when we got the blood results back a few days ago we knew we weren’t going to have much time with him. his vet said that telling when a dog was in pain is often difficult with his type of condition. even when they are in severe pain they’ll wag their tales and come when called and get excited to go for a walk ( even when they don’t have the stamina to walk far ). the best indication is when a dog stops doing the things they love to do.
we’ve known he’s been sick for the past 6 weeks, but very quickly over the past few weeks, pushkin has stopped doing the things he loved to do. he stopped eating anything except raw chicken thighs and even that was very slowly over the course of a day. he stopped sitting in his favorite chair. and most tellingly of all he stopped licking us. he’s always been an avid licker and notorious for sneaking in licks when you weren’t expecting it. “pushkin can’t control his licker” was familiar refrain around the house ( we always said it was because he was “grateful” for us rescuing him from the horrid abuse he suffered as a puppy ). but no more.
there’s lots that could be said about pushkin. pushkin was a great dog and a loving, constant companion. in probably 90% of the photos i’ve taken of odin over the past 5 years, pushkin is within 10 feet of the frame.
just one story about how kind and smart he was. never once did he try to eat or otherwise taunt our chickens. we told him when we first brought the chicks home that the chickens were not food AND HE UNDERSTOOD! he’d watch them run around in the yard and not give them a second thought. he’d even protect them like they were members of the family pack. he would give any cats that wandered into the yard a chase if he thought they were going to harm the chickens. he’d even come over and give me a furrowed brow if he wasn’t sure why i was laying in the grass taking pictures of them.
we did a few special things over the past week like going to the drive-in but the reality is that pushkin didn’t have much stamina or interest in doing much except laying near us in the house. we made our peace with the decision as it became clearer that it was the right thing to do. in the past few days he would even get up and walk away if we approached him, as if he was trying to tell us it was time.
we got up and made him a breakfast of bacon and odin and i took a last ride with him in the galaxie. typically, he would eagerly put his head out the window, but not this time. odin noticed that it was another thing that pushkin would normally do but didn’t do anymore.
“poppi, i’m sad, but i think it’s best for pushkin to put him to sleep. i dont want him to be in pain.”
“i think you’re right odin. i think you’re right.”
odin probably said it best. “poppi, i don’t understand. why did this happen to pushkin? he’s The Best and Most Kind Dog In The Whole World. it’s Just Not Right.”
after the ride, we came home made pushkin a breakfast of bacon and shortly after took him to the vet and put him to sleep.
odin has learned a lot of lessons this week. pets teach us about love and loyalty and letting go and, eventually, death. and most importantly of all to enjoy the time you spend with the ones you cherish on this planet because you never really know how much you have.