, coming home to a dark, lonely house, I knew I was ready. I was lost. I was lonely. And the house was a lonely dark even during the sunshine. Apparently God thought so, too, as that following Monday, a good friend of mine at work walked me out at the end of the day and said, “I know it may be too soon for this and I do not want to make you cry, but do you think you would be ready for another dog?” I was surprised as I could not believe the timing. Her future son-in-law was looking for a home for Dog as he and Friend’s daughter were living in a townhouse with a crackerbox yard. Dog had been chewing the furniture and he would be put in the crackerbox yard during the day only to bark all resulting in multiple municipal ordinance citations.
Can we say red flags?????? Furniture chewing? Barking??? Hmmmm…. I have over three acres with about 2-1/2 fenced. So, there was plenty of room to roam. Instead of running the other way, I said okay, bring him out and let us meet.
We hit it off from the beginning. Former Dog Dad actually got his feelings hurt because Dog went inside with me while Former Dog Dad was still outside beside his truck. Not even turning around to say goodbye. But, it didn’t take long. Dog stayed near the gate for several weeks waiting for Former Dog Dad to return. That broke my heart. Happened with former Dog, too, when her Former Dog Dad left her with me. Can you imagine? I now can. Don’t even think your dog will not miss you after a long period of time. They never stop.
So, in trying to get him settled in and thinking I would not have to buy new dog thingies, I should have known better! That darned dog would not go near Former Dog’s dishes – I tried. Water and food dishes. Nope. He sort of danced around them. I thought mmmm – hmmmm, she is haunting his butt telling him to stay away from her dishes and her territory! I had to get him new dishes. This should have been my first sign because he would not eat or drink out of metal bowls! Really? He would only drink out of plastic bowls as in disposable bowls. Couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t eat or drink at the kennel until I realized it was the bowls! Darned dog is a basket case or spoiled arse rotten dog or both!
So from the beginning, due to Red Flags, Dog stayed outside when I left. Remember how I said that Former Dog only took one day to learn to stay inside the gate unless received permission otherwise? Dog? Are you kidding me? It took me months and two sessions of dog whisperer training to get him to stay inside the gate! He only chewed up one pair of my shoes (brand new at that! Grrrr), and a few gardening pots, but other than that, he was in heaven! He chased squirrels, deer, and barked at nocturnal critters (ugh). He exerted that energy and became a great dog as long as he was either inside the fence, in a vehicle with the windows partially (half a head) down or on a leash!!! Otherwise, he was gone! If he ever got on a scent – especially a deer scent – you and everyone else might as well be poison ivy! He couldn’t hear or see you! He was on a mission and he sounded like a herd of elephants on a deer run!
I swear that dog could smell a deer from inside the house! Unbelievable! I stopped putting corn and apples out because all I seemed to be doing was fattening up the raccoons and squirrels as Dog kept the deer out of the yard. It was really funny watching him on his runs. All four legs would go out and his tail would turn into a propeller. No joke. I have never seen a dog do this. I kept trying to get video of Dog on a deer run, but, you just never know when he would take off and go. So, unless I had a video cam going 24-7 on backyard, it wasn’t going to happen.
It was funny though because eventually the deer realized he couldn’t get beyond the fence and they would bust butt to jump the fence and stop just on the other side, look at him as he is jumping up and down going absolutely nuts. It was like they were saying, “Nanny nanny boo boo – you can’t catch us!”
He would do this, too, for the squirrels, but not to the level of excitement that he would get with deer. And he and the squirrels had their own games with each other. Now, this is the dog that hated, absolutely HATED a bath. I would have to chase him down just at my bringing out the dog shampoo and a towel. He knew what the bottle looked like. Are you serious? Can’t I get a dumb dog for a change? So, knowing this, it was really surprising that when a storm would come up, he would go nuts to go outside so he could check out all of the squirrels’ storm shelters! Seriously Dog? Get your butt in here before it gets struck by lightning! He would be out there lollygagging! And then I could get him to return to the house, he would be sopping wet! Wet dog hair and towels. A washing machine and dryer’s nightmare! Ugh!
When I first got him, I would take him with me on my errands. Leave the windows rolled down and drive on down the road until THE day! Yep, THE day! Every once in a while I had a problem with his barking at someone walking or being nearby, and I would roll up his windows. No problem. This day? Not so easy! I was sitting at a BUSY intersection – multiple lanes on all four sides – and back windows down – and just as I am pulling out to turn left he gets sight of a SQUIRREL on the left! What? He is about halfway out the window when I finally get ahold of the power button as I am trying to maneuver a safe turn to get the window up and keep him inside, when he races to the other side, and sees another squirrel trying to dodge out that window! Geeze oh pete, God Help Me, Please!!!!! Prayers prayers prayers! How I was able to make the turn safely and get both windows up while keeping Dog inside is beyond me. God is good! I was a nervous wreck! Needless to say, from that point forward, windows only were allowed down to half-head height – in other words, he could only get half his head out side of a window! This is a dog that doesn’t like wind on his body such as a ceiling or other type fan, much less hanging his head out a window, so no issue! He likes to put his nose out just enough to get the smells and then he settles back down in the seat. Ahhhh…. Dang dog!
