I don’t think it’s really dawned on me yet. One day she was here. Today she is not.
It happened pretty fast. She was a little clingy last night, but nothing really out of the ordinary. Then this morning at 7:30, she came into our room and was foaming at the mouth and breathing weird. I called the vet and said I was coming over with my pug. By the time I brushed my teeth and wrapped her in a towel and got to the car, she was starting to go. She died in my arms before I could even start the car. She had been trying to tell me goodbye, and it didn’t occur to me that she was dying.
Babe has always been there. She was a tough little monkey and nothing wrong ever happened with her physically, at least until two weeks ago when I took her to the vet for her arthritis. Since giving her the anti-inflammatory meds, she’s been a lot more mobile and was even going for walks again. But I realized this morning after I stopped crying, after Derek buried her in the backyard in her favorite lurking spot, after I changed my clothes where her bladder had emptied out once I got out of the car – she has been dying steadily since she lost her hearing about six months ago. See, Babe always had to be part of the action. She loved to be involved. Put goofy outfits on her, take her picture, let children tug on her ears and loose funny skin – she was in heaven as long as she got to be close to you. Losing her hearing took her away from all that and really confused her. It depressed her. Turned her into a ghost. She really hasn’t been the same since. So in a way, I’m kind of relieved. She wasn’t physically suffering, but her larger-than-life personality was suffering, and that’s just as bad if you ask me.
She had a really good life. A woman from Little Angels Pug Rescue happened by her one day, tied to a stake in some asshole’s backyard. She was skin and bones and had been flea-bitten so badly, her skin was infected all over her body. The woman offered the guy $50 to take Babe off his hands and nursed her back to health, in spite of her own small children and three other dogs in the house.
When I saw Babe at the adoption fair that day, she was my dog. I took her home and put some meat on her little pug bones and walked her constantly – her big joy in life. She squealed and screamed when she was happy, which was often. She moved with me five times one year after my divorce and was always a trooper. Back before old age caught up with her, she could hike just as long and hard as the big dogs as long as the weather wasn’t too hot.
She loved me. Even when I wasn’t so nice to her. Even when she took a backseat after the baby was born and she was no longer The Baby. She never resented him for it. She loved to walk up to him on his little play mat and sit next to him so he could reach out and grab her dog tag and not let go. She was such a good dog, and I don’t think I will realize how great she was for awhile after she’s been gone. It doesn’t seem real yet.
I had grand plans today of washing her bed, but it still sits there and I can’t seem to bring myself to do it. Maybe tomorrow.