Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Good Bye Sweet Dog Muffin

In my last weigh-in post I said that the next posts were going to be of a jollier funner kind. Then wouldn't ya know it two sad ones right in a row. Well, that's the way it goes sometimes. This should clear the decks for only good stuff from here on out. One can hope.

This is kind of a follow up to the post I did 16 months ago when Crickett had her last day. There is where you will find the story of when the two small dogs entered our lives and some pictures of them as pups. I was living with mom and dad their last few years. My sisters were off having their own lives. So me, Mom, Dad and the girls made a kind of family unit. After today when I took Muffin to the vet for euthanasia I am the only one left out of that unit. Just Stacey and me remain from the original set. 

Of the two dogs, Muffin was the quiet one. Crickett could stand out in the back yard and bark all day. Muffin would bark but after a short time would rather sleep or snuffle in the grass. When I moved to the house I live in now they both discovered the joy of the hunt. The hill that is the back third of my back yard is wild and overgrown. Covered in ivy and shrubs. Muffin especially loved to hunt and duck around the foliage chasing after the elusive rats that populate our neighborhood. They never had a need to hunt for food but a few times they would turn up with a wound from battle or a sour stomach I assumed was from eating wild game. A couple of times I found a dead rat they left for me to find at the back door. Or just a rat's tail. Gross I know, but kind a cool too. 

The one thing that was most remarkable about Muffin was the way she would climb trees. In the picture above she is down to about 10 pounds on her last day. At times she go up to as much as 15 or more. Still, in the world of dogs pretty tiny and long and low to the ground. The hill behind my house comes about half way up the wall at the back of the garage. A big tree grows there. I never saw her do it but I imagined her jumping up the trunk onto the roof then I would find her 20 feet up in the tree just looking around. One time that this happened I got mad at her and told her that if she was so smart she could find her own way down. She did. Another time I caught her in mid air as she jumped into my arms circus style. I had this fear in the back of my mind that this would not end well. I think I remember one day hearing a thump and a dog yelping. She didn't do it any more.

I always have done open feeding. This is not the thing to do with certain breeds like Dalnation or if they have had to fight for food when they were pups. Luckily it worked for them and the pair of Dachshunds before them Thor and Apollo.  So their weight would go up in the winter and down in the summer. All in all they were fabulously healthy little beasts. Except the time about 5 years ago when one of them found a way into a cupboard where I had forgotten all about mouse poison I had put there the year before. It was a close one especially for Muffin. The vet told me that the poison removes all the vitamin K from their bodies but luckily there was a treatment. A scary week or so but it worked. 

Where Crickett was an attention whore when visitors came around. Muffin would be friendly and get pets all around then disappear into a back room or outside. The noise and big feet of a bunch of humans was not what she liked. In fact unless it was the cold of winter a minute or two of petting each day and she was good. Snuggle in front of the TV if it's cold, otherwise hands off. While not as affectionate as other dogs I've had she was very sweet and even tempered. Never bit anyone that I know of or even snapped. Okay, she and Crickett would get into it in a big way from time to time but otherwise no. 

After Crickett died I never heard Muffin bark or see her wag her tail. She didn't seem sad really, just lost. She lost her alpha. Last winter moving her back legs got difficult. She didn't do anything and I got into the habit of offering treats several times a day just to get a rise out of her. This became the only focus of her little life. In March I got a puppy from a friend that took in a mama dog over the winter. The puppy didn't let her just lounge and attacked her off and on all day, the way puppies do. She would wail and carry on. At first she would run off. Over time it turned into wrestling most of the time but she got tired quickly. The old dog perked up for a few months more. The last couple of months pee and poop where everywhere she was. Between old age, failing sight and hearing and the meds I got from her vet she never seemed to know where she was. When the winter finally got cold last week she didn't know enough to burrow under the pile of old towels and blankets like she always did before. It was time for a curtain call. 17 years and a couple of months was a good run.

I went to the vet yesterday to arrange everything in advance. I even paid in advance so I could drop her off, say good bye and leave. It was a different person behind the desk today. She was doing three things at once not very well. Her office mates knew why I was there and what the plan was, they did nothing to help as I agonized holding back emotion until the desk person handed us off to a tech.  I handed her off and whispered "Bye sweetie".

I got home and proceded to clean off the first layer of dog smell in the dog bed area. Lit'll is not a fan of orange pine-sol or the vacuum but once I give her a bath the stench will subside and on with our new life. I have dropped in on the pet adoption place a couple of times. Soon Lit'll will have a playmate and the cycle will start all over again. 


  1. The greatest blessing with pets is that we get to be with them for their entire lives. We meet our parents when they are already adults. Siblings tend to go off and have their own lives. Friends tend to wander into our lives, get close, then wander out again. If we are lucky the friends wander in again from time to time.
    With pets we get to be there when they are new born and they stay with us for the entire run of their lives. And we get to have them with us for all those moments too odd to share with other humans (Stripey was the only witness to my naked happy dance when my weight went below 150. Thankfully he kept my secret to his grave).
    That kind of bond can be the worst thing because the pain and grief is so much deeper when they have to move on.
    Thinking of you Bro -
    Love, Stacey

  2. You are right about having them for their whole life being a blessing.

    I feel a little guilty enjoying the smell of dog pee going away. Hoping that Lit'll hasn't picked up the habit of peeing indoors. Not having to worry about Muffin.

    Mostly I'm glad that she is at rest. Time for life to go on. Lit'll always had Muffin to lean against literally and in as buffer for the 'fraid-ie dog.