The last week or two near the end, he was at my side 24-7. He would pant if I wasn’t nearby and many times even if I was he would peel his ears back. That was a sign he was in pain. I was already giving him almost the full dose that I was allowed to do so. I tried to give him whatever he needed or wanted. The last night, I had to call friends over to help me get him inside. I tried everything I could to coax him in – the Yum Yums (smoked chicken), nope. Tried picking him up – he yelped in pain no matter where on his body I put my hands. I cried. I gave him extra pain meds – nope. I tried using a towel as a hoist, but he again yelped in pain. The temps were going to dip too low to leave him outside and I couldn’t anyway. He needed to be near me. It was getting late. I had been trying for several hours – even ran to Target to see if they had a rear-end type harness I could use. But, nope. I finally called my Bestie and she and Hubby came immediately. I was in tears when they pulled into the driveway as Dog and I were sitting outside, me with a blanket and he with a towel over him to trying to keep him warm. Bestie gets out and she, too, is in tears but immediately tries to change the atmosphere and she almost does until we all realize that THE TIME has arrived. I think we all thought we had more time – several more months or longer. Guess not.
I have watched him try to do a squirrel run and it just isn’t happening. It is heartbreaking to watch, but I try to let him have his moments. He tries.
Dog loves Bestie and Hubby so they go up on deck to try to coax him and nope. Not happening. He is so happy to see them though. They decide to have him lie down on a blanket and they will then pick up the blanket to bring him in. He was very calm throughout the process. That told me a lot. I saw his look when he was in the blanket. It is time. And my and Bestie’s hearts break all over again.
So, tonight, I have tried to go to bed my normal time, but all I could do was cry. I listened for Dog to see where he was. I used to could hear his “click click click” all over the hardwood floors, but those clicks have faded over time as I have not heard then in a while. I was waiting to hear him last night after I had already gone to bed as he made it from the kitchen to the bedroom and there weren’t even any clicks, just a really slow walk. You couldn’t even hear the clicks and I really had to strain to hear him walking. I have noticed for the last week or so that he has been sleeping just inside the master bathroom door which is about 3 feet from my bed – and he hasn’t moved all night long which is so unusual. He is usually all over and everywhere all night long which depends on the nocturnal critters and temperatures. And on weekends, he has been in and out even more than usual. I believe it is because he can’t get comfortable and doesn’t want to get far from me at same time. Can you say heart breaking all over again? This is a different antsy – more like, please help me as I can’t get comfortable.
Maybe it has been past time, but not for me. How do you let go when it is time to let go? I have always known that humans have to be ready to let go of their fur babies when it is past time them to go. That seems so selfish, but then humans hang on sometimes until one or all of their loved ones can let go. Why are fur babies any different? They aren’t. They, too, have to make sure their Human is ready for them to go and will be okay.
It is now 3:30 a.m. and I really need to get to bed, but I am still wide awake. I am tired, but awake. My heart is broken and tired. I am watching him sleep as I know tonight may be the last evening I have with him. Tears start to flow every time I think of “goodbye”. I keep taking photos to capture memories. Most are already in my memory cells and can’t be captured with a camera. I keep trying to make sure I can make his last time, minutes, moments being of good thoughts, happy times and my holding him.
I woke up with Dog lying right beside my bed. I had placed a towel in the bathroom where he normally slept with hopes of giving his back legs more traction, but apparently he didn’t agree. My heart broke when I saw he couldn’t even sleep his last night in his spot. He just recently started sleeping as near me as he could and being right under my feet. It has only been since Sunday evening that I have thought back on his recent changed habits that should have been red flags flapping me in the face. Could it be because we do not want to see those flags? Denial? I believe so. As long as I could see sparkles in his eyes, happy to have his yum-yums (smoked chicken tenderloins a/k/a pill wrappers), Denta-Stix and whatever else he could twist my little finger to get, I kept thinking he was fine and issues were temporary or that I could fix with home treatments, food, increased medication, etc.
March 11, 2017
First this this morning wearing my shades to hide the tears, I picked up Dog rom the Vet. He was in a gift bag along with a few other items, cards, etc., but I cannot look in it. Not yet. I brought the bag home and placed it on the table next to the sliding glass doors overlooking the back that he loved. Also on the table sits the plaque and the cards that close friends gave me in memory of him.
March 18, 2017
I thought I was ready to continue with his tribute, but I am not so sure. Last Saturday I picked up his remains along with the gift bag of other items, which included his paw print. I could not look in it. I thought I could today since I have been dogsitting Bestie’s two dogs this week. That is a whole ‘nother post all by itself! (FYI “’nother” is southern slang aka “another”.) As I looked in the bag, tears started welling up. His paw print – yep, that is his. I couldn’t bear to cut his nails as it was too painful to maneuver his body in order for me to do so and therefore I definitely recognize his paw print. In addition, he had slender paws.
I will look into the best way to display it, whether shadow box, frame of some kind, etc. There are so many new ideas out there today. I will post it when I do. I welcome any suggestions you may have as well.
I can’t bear to look further into that gift bag. One day I will. But, not today.
Yesterday, I ordered a set of charms from a good friend of mine in his memory. Not only was I helping her 4 year old grandson’s fund (he has had amputations and about to undergo more surgery on 03/20/2017), but it will help to keep Dog’s memory alive – not like that would ever be a problem or anything!
[Courtesy of Nancy Parnell and Premier Jewelry.]
Dog, you touched so many people and they loved you ALMOST as much as I did. You will always have my heart. You provided me with love, loyalty, aggravation, love, frustration, love, entertainment, but most of all, love. I will forever miss you. Give a lick to Dog 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 for me and know that I will see each of you again one day and give you hugs and kisses! Until then, enjoy the squirrel and deer chases. Hopefully you will now be able to at least catch one of each.
Love ya Buddy. You will be forever missed.
Your Human Mom
aka Aunt Maxine