Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I had something else planned for my post today, but I am just not in the mood. The past couple months, and especially the past two weeks, have seen an intense level of stress in my life and in the lives of my family. My daughter leaves for Haiti tomorrow. Friday is the biggest day around here in 12 years. And now, for some reason I will never understand nor accept, my dog passes today.
That's Munchi. She's an Affenpinscher. For the longest time we thought she was a rat terrier, until we brought her in for a grooming. "Nope - you have an affenpinscher". They pulled out a book and I think the picture on the page was Munchi, they looked so much alike. It's interesting how Munchi came to us. She was the proto-typical she-followed-me-home-can-we-keep-it dog. Except, it wasn't one of my kids she followed, it was the neighbor behind us. Munchi was there a couple years and the oldest daughter got married and took Munchi with her. And not long after, the rest of the family moved to Florida. Well, maybe a year or so later, the daughter came to us. Do you want Munchi? See, they had a new baby and were afraid that Munchi and the baby would not get along (trust me - they would have) and if we didn't take her, she would go to the pound. We hadn't had a dog up to that time mainly because my wife just didn't like them. We told the kids she was allergic. But here was Munchi, a dog no bigger than ToTo from the Wizard of Oz, needing a place to live. My wife caved, from the insistence of my daughter, and we took Munchi in. My wife is glad she caved.
Munchi took to her new house great, except at nap time. We tried to be a cage family - put her in a cage at night, but Munchi would have none of it. If she wasn't hiding under a bed to avoid being placed, she was dang near taking your hand off for getting within a foot of picking her up. We finally gave up and let her sleep where she wanted, which was usually under the covers between my legs. That was the thing with Munchi, she always had to have contact with someone. It wasn't that she wanted you to pet her all the time, she just wanted to be in contact with you. You would sit on the couch to watch TV and she would jump up, do her turn, and plop down with her back to you, but in contact with your body. Munchi desired that tactile sensation.
Munchi went through the standard humiliations of being dressed up in doll clothes, even though my daughter had long stopped playing with them. But still, one Build A Bear outfit and a couple pictures seemed to be a standard bit of fun when a friend slept over. Munchi was the first dog I ever meet that liked the squeakers in toys. Most dogs would sort of look at you when you squeezed their toy. Not Munchi. She would put in on the carpet and work her mouth around, biting until she made it squeak, and then brought it over and aqueaked it like crazy until you grabbed it to play. Her Reese's was her fav, but a flying goose with dual squeakers got enough tug of war time as well.
Munchi was a real people's dog. In the summer, she would go out the front door, sit in the grass and just watch the world go by for 30 minutes or more. If you came over, she sure barked at you to let you know she was around. But sit down and in 5 minutes she would jump in your lap waiting to be scratched. You were her new best friend. She was friendly with everyone. And the people that were mean, she remembered you. Oh - she did not like the neighbor two doors down, and made sure that person knew it every chance she got. At night, you just had to look at her and ask if it was bedtime, and she would run to the bedroom and hop into bed, ready for a snooze. When I started working from home 8 months ago, I got a nice peek into her life during the day - a lot of sleeping on the couch. But 11:30 was always the time she wanted to go outside. Quite a few days, she skipped the couch and laid in the chair behind me. I could give her neck a scratch during calls.Working from home was never lonely with her around.
Munchi would play with the dogs next door, a bit at least. She had a blast if you started chasing after her, running in these impossibly tight circles, and then quickly changing direction. And rabbits were her favorite. She seeked them out every chance she could. Flushing them from bushes and hidden in the grass. I don't think she ever wanted to catch one, though. She sure acted like she did, but I recall one time, she was chasing a slower rabbit - I saw her pull up. I am not kidding. She easily would have caught this guy, and she pulled up, slowed down and let him get away. It was then I learned it was just a game to Munchi. When we saw rabbits in the front yard, you just opened the door and told Munchi "wanna get the rabbits?" She knew what that meant, and stepped on the stoop to find, and then chase, the buggers around for about 10 seconds. It was one of the many bits of fun she had.
She was so glad when you came home, just like most dogs. You had to greet her on the bed, wagging her tail and licking your face. It usually turned into a howling match when my wife would say, in higher and higher pitches, "didu miss me", followed with "I love youuuuuuuu". Poor Muchi's ears would have enough and would start whining along.
Munchi was the first dog I had that knew more than one trick. All my other dogs only ever understood "sit". Munchi had sit, sit pretty (on her hind legs only), high 5, lie down, turn around (360) and play the drum (pat her paw on the top of the treat tub). I really, truly think, Munchi was completely happy being in this family. I know she was an important member.
Couple weeks ago, she started acting like it was too bright. I didn't think much about it, and assumed she had rubbed her face into something she shouldn't and just irritated her eyes. I gave her a good bath and in a couple days, she looked fine. She didn't act strange otherwise, and came back to her old self, squeaking her toys and playing like normal. But a few days ago, something wasn't right. She started getting listless. She stopped eating. She got weaker fast over just 4 days. When we finally got to the vet, he ran blood work. Not good when we got the call a few hours later. He's an awesome vet, and waited after hours as we drove back so he could start treatments. Her liver wasn't filtering the waste, and her red blood cell count, which should be about 35-40%, was 13%. I was certain, though - she makes it through the night and it'll be fine.
A call in the morning, and Munchi was still hanging on. She slept and was still with us. Ok - that's good, cuz she doesn't belong there. She belongs here. Next call from the vet about 2pm - it's worse. But we knew it would have to get a little more worse before it got better. 10% now, and fluid in the lungs. I know enough - that is way worse. Now I have to deal with 90 more minutes of work with this realization in my head. I can barely function. I get some crabby customers. A lot of muting of the phone so I can curse about their minor issues and being babies about it all while I am trying to finish my day. With 5 minutes to go, I am done. I take the last minutes as personal time, log off and go lay down. I think I have cried all I can cry today, and it still doesn't stop. I hardly ever ask God for anything. I figure I've "built up" my needs, so when I do ask, I can be sure to receive it. I just want my Munchi home. That's all I want. It's a simple ask, isn't it?
We, as a family, are heading out for dinner. Big day Friday, and daughter leaves tomorrow, so a nice family dinner. I get in the shower, and that's a great place to let it all out. I know. I just know my dog isn't going to make it another night, and the pain tears me apart. Dogs like this are rare. Sure, we got Munchi for my daughter, but really she bonded best we me. I think of the times I was angry because she followed me around too often, and how I just want her home so she can get on my nerves like that again. I just want her to lie in the crook of my leg, rest her head on my calf and watch TV with me. I don't know if life gets any better than that. Well, at dinner, we got the call. She didn't make it. She passed at 3:30. I can't say that I felt it, but I knew. I knew that tonight, and the rest of my nights, she won't be there to scoot under the covers to sleep with me. She won't lie on my stomach to get her good scratching. She won't bug me for a ride around the block in the car, or follow me to get a treat cuz she was a goodgoodgirl.
This hurts so bad.