May 19th was Pookie’s fourteenth birthday, and even though she’s a dog and the concept of birthdays is probably out her scope, me and Kat decided to celebrate it anyways with a little cake made of her favorite foods; Tuna, peas, and carrot peelings. We put it in a little bowl, got a candle, sang her happy birthday like idiots, and gave her the little dish. Something wasn’t quite right though. She didn’t finish it.
Pookie hadn’t been herself for the last week or so, actually. She was sleeping a lot more. She was having a hard time balancing. And now she wasn’t eating as much as she used to. Me and Kat decided that, after the long weekend, we’d take the doggle in for a checkup.
Unfortunately it was a really long weekend, and Pookie had stopped eating all-together. I took her in Tuesday morning, and the prognosis wasn’t good. The statement from the vet was “We’ll go as far as you’d like to go with this” which is coded words for “we can put her down right now if you don’t want to spend any more money”. I wanted to know what was wrong with her, and I knew Kat would sell everything we own for her little dog, so I signed off on some more tests.
I gave Kat a call, explained the situation, and told her we’d know by noon. So I picked her up from work and we drove to the vet in silence. On arrival, the vet sat us down and gave us the bad news.
Pookie had late stage kidney disease. Some of the tests they ran were so bad they were off the charts. She didn’t have a lot of time. They gave her some IV fluid to keep her going for a bit, but when we got home it hit us that we’d have to put down our little furball.
I’ve never owned a dog before. I wasn’t a dog person. When someone lost a dog, my only reaction was “Well, it was just a dog.” But after living with a dog for two years, after having her greet me everyday when I got home, getting pictures from Kat of Pookie waiting for me by the door, her running up to the kitchen every time I was peeling carrots in the hopes she’d get some, well, you get pretty attached to the little fluffer. I fell in love with that dog, and now I had to say goodbye.
It’s a strange pact you make with an animal. Unless you’re getting a turtle or a parrot, you’re going to outlive. The story when getting an animal almost always ends the same way; with grief. A dog only has a decade, maybe a decade and a half of life. You’ll watch it turn from an excited, wiggly puppy to an old dog that’s struggling to walk.
It hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. After Pookie passed I’ve been pretty miserable to be around. I’ve basically sat around like a goon, playing video games, and stuffing my face with ice cream. Both Kat and I have been doing everything in order to avoid hearing the sound of silence that’s now permeating our apartment. Every once and a while you find something that reminds you of Pookie and your eyes get all misty and you have to get yourself another bowl of ice cream.
Look at this dog’s stupid little face!
But even though the doggle is gone, her dumb little spirit remains. We managed to get some of her paw prints cast before she left us, and we’re getting her paw prints tattooed next week. We’re already talking about what kind of dogs we’re going to get when we finally settle down. Even though her loss hurt me, I’m willing to try this dog experiment again.
I’ve now officially had a dog, and it’s come with the pain of losing a dog. Five years ago I would have never imagined, but Mr. Charlton is a dog person, and will own day be a dog owner again.
The Illustrious Mr. Charlton
p.s. Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about dealing with grief. ‘Cause I am now an expert on it.