My mom told me that our dog Mikey had to be put to sleep last night. I don't know how I really feel about it. I've been pretty busy since I found out, so I didn't let myself really think about what I'm feeling. I realize though that it's kind of been sitting at the back of my mind, bugging me. So I'm letting myself grieve the loss of my puppy. I'm remembering him to give him a good send off, to let him know that he is loved and will be remembered.
I was 12 and my sister was 9 when we went with my mom to see him for the first time. Someone had a litter of puppies and posted it at the vet. He was the runt and his leg was hurt because he had had a little accident. My sister and I thought he was the cutest one. And let me tell you, he was cute. So cute! Did I mention he was cute? Anyway, he was supposed to cost $3o, but we didn't have that much cash on us at the time. We searched the entire car for all the spare change we could find, and ended paying $27 and something cents, or something like that. After going to the pet store to pick up some dog food, we brought him home. And let me tell you, my dad was surprised. We had to promise that we were going to take care of him.
Reluctantly, my dad let us keep him. I wish I had the pictures of him we took when he was a little puppy, less than a foot long (and soooooo cute!). Brian promised me that the next time we go home to visit, we'll find those pictures and scan them.
Mikey was a constant in my life for the next 6 years. He was always there, and always wanted to spend time with us. More than we had time for him. :( I do feel bad about that. I know we didn't spend as much time with him as we should have, but my sister and I would always try to go out and play some of his favorite games with him. Most of them were games like my sister and I throwing something back and forth between us or kicking something back and forth between us, and Mikey trying to intercept it. He was really good at that, and wouldn't give it back unless he was distracted by something else. We also taught him a bunch of tricks. Sit, speak, dance, stay, shake, lay down, roll over. I think I taught him to roll over later in his life, so I don't think that saying that you can't teach old dogs new tricks is true. I was in the middle of teaching him to play dead during the times I visited home. He never quite got that one.
My sister and I were the ones to give him baths. We dreaded and loved those times. Dreaded because we would ALWAYS end up COMPLETELY soaked and smelling like dog after, but loved it because Mikey was so cute when we gave him a bath. Mikey hated baths. We would line the washing machine with towels and wash him in the basin right next to it. While we were putting the towels down, he would know a bath is coming so he'd huddle in a corner of the yard, looking like he was trying to make himself as small as he could. It would usually end up that one of us would try to keep him in the basin while the other was washing. He did get out a couple times,a nd we'd have to chase him and carry the soaked muddy dog back into the basin. And he always looked like a drowned rat. As a shetland sheepdog, he's normally kind of poofy, but when he got wet, he looked so scrawny, and CUTE! After washing, we'd let him jump up onto the washing machine and we'd alternate rubbing all over with towels and letting him shake. When he would shake, we would hold up towels in front of our faces to shield us from the dog water, but my sister and I would try to get him to shake while the other one didn't have her towel up. It was so much fun. Sometimes while he was on the washing machine, we'd dress him up, putting funny hats on him (at that time, it wasn't such a common thing to see dogs wearing clothes) and taking pictures. He absolutely hated it. And he would totally suck up to us to try to get us to let him down. he'd tuck his head into my neck and lick my face, and give me the cutest look. We would eventually let him down, and he'd scamper off and roll in the dirt and run back to us like he was saying, "was all that trouble worth it?".
What I loved about him the most though, was that you could tell he was happy to see us, and be with us. When he was being pet by us or chased around, or on a walk, or being fed by us, he was a very very happy, content dog. Being able to make someone look so content and happy by putting my hand on their head is a very nice feeling.
I'm glad I wasn't home to be part of deciding to put him to sleep, although I would have liked to say goodbye somehow. He was a pretty old dog. He was 14, which is pretty old by dog standards. But if I were there watching them feed him an entire bag of treats as his last meal, I would be bawling my eyes out. My mom was in tears when she called me last night, and I am now as I'm writing this. He was a very good dog. He was a great guard dog, and so loving and spunky and I'm gonna miss him.
I'm not going to presume I know what happens to animals after they die, but wherever you are Mikey, I hope you aren't too bored, and are getting a lot of treats and belly rubs.