Dogs Should Live Forever



I remember getting him as a puppy.

I had another miscarriage and I was more than depressed.  Living in Pickering, Ontario I was trying so hard to have a baby.  Thousands of dollars in fertility treatments and a husband (at the time) who kept reminding me that he was more than okay with not having a child.  He was a reluctant Father to begin with, and liked our kinda quiet life of dual income no kids.  It allowed us to spend like idiots, which would make some people happy.  Not me though.  And every miscarriage or faux pregnancy I managed to get another pet for a few years, until we found ourselves with three cats, two chihuahuas and a bird named Billy.

But the day I wandered into the Pet Store (I know… I know.. I got educated about puppymills almost immediately afterward) there was this small little mouse of a black and white thing in the puppy display.  He caught my attention because he looked sadder than I felt, alone and in a corner.  He was howling and then looking down at his feet.  I was touched.  And when I approached the window, he perked up and ran over to wagging a shoelace tiny mouse tail so fast, he made me laugh.

And then I saw the price tag and turned my back.  There was no way my husband was going to go for spending $1,000 on a dog.  No way.  I got to the dog treat aisle before I heard him yelping again, and I turned around and he was facing the corner, looking at me sadly over his shoulder.  That act of skillful manipulation would become the cornerstone of our relationship.

Senor Diego saw me through my infertility crises, major surgeries and the dismantling of my life, as family dramas drove me so far from the nest, I tell people now that I was conceived in a laboratory in Toronto.  Humor is easier than the truth.  He saw me through wealthy years of burning money, to a small 375 square foot apartment near Yonge & Eglinton in Toronto, where I was car-less, and desperate to reinvent the writer/creative in me like some kind of episode of “Sex in the City”.  Only my income did not match Toronto cost of living.  He sat in the middle of my tiny kitchen watching me create culinary miracles from dollar store food finds.   And often, he’d have his own little plate too.

I was the girl kicked out of Mount Pleasant Cemetery more times than I can count for having a dog on my side-back-pack.  We liked to spend Saturday’s walking through the sculptures and taking pictures.

He saw me through the volatility of my failed parental rescue mission.  Hid in a corner when the fighting above me was so loud, we had to turn up the volume while trying to content write for the masses.   He saw me through bad boyfriends and some really great kids I came to know through mismatched relationships.   I buried my face into that chubby chihuahua a million times… and soaked his fur with my tears.  And he always calmed me, and made me feel like it would be okay, because I had him.  And after his own numerous health issues it became clear… that neither one of us were quitters.

He has always had a slight heart issue.  This weekend, we noticed a big change and took him to the vet this morning.  The xray was not what I wanted to see.  What came out of the vet’s mouth (and we have a great vet here in Texas) was not want I wanted to hear, when I dropped him off.

“His heart murmur sounds very pronounced and his chest is full of fluid.  This typically happens when an older dog …. ” and I lost sound.  I mean, I saw the vets lips moving but I have to admit I guess I just stopped listening.  That happens to me sometimes when I am in a high anxiety moment.  Happened when I got the call that I lost my Grandpa too.  And one day before leaving Everett on the stairs… when “thewomanformerlyknownasmymother” ripped the mask off and I saw what was always underneath.

(I only play an arrogant, insensitive bitch on t.v.).   I’m guessing it’s shock.

So the vet asked me to go away for a bit.  About two hours and that they would call me.  I would not indulge in something crazy like some donuts or iced coffee.  Food is not the answer.  Well fast food anyhow.  The next most calming thing I could do (without upsetting Diane or Kevin or anyone else’s day) was to head to the grocery store and buy groceries.  A lot of groceries.  I have no idea why this is therapeutic but it is.  (Kevin we have a box of six dozen eggs now… annnnnd…. go!)  :/

I must have looked at my phone a million times.  That didn’t alter my reality while my imagination went mental on the possibilities of losing the best friend I have had for fifteen years (sorry Diane he pre-dates you a little).  I just can’t process it even now.  Bawling… drinking water… bawling… rationalizing.

When I did get the call, I was there in less than five minutes.  I was parked at a park nearby and crying (helpfully).  The vet is a good one and noticing the puffy eyes, took me into the back room instead of letting me break down in front of other paying customers.  Thank you.  I hate losing my shit in front of others.   :(   I did appreciate that.

The xray was not what I wanted to see.  You can’t unsee it you know?  Like his murmur going from a 3 to a 7 or 8/10 in a six month period.  That’s bad.  His esophagus being impinged by his inflamed heart.  The irony of my sweet pup having a “too big heart” did not escape me.  The vet explained that the medication would “ease his discomfort and extend the time he has.”  I know they use that term with humans “on their way out” too.  I’ve heard that before.

An impromptu and apologetic day off to stay home and observe my dog, per the veterinarian’s request.  Medications.  He won’t stay in his bed and insists on follow me around while I pace.  I might just head to the bedroom and turn on a movie, and put him there with me and snuggle the best, most loyal, loving and long term relationship I have had in my entire life.

Also might make him an egg because he likes them, and we have too many.

And if you are wondering how someone who is upset can write a blog post … I really have no where else to get it out.  My heart is heavy, and my head is a loud place right now.  Dogs really should live forever shouldn’t they?  I’m not ready to let mine go.