Friday, November 21, 2008

Remembering King Mutt

I almost did another blog on our dog Doogie last week. Our poodle mutt has been a popular blog topic in the past and I know my reading audience includes a number of dog lovers. I didn't though because I wanted to take a couple new pictures of Doogie to post along with my blog. But I never had enough free time to take the pictures. And now it's too late.

We lost our aging pet this past weekend. Though we knew he was somewhat living on borrowed time since he passed his 15th birthday this past June, he had been doing fine right up to Saturday night. Late that night I dreamt hearing irregular panting sounds-- two breaths and a pause, two breaths and a pause--eventually slowing down. It was like some old steam engine train slowing down as it neared its final destination.

Then I woke up and kept hearing it. It was our dog's irregular breathing. By now Wendy had heard it too. She looked over the side of the bed and saw Doogie lying there, but with his head up and his legs in a peculiar posture. I turned on the light and we could see our dog was dying.

He tried to get up but couldn't stand and fell back down. Wendy carried him downstairs as I got my youngest son Scott who was still up and watching TV, having come home from East Lansing for the weekend. Scott was always close with Doogie, even away at MSU. Once I had mentioned in an e-mail how we were forced to put Doogie down in the basement because he wouldn't let us sleep with his panicking during a night-time thunderstorm.

Scott's e-mail response included the comment, "Please don't start out a paragraph with 'put Doogie down...' from now on. That scared the *#$* out of me." So now Scott was able to gently pet his Doogie until he finally lay still. Didn't take long, but I think it brought a little comfort to them both. I never got a chance to give him a goodbye hug.

This wasn't Doogie's first brush with death. About five months ago he became violently ill, stopped eating, and had so much trouble walking I felt sure he was on his last legs. But after a couple trips to the vet, he pulled through. After that, we decided to let him eat what he wanted. That meant no more dog food, which he usually just sniffed at and left in his dish anyway of late.

In a way, he became king mutt of the house. That's what I had planned to blog about last week: how our lives had evolved around him lately. It used to be my wife would make dinners that all of us would like, including the boys. Now that the boys are no longer home, I had a bit more say in the menu. But lately when I'd ask why we were having a particular dish that night, Wendy would say: "The dog likes it." What??! The dog likes it!

Or like the other day when I told Wendy that I had eaten a leftover hot dog in the refrigerator, she scolded, "Why did you eat that? I was saving it for the dog." Couldn't even scavenge for snacks out of my own refrigerator?

And if the dinner menu didn't cater to king mutt's taste, I sometimes had to go to McDonalds. Doogie liked the double cheeseburger off the dollar menu. His ears began to perk up when he heard the word 'McDonalds.' Though our eldest son Greg, the nutrition guru, was aghast that we would feed our dog fast food, our dog had something exciting to look forward to in his golden years--dinner time. As Wendy would often say, "Lucky dog, lucky dog."

Doogie reveled in his new role. He was one happy dog, especially at suppertime, just like Snoopy. And like Snoopy he tried to get his way in everything. He'd even bark from upstairs at night, telling us it was time to go to bed. And when he'd hop down off our bed in the morning and scratch at the door, that meant it was time to get up. Hopefully it wasn't before 5 a.m.

Now the king is dead. There won't be another to take his place. We already miss the way he would lie on the couch with his front legs crossed. Or coo like a dove when he was in a particularly giddy mood. Or bark to let me know dinner or breakfast was on the table since I always shared a bite with him. Or the way he'd get excited at the word "pizza" since he'd get a few bites of that as well. He used to even watch out the window for the deliveryman. As we often said, he was the pizza hound.

We'll miss playing our favorite joke on him. When Doogie would bark incessantly in the kitchen, demanding a treat, Wendy or I would run over to him and say excitedly, "What's wrong, Doogie? Is Timmy in the well? Is Timmy in the well???!!" To which Doogie would bark even more incessantly. I don't think he ever got the joke. But probably a lot of people wouldn't either.

We'll miss hearing his footsteps coming up the stairs, we'll miss him watching out the front window for us, I'll miss writing the blogs he inspired.

The king is dead. And his kingdom is in mourning.


Blogger Nankin said...

Dave, I'm so sorry to hear that Doogie is gone. After awhile, they get to be just like your children. May he reign as king forever.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Oh Dave and Wendy, I am so sorry to hear the "doggie" passed on to the other side. We love our animals almost as much as we do our children and it really hurts when they pass on. I will have to remember to use that phrase when our Bubba starts meowing for food in the I have watch many a Lassie episode myself.

