22 August 2012

Furry Kids

Furball was our first child. We adopted him when he was six months old, right before our first Christmas as man and wife. We had looked for months for the perfect puppy to fill out our little family. We found him at a breeder in Missouri. He was a mess when we picked him up at the airport. It didn't take too long to figure out that he had a seriously nervous disposition. He whined and peed and chewed up carpets and tore up doors and blankets and boots and...well, you name it, Furball has eaten it. When I was still smoking, I used to get a kick out of wandering the yard, trying to figure out what he could have eaten to make his poop green or blue or fuzzy. Once, it was like a rainbow. Once, it was 3 feet long - I think it was from eating a sock. He seemed to be trying to knit a new one as he went.

All Our Children
We joke that he's our $5000 dog, but it's probably closer to about $8000. He's had to have sedatives for thunderstorms and anti-anxiety pills during construction projects around the area. He's had to have surgery for torn ligaments, and he has congenital nerve damage in his tail that causes him to have problems with moving his rear legs when it flares up. So right now he's on steroids, and we have a medicine box just for him.

"Don't type, Daddy - scratch!"
We also have a huge spot in our hearts for the little doofus. He's not much different from our biological children. He just goes to a different doctor, and he chews up clothes instead of wearing them. But he's part of the family. And losing him would be an extremely difficult event. He's been here through it all. He helped Sweetheart keep in shape when she was pregnant with Princess and had to control gestational diabetes. He had to run to keep up with her walking, but he would keep up through 45 minutes walks, drag himself through the door and still be happy. I've seen that dog step on his tongue before, but there was no way he was letting Mommy brave the outside world without him by her side.

When I was recovering from thyroid cancer, he would be right beside me, keeping me company. And I don't believe it was only because Daddy gives him the best ear scratches. When I started having seizures, he stayed near me and would do his best to alert us before I would collapse. I always thought it was a myth that dogs could detect epileptic episodes, but it's not.

Not a night goes by that he doesn't roam through the bedrooms at least twice (and I know because he often wakes me up) to check on the kids and make sure the house is secure. I'm not sure what the little fella would do if someone broke in, but I'm betting he would go out doing as much damage as he could to whoever threatened his family, same as I would.

I'm not stupid - I know he's not immortal. I dread the day I have to tell the kids he's gone. He's already given us several scares, and I've spent sleepless nights praying for him. I've done what it takes to keep him healthy and happy, and I always will. But I know the day will come when it won't be enough.

Faithful Dusty
I say all this because Mom and Dad are there now. There little Monty is in critical condition due to kidney failure. The vets say he has a couple of months at most. They've already had to say goodbye to two furkids in the last six years. When Dusty passed on from old age, it tore all of us up. Then Baby pined away until she also succumbed to her years. Dusty was such a sweet old fella, and Baby was the first person in my wife's family to give me unconditional approval. And now Monty, who has been the Furball's buddy and is one of the kids' favorite playmates at Grandma's house. We're all in shock, and I'll admit, I'm terrified of telling the kids. We're all going to miss him.

Precious Baby

Our furry kids burrow their way into our hearts and make up such a large part of our lives. They comfort us and protect us and give us their unconditional love no matter how upset we get when we catch them chewing up our new shoes. They rarely ask for anything more than a comfy scratch. Well, and a fresh baked biscuit.

I don't know how to say goodbye to such big parts of our lives. But I do know this. They will never be forgotten, and they will always be loved.

Lovable Monty