Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Our beloved puppy

We met Jill in a local, reputable pet store in August of 1998. She was born in May 1998. We were looking for a puppy with spunk and none of the puppies in this store seemed to have any. So we pet them all and played with them, and took them out and tested them out. Then we came to Jill. She was sleepy in the cage, not playing much, not doing much. Then we took her out. She tore across the store, zooming around and running like crazy. And we were hooked. We took her home with us.

She was potty trained within a month and rarely peed in the house unless we left her too long. Which was obviously our fault and not hers. She was cute and fluffy and playful and such fun. She also learned to beg. For food, for petting, for attention, for pretty much everything. She could balance on those back legs for at least thirty minutes, if not longer. It was quite a skill, and it usually earned her a reward.

She grew over time, just as we grew. We moved to a new house, which she promptly inspected and approved and learned to love the new yard and new space we had to expand. And then came the children. She was great with them, considering they weren't that great with her. At one point, I know that Sophie took a plastic kitchen spoon and smacked her directly on the head with it. Whap! Worst sound ever and I came down on Sophie so fast, she thought I was insane. Jill was my real first child. I made sure she didn't even think of doing that ever again! And then Lexi came along. She's only three now, so she won't remember Jill, but she loved her most right at the end, when she would lay down and rub her back and pet her head. Jill had given up on trying to avoid the girls altogether, and sometimes she could get crumbs and food from them if she just waited around long enough. It was a good trade off. They coexisted well enough.

Lately she'd been having some trouble. Trouble with peeing in the house, trouble with seeing where she was going. She had extensive dental surgery to repair her broken jaw and pull some rotten teeth. She taught us a lesson about doggie dental care - it's not just a crazy idea to get more money. If we'd spent it on her during her lifetime, she'd have had more teeth now. Her heart murmur was becoming more noticeable and she wasn't nearly as playful as she used to be. She still came running when the bread bag was open, or when chips were in play, but she wasn't as quick as she used to be.

Last week she started having trouble even standing up and walking. She was wobbling and tipping over some of the time. She started peeing in the house often. So often we knew something terrible was wrong. We took her to a vet who didn't try hard enough to find an answer, so we brought her home and hoped it would work itself out. It didn't. After several days of watching her struggle, of seeing her stop eating and really stop doing much, we took her to a new vet. Immediately they knew what might be wrong and ran some tests to confirm it. She was bleeding into her abdomen, we don't know exactly why or how, it could be a tumor or an infection, or just something old age had given to her. She was anemic and very close to needing a transfusion. So it was time to make a ridiculously difficult decision. She wasn't in pain necessarily, but she was unable to eat, unable to pee outside properly, unable to jump up on the couch, and unable to be the dog we knew her as.  So we made the most difficult decision we've had to make in a very very long time. We had to put our beloved puppy to sleep yesterday. It was quite possibly the worst day I can remember in a very long time. The girls are ok, because they weren't quite as attached, but the husband and I are broken with the loss. We miss her terribly, the routine, the noises, the fluff. But she's not hurting anymore, and we don't want her to hurt.


  1. Catching up on your blog here....

    I am SO SORRY for your loss. I've had to put a cat down before -- she was 19 years old and was part of my daily existence for more than half of my life. I was a MESS. I'm so sorry you had to make that decision. It's never easy.

  2. Thanks - it was rough, still rough some days, but it's better every day :)