“I once had a dog named Nasty”

By: | November 8, 2014 | Tags: , , , ,
Here is a picture of my little dog Angel who, now, has truly become my Angel!

Here is a picture of my little dog Angel who has truly become my Angel!I

I never said to anyone.  Yet, I suspect this time tomorrow that is exactly what I will say when people ask about my pets.  His name wasn’t always, “Nasty.”  Years ago, my then boyfriend, now husband, Wayne, suggested I get a friend for my dog Minnie.  It would keep her young, he explained. 

Enter Angel, a sweet little boy.  A white dog has eyes that stain, unbeknownst to me at the time.  No matter who we asked or what we did to clean his face, it seemed to stay eternally black.  My daughter Hayley and I have very sensitive noses.  Hayley would complain that he smelled even dirtier than he looked, and no amount of baths would change that.  Hence, the name “Nasty” was born. 

I have heard people advise against buying a pure breed, as we had done.  Something about health complications.  Angel proved no exception.  About two years ago he started making choking noises.  Listening to him try to clear the fluid that was building around his lungs was heart wrenching.  The doctor prescribed pills that he simply refused to take.  We tried putting them in everything from pill pockets to pizza. We even took turns in hopes that he wouldn’t catch on to us.  Maltese aren’t supposed to be intelligent breeds, but Angel sure was.  (Writing about him in the past tense seems surreal.)

As his cough worsened, his bark decreased in volume.  The guttural was replaced with almost a melodic sound.


Over time, Angel’s shape became distorted.  His belly swelled with liquid.  After draining, his frame still seemed too large for his little head.  Eventually passersby compared him to other animals, a llama, an elk, even a pregnant female.  As his shape changed, strangely my feelings for him morphed as well.  My love for him quickly grew to ten times what it had been.  I now proudly call him, “my little dog”.  (I’ve read articles on this topic; apparently growing closer to a dog one cares for is common.)


The day my daughter Hayley left for college, she made one request of me: “Take care of my dog,” she commanded.  As Angel’s health worsened, I resolved I would indeed take care of her dog.  When Angel became too weak to walk, I was his carrier.  Instead of my resenting his insistent begging to be carried, I went out of my way to transport him even going as far as to use a baby’s Snuggly.  When everyone in my family suggested euthanizing him, I was his staunchest supporter to be kept here among us.


Apparently, tonight is the night I wave the white flag (how ironic a color) of defeat.  Angel’s doctor has asked that he be permitted to put him to sleep, this time for good.  Two painful seizures are too many reasons for me to keep up a fight I clearly can’t win.  I must say goodbye to a dog I can’t bare to let go.  Am I fighting for Hayley? for my soon-to-be heartbroken husband? for my ego since I have insisted for so long Angel belongs here with us?


The manager of our vet’s office and my neighbor both recently asked me how we did it.  We took a sick little dog who was given six months to live and gave him a quality life for ten extra months.  How did we do it?  We did it with love.

This blog is a catharsis for me.  How do others do it?  Why is euthanasia okay for beloved pets but not for beloved human family members?

I look forward to your opinions.

 

 
  1. John Doe | at 6:23 am

    I was very moved by your blog about your little Nasty. It sounds like he had quality of life those extra 10 months he lived and when he was in pain, you and your family did the only responsible thing and that was to have him move to the big Dog pound in the sky. I feel we are a long,long way from Euthanasia for people because the legal system dictates that it will take years upon years to legislate that kind of law. The biggest argument against doing it would be, science progresses so fast and cures happen so often that maybe there shouldn’t be Euthanasia for people. My retort to that would be, the people against it are not the ones in unlivable pain. Let those people walk a mile in their shoes.

  2. Terri | at 7:57 am

    Very good blog Janice. It is very hard to lose a loved one, either furry or human. My thoughts, prayers, and hugs are with you, Wayne and the girls.

  3. Kassie | at 7:54 pm

    I’m going to try and write this without too many tears in my eyes, because I know how hard that is. We recently had to put down my 13 year old colliemix. She had been apart of the family nearly my whole life and I was devastated. When we realized she was in pain though, we knew we had to. The vet came and it was so easy. She just went straight to sleep. I have two questions here. 1. Why is it so difficult to put those on death row to sleep? Obviously I’m not a scientist, but it can’t be too much different, right? 2. How is it not cruel and unusual punishment to refuse the right of death to suffering citizens. I only hope that if I reach the point where I can no longer recover or be comfortable, someone helps me leave with a bit of dignity and happiness.

    • Janice Wald | at 7:22 pm

      Dear Kassie,
      I received your intelligent comments last evening, and, after much contemplation, here are my thoughts.
      1. Why is it so difficult to put those on death row to sleep?
      I’m not a scientist either, but I heard that they do sedate inmates before putting them to sleep, but I do not know for a fact if it’s true. If not, perhaps it’s because some people in favor of capital punishment believe those convicted of capital offenses should suffer as a deterrent to others.
      2. How is it not cruel and unusual punishment to refuse the right of death to suffering citizens?
      Clearly, this is the very heart of the controversy behind euthanasia. Fortunately, I believe those who are terminally ill can petition the courts, or their families can petition, to have them removed from life support. I agree that it is “cruel and unusual” for them to have to take this step, but at least it’s an option for them.
      Thank you for reaching out. I look forward to further blogging with you.

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