Pets, like people, come into our lives for various reasons. Some stay a short time. Some stay for many years. They affect us in different ways. Teach us different lessons. Make us worry. Make us laugh. Make us mad.
Ten years ago a tiny puppy came into our lives. Technically, he was my birthday present, though he arrived two months after the fact. I didn’t want a dog. We had just lost one a week before my birthday and I wasn’t ready to take on another. But when I got the call at work that my present had arrived, I went home and fell instantly in love with a Miniature Long-haired Silver-dappled Dachshund, whom we named Simon.
Simon was a happy little thing. While he had a lot of dachshund traits, he was less aggressive and more gentle than typical dachsies. He had a funny little spot on one eye and a bent tail where his mother bit him right after he was born. Quickly he became our loyal and loveable Little One, who also answered to Skooby, Skooby-Dooby, and Pig Dog, which was an affectionate reference to his seemingly endless appetite. His one fault – besides being characteristically difficult to house train – was that his endless appetite was punctuated by food aggression. But we adapted!
Simon was a kisser! Given half a chance, he’d lick your face off. Like many small dogs, he had no idea that he was a small dog. He wasn’t particularly brave and he didn’t really like strangers, but when he got to know someone he welcomed them into his pack unconditionally.
He loved to chase balls. And sticks. He would pack his stuffies around and often would fall asleep with one in his mouth. He was easily entertained, too. All you had to do was step on a toy so he could pull it away from you. Once it was free, he’d drop it back at your feet so you could step on it again.
He loved to go for rides. No opportunity to go with us in the car or truck was ever refused. Long ride or short, he was always up for a rolling cuddle. He was an excellent mouser, too. Working alone or in tandem with his old pal Neiko, no rodent was safe once spotted. Simon, true to his breed, was a relentless hunter.
Groomers were the bane of his existence and with two of them in the family he was never safe from the “noose” or the clippers come spring time when we had his long coat shaved off. His fine hair was a magnet for burrs and we were not fond of having to pick them out of his fur. He quickly came to recognize grooming cloths and when my daughters (the groomers) arrived in nylon pants, he would cower and shy away from them in hopes of a reprieve. They always won!
When we entered the bathroom, he would follow to the door. If we asked him if he wanted to have a shower, he beat a speedy retreat, suddenly having something better to do than hang out with us.
He had the requisite repertoire of tricks for one of our family dogs: sit, lay, sit pretty, play dead, speak, sing, crawl and roll over – preferably for a treat! Stay was a bit more than he was willing to concede to, though. That one just never really took.
Last weekend Simon was playing with some other dogs at a friend’s home. We don’t know what happened (no one saw it), but somehow he got badly hurt. When Dave called him to take him home, he was laying in the grass in the shade of a tree. Eager to please, he tried to follow, but his legs were not working and after a few steps he collapsed, unable to walk at all.
The next day I accompanied Dave to Smithers to the vet to have Simon checked out. It was determined that he had experienced some trauma to his neck and the options were few: a) steroid anti-inflammatories; b) referral to a specialist for surgery; c) euthanasia. For Dave, the latter was not an option at all. The nearest specialist is in Vancouver and getting Simon down there was difficult, limited to a Friday. We chose the anti-inflammatory route and left him at the clinic with high hopes that the treatment would reduce any swelling and he would be okay.
On Tuesday, we brought him home. Far from okay, he was still paralyzed and so we began exploring option b. That didn't pan out either and so we were forced to accept option c. On Wednesday, as Dave held him in his hands, Simon was gently put to sleep by a skilled and caring technician. It was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do.
Through our tears of sorrow, we got him wrapped up in a blanket and took him back to Dave’s father’s farm where he is now buried next to Neiko in a beautiful spot next to the hay field.
They say “Don’t be sad that it’s over; be happy that it happened.” I am so happy that Simon was part of our lives. He was such a funny little dog. Whenever I was sad or upset, he would nudge my arm with his nose so I would lift it and let him snuggle on my lap. He would look up at me with his puppy-dog eyes as if trying to tell me that everything would be okay. There were times when he frustrated me and I lost my patience with him, but I always forgave him – as he did me when I let him down.
|Our Little One!|
Dogs are such amazing people. They’re so loving and loyal and forgiving. I haven’t been able to bring myself to think about adopting another one since Neiko died last November. There is a part of me that wants to give another dog a loving home. And then there’s that part that just can’t bear the pain that goes with losing them. At least not yet. Right now, I just hope that wherever Simon is, there are lots of stuffies and squeakies and pig ears and treats for him.
I miss you, Little One. I’m so sorry we couldn’t do more for you. You were so loved and you have left a big hole in all our hearts.