Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Losing Maggie and Scout - our dog kids

Dogs just do not live long enough. A small dog might live 14 years; a large one a few years less. They are our companions and in the majority of cases, about 85%, we refer to ourselves to the dog as "Mommy" or "Daddy". They understand words on a toddler level and though they can't speak our language, are quite eloquent in their own language of barks, whines, licks and snuggles. They are our children with fur.

Two of our dog kids passed away recently, within three months of each other. Maggie was an almost all white Jack Russell with a Fran Dresher bark and the ability to leap two feet off the ground. With her white, almost lightbulb shaped head and black eyes, she looked like the tabloid alien. She was 13 years and some months old, and in addition to pancreatitis, she had developed a heart condition.She had come to us through our vet, who told us her owner had had a stroke and could no longer care for her.

Scout, our Rat Terrier, had been advertised for sale in the paper. A worried looking dog - I said he looked like Peter O'Toole in Goodbye, Mr. Chips- he had a nervous habit of chewing holes in blankets. Probably why the last family got rid of him. After he destroyed a favorite quilt, I was tempted - but he looked at me with those eyes and I just couldn't care about cloth more than him. Thereafter we covered the bed with thin, cheap blankets he could eat. He did eat them - we never found the pieces he removed.

Both dogs began to fade in a similar manner. They didn't eat or drink and had a faraway look in their eyes. Mary Beth noticed it and called us each time. A good friend of ours,she had been keeping them for us in a kind of doggie hospice, since riding in the truck with us would have been too much for them. She was a wonderful caregiver for them, and we will always be grateful.

We took them to the vet and he agreed they were dying, and put them to sleep gently so there would be no further suffering. We had each cremated, and their ashes are in little wooden boxes with their collars around them. The vet's office has a sweet custom of sending condolence notes to those whose pets have died.

Our Fluffernut is twelve. A Jack Russell mix, she is Daddy's baby. She sleeps in his arms at night. I hope it's not too much to ask God to let her live as long as possible.

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