“I guess I’ll have to eat ALL my fries now,” I blurted/cried out. We were sitting in the small emergency veterinarian’s examine room waiting for the nice vet to come back with the syringes that would ease our pup’s transition to the next realm. Lynn and I sat there, both crying, and waiting for the inevitable to happen.
“Our” terrier, Lenny, had aged out of his mortal coil on Sunday and we had to take him to the clinic. I say “our” because Lenny was, in no uncertain terms, Lynn’s dog. For eight years the sun rose and set ONLY on Lynn, as far as Lenny was concerned.
We got Lenny from a rescue organization called BARK. His original owner, in Culpeper, had fallen on hard times and could no longer afford him. We were told he was about 6-8 years old at the time. His foster mom doted on him hand and foot. She cooked him meals of chicken and vegetables; that’s right I said cooked. When we got him, he seemed indignant that we would would pour dry food into the bowl and expect him to eat it….well….like a dog. He got used to it.
We had him in a crate for about a minute because that was how long Lynn could stand it. Eventually, he took over several spots in the house, his favorite of which was the large club chair in the living room. It was there he could spy Lynn pulling up in the driveway and start yowling in puppy-like anticipation.
I lied. His actual favorite spot was next to Lynn in her oversized leather recliner. He would stuff himself next to her, take one “harumph” and go to sleep.
He tolerated me only when I would share what I had at dinner. When fast food and french fries were available, he was outright pesky, so I always gave into him.
In the morning when I was reading and having coffee, he would stand next to me so I could pat him and scratch his always-itchy ears. It was like our daily check-in to make sure we were cool.
He never bit anyone and hardly barked at all. He was a pacifist to the core and a lover of all things “Lynn.” In the morning I could hear Lynn chatting non-stop with him. He was a pretty good listener.
For the past few weeks he seemed listless and sad. Gone were the excited yowls when Lynn returned home from somewhere. His back legs seemed weak and draggy. We had the talk about how old he was and this might be something; trying to realistic about where he was. Around Friday or so we decided to take him to his normal vet on Monday to get some idea where he was and whether or not this was the end.
Sunday morning I was on my fifth day of having a fever, but I felt like it was getting better. I dragged myself to the kitchen table and had coffee and the newspaper. As usual Lenny came by to check-in, but he wouldn’t leave. He just stood there next me and wanted me to pat him non-stop. At one point he laid down and put his head on my foot. “Something’s up with your dog,” I told Lynn.
Around noontime we settled in to watch the football playoffs with Lenny, who needed to be picked up and put on the recliner with Lynn.
At half-time, I went to get an orange and had just peeled it when Lynn yelled for help. I went into the den to see Lynn clutching onto to Lenny who was having seizure and foaming at the mouth. This went on for a minute or two, stopped, and went on for another minute.
After an hour at the emergency vet, we were escorted to the aforementioned small room and awaited the diagnosis. The vet was very nice and also very empathetic. He had much going on internally and a lot of unknowns at his age as to whether he would survive each step necessary to uncover the next. It was a lot to ask of a small dog for what we considered to be a selfish reason at this point. So we talked with the vet about all of this and she fully supported our decision,
Lenny was brought back to us for some alone time. Lynn tried to hold him in her lap but gave up. He just wanted to sit on the padded bench between us and put his head on my leg. We stroked him and told him we loved him and thanked him for being our dog. The vet came in with syringes and we watched Lenny leave us.
We sure did love that dog; everybody loved Lenny. Other dogs even loved him. When we would take him out, even if other dogs were aggressive with him, he would just turn and ignore them. He was that chill.
He slept like 20 hours a day on his club chair and was more like a cat in that sense. When I texted my son, Jack, about Lenny’s passing he texted back – “He was a good dog and a great cat.”
The worst was telling our daughter, Catherine, about itwhen she came home. She was distraught but understood. She adored Lenny and if I’m being honest; if Lynn was number one then it was Catherine who was number two, not me.
However, even old number three will miss him. I think if (I know I shouldn’t) have french fries from now on, I’ll always leave a few for Lenny.