|This handsome devil is my dog. He's only the best dog ever.|
About four weeks ago I made the decision to put my very, very beloved Shar Pei down. These dogs typically live between 8 and 10 years. My Moosh, is 12 1/2 today. He is a very old boy. He went blind about four years ago - nothing wrong with his eyes as I found out from various Vets and specialists but rather, something neurological. In the last year, his nose stopped producing that cold and wet feeling and he entered liver failure. The vets couldn't understand why he didn't feel sick but since he still ate and drank and slept with enthusiasm, I figured I would enjoy the ride while it lasted. When his immune system began shutting down last spring, resulting in chronic nasal, eye and ear infections, he continued to be joyous in the little life that he had so we just kept trekking to the vet every couple of months for antibiotics to keep them at bay. In the last six months he went deaf. None of this seemed to matter to him and as long as it didn't matter to him, it didn't matter to me. I was ready to keep going as long as he was. Who would have thought, after overcoming this series of obstacles, that it would be something so simple that gave me the understanding that we had reached the end. After the winter, and in about April, dogs shed their thicker, fluffier winter coat and grow in their summer coat. This year, some system in my dog's brain said "enough is enough" and his winter coat never fell out. Early on it didn't matter as we had a pretty cool and prolonged spring. In the last week or two though, the warmer weather has finally arrived...and with his breathing troubles, my dog is finally uncomfortable.
|His favourite activity - stealing and hoarding the pillows|
I got Moosh at a year and a half old from the Ottawa Humane Society. I had just moved to Ottawa on a whim and was missing the presence of a dog -- we had them growing up. When I saw him on their website, I immediately sent the photo to my friend Jon whose only reply was "you HAVE to get that dog." I went the next day. Moosh and I really didn't work out at first. He was a bit of a cautious stick-in-the-mud. Breed research shows this breed to be standoffish and man, was he true to type. I wasn't sure we were gonna make it and thought, even briefly, that maybe I had made a mistake. Then, we had a thunderstorm. All of a sudden, I was his fiercest protector and closest ally. He spent the next decade trying to crawl in my mouth every time the skies opened up.
|Enjoying the antithesis of thunderstorms; the sunshine.|
Pretty much after that Moosh decided I was a little bit of okay. We evern developed a period of a few years where he suffered from such severe separation anxiety that he tried to eat his way through door frames in order to escape the confines of our home world to come find me. He would chew and dig on wood and nails till his mouth and feet bled. This dog loved me that much. Almost too much.
That is, almost as much as he loved the freedom of exploring our neighbourhood...off his leash...without a collar. For many years my dog was a master of escape. He liked nothing more than digging under fences and bolting out front doors under the less than vigilant watches of friends with no clue and me with no coffee. He once went missing at 2 am and I couldn't entice him back for over two hours. Work was fun that next morning. Most times I could trick him to coming home by promising a car ride. I'd slide up real close to him and reach around to the back seat and pop open the door. He'd come casually sauntering in. Then, I'd jump out and slam the door. Ha! Take that! Trapped! Move a second too early though and he'd know it was a trap and he'd take off. Once I found him in a neighbour's back yard chowing down on some cat food. Twice - that's right - TWICE, I only got to come home once he'd been sprayed square in the face by a skunk. Those were fun evenings. The house stunk for DAYS.
But I wouldn't have traded a single minute of it. I would take each skunk spraying, door repainting, sleepless night and trip to the Vet all over again just to have had the experience of loving this dog for this long. I know everyone has a special place in their heart for their animal, but I really don't think I can convey the place he's had in mine. You see, I'm not married and I don't have kids. I probably never will (and that is totally cool). But that means this dog is the first adult family I made for myself. We grew up together. I became a department head and eventually a Vice Principal with this dog. I bought my first house. This dog has been the reason I come home at night and the only living creature I have had to consider when deciding what to do with my life or where to go. And I'm gonna miss him. In a way I'm not sure I'll ever get over.
Trying to find what to say about Moosh, about how great he's been and what he means to me is hard. I don't know if I'm even doing it justice. I just needed to find a way to say thanks to him for everything he gave me over the last 11 years. I think the Oatmeal has best summed up what a relationship with a dog is like in their post "The Dog Paradox." I have to own this one day.
Anyways Moosh, I just wanted to make sure to send out to the universe that I love you more than I thought I ever could and I'll miss you more than I think I can ever bear.
|Moosh: January 6, 2001 - June 5, 2013|