I look into my parent’s dog’s green gook covered eyes as I spend my last minutes with her. We just found out she has kidney failure and my parents made an appointment for the next day to put her down. She is lying in her little, pet bed in her wire cage, curled up in to a small ball. On her bed are a several different towels since she can’t seem to keep anything down, not even her favorite treats. She is a mere five pounds from the 14 pounds months ago. Not only can you feel her bones, but you can see them by just looking at her. Her bright white, fluffy hair is now greasy and thin. She doesn’t even realize I am there until I touch her. She sits up while her head lightly sways side to side as she doesn’t have the energy or muscle to keep it up.
My thoughts begin to go back ten years ago when we bought her from Mini-Critters. Like all puppies, she was very cute. My stepdad, who is very business -oriented, conservative, anal retentive and never tries to show any weakness, ended up being quite fond of her and soon put her on a pedestal.
He taught her to “hug.” He was so proud of the trick that he had to show everyone that walked through our front door.
“Here, look what she can do,” he began. “Give me a hug, Gee Gee. Hug.”
He would bring her up to his chest, put her paws over his shoulders and then she would lay her head on them. And when she did that, you could hear the guest(s) “coo” and “awe” over her. He also held her on her back, as if he was carrying a baby. She happily agreed to lie there, despite the laughs because she knew it pleased him.
Years passed and she began to show a sign that she was aging: blindness. You couldn’t help but feel bad watching her run into a wall while laughing as you watch it. Or that she would try to hear where your voice was coming from, but would look in the complete opposite direction staring at nothing in front of her. She often fell down the stairs which made it easier for her to decide that she should just lie in her cage all day. If she walked around, she could find her cage by finding the loveseat. Once she found the loveseat, she would walk up and down along it rubbing her face on it followed by licking it. We still couldn’t figure out the licking part.
Not only am I learning unconditional love from my own dog, but it is interesting to see how other people learn as well. Especially people like my stepdad. You don’t plan on having this feeling; it just sneaks up on you. And you find out that no matter how strong you try to be, you have no control of your emotions or tears. Other than the love from my family, I never knew a love like this could exist. And hearing that my stepdad is having a having a difficult time with this, I’m sure he never knew either.
I stroke Gee Gee’s head as I stare into her half closed, cataract eyes, feeling guilty that I ever yelled at her for being naughty. And wishing I could take back the times that I scowled at her for having the last word, err bark, when she heard the front door open/close.
She is too tired to sit anymore and lies back down to curl back in a ball. I hope she does this as a way to let me know that it’s ok and I am forgiven for not realizing how much she meant to me, without me even knowing it.