Monday, July 2, 2007

Why do we love animals so much?

12 years ago, we lost a dog that got hit by a car. We had only had her a year. That was so traumatic. As a result one of my kids, Heather & I went to the Humane Association right away and found the cutest dog ever-Mocha. The woman who was showing us around said, "Oh, and this is her sister" pointing to a black dog huddled in the corner in the kennel next Mocha's. Oh god, how can we NOT adopt this one too? Heather & I decided we could not split these 2 up-I mean what kind of person would split up siblings? So we went and adopted both of them but they had to get fixed so we didn't bring them home that day. I got home and told Hartley we adopted 2 dogs-sisters! he flipped out-"No I won't have TWO dogs, ever!" So Heather & I schemed and she went with him to the shelter to pick out which dog we wanted. Well, Heather turned on her Heather charm and guess what? They brought home 2 dogs (Hartley muttering something about not being able to choose). We have had these dogs since they were puppies. (Yes that is pee stain on our carpet-they loved to do that-we did not love that).

So these dogs have gone through raising 4 teenage daughters (well i think the 2 older ones were gone by now), 2 houses, building of one cabin and many, many trips to Chama. We thought we lost them once when a bottle of Tylenol was found empty on the floor and we thought it had been full. They were puppies and of course eating everything-they even ate holes in the wall in picture above. The Tylenol scare ended up to be nothing or they never reacted I guess. They once ate a whole bag of chocolate Halloween candy. Now there was some serious diarrhea after that. We think the neighbor was poisoning our dogs because Midnite became really sick and almost died in our last house. She was on steroids for years for the autoimmune disorder she supposedly had but funny how she could get off of the meds after we moved (I hated that neighbor). The steroids made her one crazy hungry dog. She once ate a hundred dollar bill, 2 tickets to the biggest basketball Lobo game ever, and loved tissues and papers. Once we moved into this house things calmed down a bit.Mocha and Midnite were now inside dogs! They loved it. We kept them in the kitchen at night, they hung out with us all the time. By this time of course they were very attached to Hartley, whom they followed everywhere. He, of course grew to love both our puppies over the years and they are "his dogs". So the last 6 years we have been in this house and kids are gone, they are really like our children. just enough a pain in the ass that you wonder why you have them, then as loving as can be and you cannot imagine life without these pets..

Imagine how difficult it was in September when the vet finally said it was time to let Midnite go. She had a tumor in her head, we had her to the vet many times, all kinds of meds. They are now considered geriatric dogs and each day a gift. I can't tell you how hard it was to see Midnite in the vet's office fully awake, about to go to doggy heaven. Her last act was to come over to me and bury her head in my lap. Kind of like saying-oh I am not sure I am ready. Or maybe saying goodbye. Hartley, Heather & I were there. We watched her go to sleep, painlessly and it was the hardest day i think I have ever had, except maybe when my mom died. Hartley and I can still barely talk about her. We took her to the cabin her last weekend on the planet. We knew it was time when she could no longer run and chase animals in the woods. Here is our sweet, neurotic Midnite with Hartley that last weekend.

Sometimes I can feel her in the house still. Of course Mocha was a bit confused after Midnite was gone. She couldn't understand why she was able to eat her food, un-harrassed. Midnite was the dominate dog and now Mocha had the whole space to herself. She didn't know what to do! She really didn't seem to skip a beat until she got out of the kitchen one day and tore down a bunch of our wooden blinds-this from a dog that has never had an act of aggression in her life (except toward other dogs). An expensive acting out for Mocha and us. i must admit, it was a bit of relief to finally have daily walks where Mocha did not go after other dogs, they did not fight with each other anymore (that got to be a problem later in life). So there really are positives in having just one dog. But we miss that black part lab,part chow dog.

Here is Mocha-the remaining canine in the family:

Mocha is now 12 years old. She is not eating these past few days, has some blood in her stool. She is still very excited to go for walks-that is a good sign. We are taking her to the vet tomorrow-dreading the worst but hoping it is a passing thing. Hartley and I can't stand the thought of putting another dog down right now, our last "child". But we know it is inevitable someday soon-we just are not ready yet. Are we ever ready to say goodbye to our pets-those furry animals whose only goal in life is to comfort you, protect you and serve you? I think not.


Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

I hope you get to enjoy Mocha for a few more years. I've been through the whole pet loss thing. We just recently (Jan) brought home a new young dog after losing the three geriatric ones that we had (one at 13, one at 16(!), and the final one at 14 last November). Two we put down, one died at home. It all sucked. We did everything we could until it just wasn't enough anymore.

I swore I'd never do that again, but now we have one energetic young dog that loves to run 2 miles with us...he's sleeping at my feet as I type... he also marks all over everything in the house (grrrrr). And two cats. And someday we'll have to say goodbye AGAIN and that time I swear i'm not doing this again!

My point is, I understand, and I hope it works out well for you & Mocha.

Vickie said...

I'm glad your dog is okay. I've been through this so many times too, that and all the chewing, digging, running off, etc. that happens with pets but you still can't part with them, right?