Today I said “good-bye” to an old friend, a family member, actually. I remember when I first met him. My husband brought him home as a late birthday gift. They said he was a puppy, but he was at least 7 months old, if not older.
I was disappointed because he wasn’t an actual puppy, but then after about a week or so he got sick. He developed a huge lump on the side of his neck. It was some kind of a dog disease. The puppy farm that sold him to my husband said that they could take him back and give us another dog, but I was afraid they would kill him. We kept him and he got better.
Over the years my children grew up with their new “brother.” He had the terrible habit of humping visitors. It was embarrassing, but it was funny at the same time. I guess it was a sign of dominance? Hard to believe a little Yorkie/Jack Russell dog would want to dominate people who were 20 times bigger than him.
He entertained my children with his ability to high jump and his speed in running. They remember the time he tried to pick a fight with the huge dog across the street. Pongo knew that he would lose the fight so he ran away as fast as he could and got bit on the rear end in the process. The vet said he was “lucky”—if he wasn’t such a fast runner then the other dog would have bit him on the neck and he would have bled to death.
I remember watching Simba, our cat, teasing Pongo. He didn’t mind—sometimes he teased him back and they would chase each other around the house.
The past few years we’ve noticed that Pongo slept more. He no longer jumped or ran, and lately he’s been struggling to walk. About three years ago his eyes started to cloud, and now he couldn’t see anymore—he bumped into furniture, the door, and the cats. The past couple of weeks, he had urinated in our bedroom during the night—he used to “tell” us when he needed to “go,” but he stopped letting us know.
This morning my husband took him to the vet. I struggled with that. I read an article recently (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/time-euthanize-pet/story?id=19456241) and it asked two questions: Does the pet still like to play? Does it seem happy?
I took a picture of him this morning, and I don’t know if he’s happy anymore, and he hasn’t played in such a long time (he was at least 18 and a 1/2 years old now).
My husband just called. He was with Pongo as the vet put him to sleep. I am crying and tears are streaming down my face as I write this. I will miss that little dog, but as silly as it sounds, I have hope that I will see him again. As one of my favorite seminary professors said—all dogs go to Heaven: “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself…” (2 Cor 5:19). The “world” means everything in the world, including animals. This gives me comfort.