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Down to One

>> Friday, October 22, 2010

We are officially a one dog household.  Things with our poor Lucy went downhill very, very quickly, and on Tuesday night we made the decision to put her to sleep before they got worse.  She'd stopped eating anything at all - not even hot dogs and deli roast beef - and was having trouble keeping down water.  While she was still perky enough to enjoy being outside and appreciate affection, it was time.  She certainly wasn't going to start feeling better, and we couldn't really control her pain.  We at least had the chance to spend last weekend with her, and she got visited by many of her favorite humans.  She got a whole lot of attention in those last few days, and surely knew she was loved.

No matter how many times I have to do it, it's always just abysmally miserable to have to take a pet in to be euthanized.  It's at least some small comfort to know it was important that we do it so she didn't suffer.  But Oy!  It's So. Damn. Hard.

I am glad that this time we still have Simon.  The last time we had to put a dog down, there was no canine to come home to, which was just ghastly.  I like having a one-dog household in the sense that it's easier to bond with a dog when there's only one, but I sure like the insurance policy of having two so I'm never completely without canine companions.  Dogs are mighty good at comforting when one is sad.  And somehow it helps when one is worrying more about someone else's grief than one's own.

Simon, for his part, is adjusting admirably.  Although he's neurotic, he's also a goofy, happy-go-lucky dog who is inclined to spontaneously dance and chase his own tail because he has so much exuberance that he just can't stand still.  So I have high hopes that he'll be okay.  He's a little mopey, and very, very clingy.  But he's eating well, and will even still play with us if we put effort into winding him up. 

Last night we found Simon sleeping on top of our cat Pippin, just like he always used to do with Lucy.  My husband says things happen for a reason, and although I don't generally buy into that kind of thinking, I'm almost inclined to believe him in this instance. Pippin, who arrived in our household only a few months ago, drives every other member of our household to absolute distraction.  He's a cocky, obnoxious brute, who beats up the girl kitties, teases our male cat Tucker so incessantly that Tucker has literally gone hoarse from hissing so much at him, has shredded one window screen, one stereo speaker cover, and is working on an arm chair, keeps us up all night spazzing, makes a game out of tripping people, frequently tortures small rodents, and is generally the most exasperating cat I have ever owned.  But Simon sure loves him.  And he loves Simon.  So, Pippin, I grudgingly admit I'm glad you're here, for Simon's sake.  But it's a darn good thing you're so stinkin' cute, or you might not have lasted this long.

Simon has yet to spend a whole day in a crate alone, so it remains to be seen how well he'll cope with that.  My father has been spending time with Simon and doing some day-time dog sitting to ease the transition into being home alone while my husband and I are at work.  We bought him a new, smaller crate that has a calming dog pheremone emitter doojobbie in it.  I'm hoping he doesn't turn himself into a giant hot spot or howl when we leave him in there all day.  If he does, and he shows signs that he's not able to adjust to being home alone, we shall go on a quest to find him a companion canine of his choosing. 

The worst part for now is when something jingles that sounds like a dog collar... then Simon jumps up and goes looking for his Lucy, and gets so sad when he can't find her.  It's heart breaking.  I hope he doesn't do it for long, for all our sakes.

I miss my Stumpy/Loofah/Floofy/Soul-Slucker/Lucy-fur/Loo-Loo/Lula-Mae.  (I think Lucy took the cake for having more nicknames than any other pet we've ever had).  I suspect I always will.  But I feel grateful that we got to have her in our lives, although it was for far, far too short a time.

Thank you to all of you who expressed condolences.  My old most-favorite-ever boss's advice when she learned Lucy was sick was to suggest we surround ourselves with animal lovers who "get it".  And it was very good advice.  Somehow it helps to know that other people understand just how hard it is to lose a dog.  Extra special thanks go to my father, who provided Lucy with hospice services early this week and who has so generously been looking after our lonely Simon.  Dad, you rock.  I can't tell you how incredibly grateful we are.

Lucy:  January 6, 2006 - October 19, 2010.



swamp4me October 22, 2010 at 7:18 PM  

A beautiful post. My eyes are so full of tears I can't see to type... May your whole family have peace.

Jacqueline Donnelly October 22, 2010 at 9:47 PM  

There are folks who know how much you hurt. We can't take that pain away, but we hope you take some comfort from knowing that we care.

Bill and dogs October 23, 2010 at 4:10 AM  

Having been through similar losses so many times in my life, I am filled with sympathy for you. I'm sorry for your loss.

Ellen Rathbone October 23, 2010 at 1:19 PM  

I'm right there with Swampy - I'm dripping and sniffling. Your post was thoughtful and heartwarming. Wonderful photos (as always). Give Simon a kiss on the nose from me. He's fortunate to have a great family, furry and human, to comfort him. And you are, too.

Reneé Leigh Stephenson October 23, 2010 at 5:43 PM  

oh most sincere of condolences.
what beautiful and engaging eyes she had!
i can help but smile when you mention how many nicknames you had for lucy! sometimes i wonder if our animals know what their "real" names are.

barefootheart October 24, 2010 at 12:28 PM  

So sad. So sorry.

I'm glad Pippin and Simon are finding each other.

Holly October 25, 2010 at 2:29 PM  

This made me cry. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Holly October 25, 2010 at 2:31 PM  
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