Sunday, August 22, 2010
What Was I Thinking???
The Rogue Speaks:
Mulligan is the second of our transition dogs. Precious was the first. Watson, our Maltese was our first dog baby. He was the cutest ball of snow white fur I had ever seen! He was born outside of New Orleans, and we all drove down to pick him up when he was ready to leave his mom. We stayed with our daughter, Beth, who owned the sweetest pit bull on earth. His name was Brutus. When we brought Watson back to Beth's house, we were a bit apprehensive about Brutus' reaction to this rambunctious little tornado. Brutus took Watson in stride,however, and put up with all his puppy play. When Brutus had had enough, he simply put his big paw on Watson's head as if to say, "Time out, little fellow!"
Watson was an utter delight, and a wonderful addition to our family. Joey and Keil were still at home, and they loved him and played with him just like a little brother. We lived on a golf course in Memphis, and whenever Watson got the chance, he would dash out the door and onto the 8th fairway to terrorize the golfers, who would laugh and tell him to scram!
He slept in the bed with us, snuggled up against my back. Rod was still traveling at the time, and after a week of having Rod's side of the bed all to himself, he would growl when Rod tried to get in the bed on Friday night.
The years went by, and gradually Watson begin to slow down. I hated to see that happen, and worried about just what I would do if something happened to my little boy. Then Precious showed up.
One day our neighbor said, "I am going to get a new puppy today, and her name is Precious!" If we thought Watson was a handful, Miss Precious had him beat hands down! From the moment she came on the scene, it was chaos! Our poor neighbor called frequently to have me come over and help her repair some damage that Precious had done--chewed carpet, and handmade silk throw-pillows, to name a few. Our neighbor worked all day, and Precious was left to her own devices.
The transition began gradually. Our neighbor would let Precious out in the mornings to do her business, and after that was accomplished, she would sit right on the property line and wait for me to open the back door. Then lickety-split, she would make a dash for our house, and when inside, would announce, "I'm staying here today!" This became an everyday occurrence, and when our neighbor had to go in for back surgery, we volunteered to take care of Precious until she recovered.
And so it became a two-dog night. Several weeks went by until our neighbor decided that she had recuperated enough to take Precious back. Big mistake! Precious became even more destructive than before, and we found that she was "sleeping over" more and more often.
"Marilyn," I told my neighbor one day, "if it ever gets out in the neighborhood that your dog sleeps with us at night, we will be the laughing stock of Eagle Ridge. Maybe you should just give her to us."
After a couple of days, she agreed that I was right. "Take her,"she said. "I'm going to get another dog--a NICE one!" So Precious became our first transition dog.
After we moved to Tucson, Watson continued to decline. He became blind, and deaf, and when he was almost 16, we had to make the most painful of all decisions. Precious, by that time, had established herself as the alpha dog. She prissed around the house like she owned the place, and began screaming at Watson when he was trying to eat his dinner. What did he care! He couldn't hear her anyway!
One afternoon, after we had told our little boy good-bye, we sat Precious down and told her, "Your brother Watson has gone to doggy heaven." She looked up at us and said, "Who?" And so she became the exalted empress of Oro Valley.
Precious is almost 14 now, and we had been thinking it was about time for another transition dog, just in case something happened. You already know how Mulligan came on the scene, so I won't bore you with the details. I'm sure I mentioned that Precious thought she had struck gold when she found out that his food was much tastier than hers. She quickly turned into a little thieving porker when our backs were turned. When overnight, it seems, she began slowing down, we thought it was because she was stuffed to capacity with all Mulligan's food.
Last week we took her to the vet for her check-up. She was, of course, overweight, but to be on the safe side, our vet decided to run some blood tests. It seems that our little girl has Cushing's disease. It can and will be treated, but when we asked the vet just how much longer he thought she had, he told us it was probably about a year.
Dr. Nunn, our vet, sent us home after scheduling an appointment on Monday to run a few more tests. He gave Precious a shot for a tooth infection, and sent us home with antibiotics. He said she would start feeling better by evening. He was right.
All day long, she has been screaming at Mulligan just the way she used to scream at Watson. It is driving us crazy! I go in and shake my finger in her face and tell her to knock it off, and five minutes later, she is back at it! Thank goodness Mulligan just lies there, quietly and takes her abuse.
What was I thinking! I may have to listen to this screaming for another year! On the other hand, I know that I will miss her like crazy, and I will be glad that I got a transition dog to help ease my loneliness when the time comes.