|Moet at the cottage with his constant companion, Winston.|
Our family calendar has four columns filled out. One for me, one for Cairn, one for Bella and one for Moet. I usually fill them out a few months in advance, satisfying my need for order and control via list-making. It helps calm me when I feel things are starting to get out of hand. I rarely look ahead at future months once they are filled in, but the act of doing it settles me down. Makes me feel like I've got a grip on what can sometimes be a hectic work-life schedule.
As any dog-owner will know, in spring begins flea and tick season. We all haul our pets off to the vet for a check up and drop insane amounts of cash on heart-worm pills and flea prevention meds. They are meant to start taking them on June 1st and take them again on the first of every month straight through until November. In order to help remember, the meds come with stickers. Bright red, heart-shaped stickers that you can put on your calendar to help you remember to give your dog his medication.
We were late starting Moet on his medication this June. It's so telling of how crazy our lives have been lately. And especially illuminating of the fact that, sadly, unfairly, regrettably, when things get really nuts in our house, Moet is always the first family member who gets bumped down the priority list. His walks get more rushed, his bed gets cleaned less, he gets left for longer periods of time alone while we're out running around like chickens with our heads cut off.
I remembered mid-month, while digging through Moet's stuff to find his ear-cleaning solution, that he hadn't started his heart-worm and flea routine on time. It was June 14th. We gave him his treatments and the very next day I sat down with my handy calendar and started to "organize" my thoughts. I picked up those cute red heart stickers and I stuck one in Moet's column on the 14th day of every month from June straight through to November. And afterwards I felt better. I crouched down to pat him and scratch behind his ears and I told him,
"There we go Lil' Boss, now we're all set. Now we won't forget again."
Well, in true pug fashion, ever striving to be the center of attention and refusing to be ignored for long, our Lil' Boss made damn sure that we were not going to forget about him again.
He took ill on July 12th. A Thursday. I arrived home late from work that day, as I'd been doing for a while, only this time I went straight to him. To investigate for myself why he was was vomiting up God-knows-what and hadn't eaten his supper. He'd been perfectly fine that morning, or at least, so far as we all noticed. I sat with him for a minute on the floor and tried to convince myself that it was just something he'd eaten. But although our boy had been sick many times in the 10 years he's been part of the fiber of this family, this time for some reason I knew.
On Friday morning he was worse and we checked him into the hospital at our beloved vet's office. The news was not good, and they told us as much. And I knew. In my heart and my soul I knew this was it. On Saturday it was clear that his organs were shutting down and that no matter what we tried next he was done fighting. We made the utterly heart-wrenching and searingly painful decision that it was time to end his suffering as humanely and swiftly as we could.
It was July 14th. When we came home from the vet that day -- as a family shy of one -- I leaned back against the kitchen wall gutted and exhausted with grief, and found I was staring right at our family calendar. And there, in the column marked Moet, on the very day that he left us, was that bright red heart sticker.
|Me and Moet on his very first day home. September 2002, 10 weeks old.|
|My wee fur baby, sleeping with Hippo.|
|On his very first walk, Trinity Bellwoods Park, September 2002.|
|Running with Cairn. Thanksgiving 2002.|
|A windy day at Ipperwash Beach.|
|Pay attention to me, or give me a cookie. Now.|
|Man's best friend, Moet was never far from Cairn's feet.|
|This sums up exactly how he felt about the winter. Took after me that way.|
|Sure did love the cottage though. Also took after me on this one.|
|Exploring Ipperwash Beach.|
|Barely putting up with his jaunty scarf on grooming day.|
|Never strayed far from his much-loved bed for long.|
|An ever-loyal companion, he sure loved him some Bella.|
|Gazing longingly at another of his favourite humans, Uncle Matty.|
|I'll always remember him just like this, my handsome, handsome boy.|
|Snack time will never be the same without this hot little fuzz ball underfoot.|
|My loves. Our picture is not quite complete without him, but he's forever in our hearts.|
|Good-bye my old friend.|