1 08 2008

She was a blue blood. Well, not really but since she had the dubious honor of having won a Toto look-alike contest at Chesterton’s “Wizard of Oz” festival…she was a queen to them. This scrappy little Cairn Terrier had ruled the roost for 17 long years but last summer it was more than apparent that Skye’s days were numbered. That is when it really hit me that they were in serious decline themselves… they couldn’t see how badly their poor dog was suffering. We’d all been out of the house for decades but she was still there giving them something to dote on.

Just the week before, she’d been carefully placed into the back seat of the car and taken to the Dunes for one last look at a beautiful Lake Michigan sunset. I doubt she saw much as her eyes were in a rather precarious state of shuttedness via crustacionitis (I made the diagnosis after looking it up on webMD – jk).

So on that fateful summer morning I was the grim reaper. They just didn’t have the heart. I’d take her into the vet and have her put down. She wasn’t one of “my” dogs – like Freckles – killed while chasing the car my dad drove with me (probably about 10 years old) in the front seat, on the way to yank my sister out of some party she’d snuck out of the house to attend when she was supposedly babysitting me (definitely another post here). Anyway, back to Skye. Despite the fact that she convinced my parents that the basement made a good litter box as well as various and sundry special spots around the house – (making her less than pond scum in my book) – I did shed a tear as the vet ceremoniously gave her last rights before the syringe that had her singing “Lucy In The Sky(e) With Diamonds”. She didn’t even make it to the chorus.

A recently widowed friend stopped by to visit with my folks this week and wouldn’t you know it…like thrusting a knife into my thigh…they asked how her new “baby” was? “Margie Larson’s kids got her a new puppy – but you killed Skye”. That’s the message I got loud and clear. And of course her wonderful daughter who happens to be married to the mayor of the city (a younger brother of a friend of MINE) took the puppy home and got it over the first month of whining, crying, pissing and moaning (housebreaking). Wasn’t that sweet and thoughtful?

Having worked in a rehabilitation hospital I know what affect therapy dogs can have in healing. But dogs don’t last long if you don’t feed them, right? Isn’t there a perfect little Japanese bot that really looks and acts like a dog but they can’t kill and won’t make the house smell? How do I set this up when they can’t even figure out when to take their own meds?

The other night my mom had gone to bed at 8 p.m. or so and wandered out to the kitchen at midnight. I scared the bejesus out of her as I crept in behind her to see what was up. She was “going to take her a.m. meds”, she said. “Oh no you aren’t” – I said. “We’ll wait till breakfast in another 6 hours if you don’t mind”…so my point is – they no longer know how many times they’ve taken pills in a day even when the container is empty – how can they ever feed a dog? Maybe we should leave sleeping dogs lie (permanently).

Until then say a little prayer with me as you contemplate images of the Skye shrine in my Dad’s room. I will seek to explain it’s contents. The “Skye Box” was a wooden crate kept in the breeze way her shield her from the elements…she was of course a Cubs fan by birth (he just cut off the Skye part). Her purple collar with a McDonald’s sticker over her tags. Whenever my folks would go to MickeyD’s – my dad would leave a few bites of his double cheese burger with everything but onions untouched. He would then wrap it with the corner of his wrapper and seal it with the same seal that had come with his special order. And she always felt special to have been included in their outing even tho she had to fiercely defend the homestead from evil preditors like the UPS man. Note also, the date of her homegoing…cut from the paper that day and attached with 2 little hearts left over from her heartworm medicine that they hadn’t been giving her for who knows how long. And last, but not least, a few photos and one hand drawn description of the breed he had copied from a dog book. Now raise your glasses as I’m sure Billy would say if he spoke Gaelic and was throwing back a shot of whiskey

“Go mbeirimíd beo ar an am seo arís”

May we be alive at this same time again



4 responses

2 08 2008

Thank you for what you are doing, Aunt Wendy. I can’t imagine the dichotomy of feelings you must experience – the pain of seeing your parents live/hurt this way while at the same time dealing with such frustration in seeing them act this way. Thank you for writing, too…I’ve struggled with going over and seeing grandpa and grandma the last few times we’ve been up at Mandi’s family’s house (LaPorte) because I’m afraid it’ll be a bad day – I don’t want that to be the last memory of my grandparents because that’s not who they are to me. But at the same time I want my wife to see the glimpses of how awesome these two really are so that she can truly “know” them as well. Reading these postings has helped. On one of our last visits, Mandi found the Skye box in grandpa’s room and he was quick to explain it and “introduce” Mandi to his dog that she never met. He came alive for those few minutes, and it was special to me because through Mandi’s teared up eyes she got to see for herself a glimpse of grandpa’s enthusiasm and caring nature as he talked. She got to see how the attributes that made him be the amazing man that we all love came to the forefront the most when he was caring for OTHER people and things in his life moreso than anything that ever happened or revolved around himself.

2 08 2008

thanks jason – i really do realize that if we don’t get this stuff down now we’ll only be left with the “what we see” not – who they WERE. just think…it’ll only be the day after tomorrow when you’ll be here with your parents. HA!

4 08 2008

My, how differently you remember the past!! I hadn’t gone to a party, but to my friend Louise Vassallo’s after school, and stayed too long. I will never outlive the guilt of being the “reason the dog was killed.” But was it Freckles?? I don’t remember him being a “car chaser”. I thought it was Blackie, but you know, since I’m the oldest of the 3, my mind is surely slipping already…

BTW, Louise’s uncle had some connection to Al Capone. For real!!

5 08 2008

no it was freckles…blackie died from swallowing a bone wrong. buffy died on christmas eve from rat poisoning. you might have the corner on the mob side but the animals waz mine. ha.

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