Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Goodbye, my sweet old man...

PERCY LINDSEY (March 14, 1991-November 27, 2006)

I know this is a cooking blog, but I hope you'll let me share. My old cocker spaniel, Percy passed away yesterday. He was almost 16 years old, and he had not been doing well for some time. He was blind and deaf and senile and incontinent and crippled with arthritis and had a (benign) tumor as well. He was also starting to have mild seizures every so often. I had struggled with the dilemma of whether or not to put him down for a long time, but every time I was ready to make the decision, he'd rally for a few weeks, or we found an effective medication to put him on, so I would postpone. (In fact, as you may recall, he just gave me a scare two weeks ago when he managed to escape half a mile up the road!) But I knew we were getting close this time. I was away for the weekend at the dog shows in West Springfield, and my roommate e-mailed me that he had stopped eating and drinking and was vomiting and had diarrhea. When I got home and saw him, I knew. I called the vet and told them that I would be bringing him in first thing Monday morning. But he didn't even make it through the night. :-(

The good news is, I know that he waited for me to get home so that I could say goodbye. I held him for a long time Sunday night and talked to him and loved on him, and he knew me, and he gave me many kisses--something that has not happened in awhile. And I am so very glad that he's not suffering anymore. It's been just terrible watching him go downhill. But it is so hard to not have my old friend of nearly SIXTEEN YEARS with me anymore. He was my first dog that was all my own as a young adult, and I can barely conceive of a time without him.

I remember him choosing as a puppy in Auburn, WA. I wanted a buff-colored girl, but my friend, Stacey, talked me into the sweet, black and tan boy, from an "oops" litter of a purebred cocker and some sort of fly-by-night terrier in the neighborhood (best twenty bucks I ever spent!). I remember walking him around Green Lake in Seattle as a baby and the ooh's and ahh's of passers-by who thought he was adorable, and then using that cuteness factor to help to schmooze customs officials so that my Canadian friend, Kevin, could keep his car in the US. I remember how sad I was when I had to leave him behind in Oregon with my mom when I went on to Illinois to find a place for us to live, and I remember my first trip into the big scary city of Chicago to pick him up at the airport (and freaking out when I couldn't find the right building!). I remember him being my only friend in Kankakee when I didn't know anyone. As a young woman starting my first real job in a new part of the country, it was such a comfort to come home to him every day. I also used to take him up to my office at Olivet Nazarene University with me every night when no one else was in the building. I remember a petsitter that didn't keep in touch one time when I was visiting home during the summer, and how my friend and colleague, Ruth, an English professor at the college, went to make sure that he was alright for me and put the fear of God into the lousy petsitter! I remember how all of my many roommates at the house on Mertens Street in Kankakee loved him, and how my roommate Karen's mom taught him tricks like rolling over and giving high fives. I remember another roommate, George, making him howl by meowing like a cat. I remember how my tiny friend, Tony, could just about fit on his bed with him. I remember him sleeping close to another friend, Carl, on the huge couch we called "The Coffin." I remember him in the moving truck with me and and my friend, John, heading to Utah. I remember lots of quality time spent at dog parks in Salt Lake City, camping at the national parks, and hanging out at my friend Kurt's house with his whole pack of creatures. And he was so glad when my mom moved in with me because she would stay home with him while I was at work, and he would sit beside her chair all day for constant petting and too many cookies. I remember him accepting mom's terrier, Rascal, back in IL, then her weiner dog, Hilde in UT (even Hilde could be a mean little cuss!), and finally, his good friend, Rosita Judd, the basset hound. I remember him always being gentle with the kitties, too. (In fact, we currently have a cat called Pudge who always considered Percy his momma, and nuzzled him constantly, much to the Old Man's chagrin!) I remember the terrible move from UT to New York. Two humans, two dogs, and two cats squeezed into the front of that hideous truck during the hottest part of summer. After the sun went down, we would put them all in the Grand Am and tow them behind. I could see his long ears flapping out of the car windows in my rear-view mirror. How he always loved riding with his head out of the car window, his eyes all squinty and his ears flapping! He also loved swimming, as most spaniels do. I remember the time when Prunelle the PBGV "surfed" on his back in the Chazy River (as hounds generally do NOT prefer swimming!). And how he loved his toys (mostly disemboweling them!) and his chewies and bones. But mostly, I think I'll remember how he greeted every guest that came to the house with a toy, like a welcoming gift. I will miss my old friend so very, very much...

Rest in peace, Bub. I know you are up there, running around again without pain in your hips and joints, rolling over and giving high fives, bringing toys to everyone to play tug of war with you, and yapping with joy. And I hope that my mom, Fran, is there with you, to look out for you and keep you by her side, petting you all day like she used to do until I can see you again myself. You were dearly loved, Old Man, and you will be profoundly missed.

5 comments:

Gigi said...

I've been reading your blog for a while and this post prompted me to comment. I know how hard it is to lose a companion animal. We lost our cat Hobbes last year and I still get tears in my eyes whenever I think about him or look at his picture.

Remember all the joy and love Percy gave you. Celebrate his life and take comfort in knowing that he is now free from pain and sickness.

There is a great poem called "Rainbow Bridge" - http://rainbowsbridge.com/Poem.htm - when you think of him, try to picture him this way. Percy is probably organizing tug of war competitions with all his new puppy pals right now and greeting every new resident of Rainbow Bridge with a toy! And, I bet he misses you just as much as you miss him.

Anonymous said...

Gina,
I am so sorry about Percy! Howard, the kids and I send love and puppy kisses your way.
Adrienne

kitchenmage said...

Furlings can take such hold of you. I raise my glass (amaretto) to Percy and send you deadline-shortened hugs.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I'm so late with this, but I'm really sorry for your loss. I just lost my Stanlee a few weeks ago. He was 13. I hope my other two boys live as long as Percy.

Anonymous said...

Percy must have been such a wonderful dog. My sympathy to you for your loss… I know it was more than a half year ago, but I want to send a hug. –Jill-