Wed., Nov. 9, 2016 12:30 a.m. – In the ER with my elderly Maltese who is not doing well. We’re in line behind a Shi-tzu who ate a tampon, presumably while watching the election returns.
Memories: In 2001, my family (including my mom, who was healthy at the time) said a sad goodbye to Joe Morgan, our sweet and neurotic 11-year-old Maltese. He had been named for the manager of the Red Sox in 1988, because he had been brought home during a particularly dramatic team winning streak. The day he died, I watched my mother angrily dig a hole in the back yard on Richmond Street and proclaim that she’d never again let her heart be broken by an animal.
Roughly two months later, she arrived home with a tiny ball of white fur that had thrown up on her twice on the ride home. He curled up around my neck like scarf and began snoring. We named him Rocky and he was so cute I couldn’t stand it.
Rocky was, in a word, confident. Weighing in at three pounds, he would taunt the cat, who weighed five times what he did. We got him a little license with his name on it that we attached to his collar, But the charm proved too heavy for the little guy, and when he went to grab a drink of water, his hind legs would slowly rise up until he was in proper “keg stand” position.
We had our ups and downs over the years. He was with us through my mom’s illness and subsequent death. He and his feline associates helped me slug through the mourning of her passing. He was with me through the purchase of my house. After the birth of my first human baby, he adjusted to that new role especially well once said baby began eating solid foods and he realized the best seat in the house was under the high chair. The love affair ended when the baby was able to practice his fine motor skills by grabbing at Rocky’s fur (hence why I kept him groomed with his fur short). The crate he’d always refused to sit in then became his Happy Place, away from sticky fingers.
He was, on paper, a terrible pet. He never figured out the whole “house breaking” thing completely, and once his hearing went as he aged and senility kicked in, we could forgot any sort of obedience. He had a classic Napoleonic complex and would challenge any dog larger than him to a duel; as to smaller dogs, he took no notice.
The night Aaron proposed to me in our living room, Rocky punctuated the pivotal moment by letting out a fart so foul that our eyes watered and we both gagged. The pumpkin cheesecake Aaron bought to celebrate the occasion went uneaten. But he was my buddy.
It was time: Early this morning we had to say goodbye. Heart failure, respiratory distress, possibly a brain tumor. I am heartbroken. The medical folks at Angell Animal Medical Center were wonderful, handling his euthanasia with respect and ensuring his comfort to the end. I held him as they administered the shots and, though I’m pretty sure he couldn’t hear me, told him he was, in fact, a “good boy.”
I love you, my little buddy. Enjoy your reunion with Grandma Mary.src="http://www.bostonirish.com/sites/default/files/images/Rocky.img_assist_c..." alt="Rocky" title="Rocky" class="image image-img_assist_custom-100x100 " width="100" height="100" />