I am glad that your son was home when doggie passed on so he could comfort him....I'm grieving with you Dave.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Betty said...

I'm so sorry to read about Doogie. Losing a beloved pet is unspeakably difficult. I still cry over losing my German shepherd, Fritz, who was hit by a car when I was 15. I'm glad, though, that Doogie enjoyed a life of royalty during his final months. He deserved it, sounds like.


4:58 PM  
Anonymous babette said...

Sorry to hear about your beloved dog's passing, Dave and Wendy!

Due to an ugly Wolverine drubbing inflicted here last night, I'm only hoping that you didn't bury Doogie in that hideous sweater.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Kacey said...

I sorry, Dave. I know how hard you can fall for a poodle... I used to raise toy poodles and my kids have all had toys or minatures. Poor Doogie, it must have been a hard life, what with you and Wendy thinking he was Lassie. )Some people are old enough to know aboout Timmy and the well)

Separate for your mourning for your beloved dog, I thought you might like to know that I heard a color man on the pre-game show today say that the Michigan/Ohio game was canceled today, because Michigan couldn't get past Toledo. Turns out he was right. I guess you got this year out of your system and are rebuilding for next year.

4:12 PM  
OpenID caroldee said...

HAving lost a beloved older dog of my own I know how it feels and pulls at your heart at his passing but DAVE you will still hear him. You will feel his presence in that house and you know you will. In every room and every meal you eat he will be there in your heart.I sure am glad that you and WENDY treated him so lovingly, and he was happy.
I send my biggest hugs to you all at the king's passing.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

NANKIN--He was the little prince, or king here. He will certainly stay that way in our hearts.

LUCY--I never understood why we kept asking, "Is Timmy in the well?" I looked it up and found out that was the name of the autobiography of the boy who played Timmy.

BETTY--Sorry to hear about your German Shepherd. We always worried about Doogie because we kept saying he was not a "street-wise" dog and would casually amble across to the other side of the road if the mood hit him.

BABETTE--I think we both suffered drubbings this weekend. No, a precious heirloom like Doogie's sweater should not be buried. It must be passed on and enjoyed for generations. I believe my son's dog Simon has it right now.

KACEY--Yeah, funny joke. I'm already the butt of much humor courtesy of my MSU friends. Like the Terminator, we'll be back.

CAROLDEE--That comment brought a little tear to my eye here this morning because we do believe we still hear him at times. It's soooo quiet otherwise.

5:01 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

oh Dave, I'm crying for you and Wendy. I know the Doogie will be remembered with great love. Unfortunately, I know the heartbreak you are both feeling all too well and the knowledge that we too will have to go through the same (hopefully not very soon) with our 12 year old Sunshine.
Many hugs and thoughts for the both of you.
I'm so sorry.

11:29 AM  
Blogger poopie said...

The joke? I totally get it. I'm so sorry for your loss...I know the feeling well. It's just like losing a family member. Sometimes worse, because pets are so dang loyal.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

I'm sorry, and I do know about how it feels. All too well.

The Kids and I send our condolences.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CARINE--I didn't think it would be so soon that Doogie would leave us. It's hard to believe he had been with us for 15 years.

POOPIE--Doogie was loyal, but he was a mama's dog. He was happy sitting right next to her.

LYNILU--I remembered that you lost one of your family of dogs not that long ago too. I don't think we're going to replace Doogie though. No more dogs for now.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Dave. I hope you're having a great holiday.

So sorry about Doogie. Our Copper is such an important part of the family, I can only imagine. He will certainly be missed.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

FRED--When your kids go to college and the dog is the only other family home, that's when you appreciate having them around for company too. You're probably learning that now.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

How loved Doogie was and how lucky you were to have had him in your life. It is difficult to lose a little loved one and I know this is a very sad time for you and Wendy.

Your post was a great tribute to a wonderful little companion.

2:13 PM  
Blogger jan said...

I was sorry to read about Doogie. Dogs are in our lives for such a relatively short time and add so much to those years. After a period of mourning I hope you get another dog.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I had emailed you, I am so terribly sorry for the loss of Doogie. Due to your great writing about him, I truly felt like I knew him. What a great little guy he was!
And how fortunate you were to share his joy for 15 1/2 years, but that doesn't make the loss easier.
I was part of his kingdom and I am definitely mourning his loss. There will be a huge void here without your entries about the great little King.
My sympathy to you, Scott and Wendy. I like to think Doogie's at that Rainbow Bridge romping and playing with my Holly.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:24 PM  

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