The Berry Berry Sweet Dog is my new-to-me Shih Tzu although I object to the wording of that as he is not my possession, but my roommate.
I hadn’t expected to get another dog so soon, but life had other ideas.
The Beautiful Babette was mostly Shih Tzu. I’ve forgotten the details of her story, but I have always regarded her as a rescue. She arrived at my house after spending a short time at a friend’s. At the time, I had two other dogs, affectionately dubbed “The Toddlers,” that sucked up all the attention in the room. Babette was in the background, thankful for any attention she got, and as sweet as a dog could possibly be.
When I got Babette , the vet estimated her age between six and eight. By the time Chef Boy ‘R Mine took The Toddlers to live with him, Babette was an aging beauty who got sweeter with every passing day.
My mother ran Doggie Daycare as she hated the idea of Babette rattling around the barn alone. When Doug came to live with me, Babette left Doggie Daycare to be with him with the occasional forays to Grandma’s house – particularly on the days she snuck under the fence.
Babette began going downhill quickly before Doug’s death. She reached the point where her back legs didn’t work so well, her vision was poor and her hearing was beginning to go. I think she knew I needed her and hung on. Frequently while Doug was in the hospital, I would run home to see if she was still breathing. She hung on another three and half months after Doug’s death.
I had vowed that I would not allow her to feel any pain and would take her to the vet for the last great journey of life. I promised her. And I kept that promise. On October 3rd, Babette went to sleep for the last time.
My mother and I buried her in the garden near the spot in the fence that she used to do her Houdini act. It was sad and I mourned her. Simultaneously, I both missed having a dog and loved not having a dog to take care of, particularly an elderly dog who couldn’t really walk any longer.
In the goofiness that is my life, the picture of a dog appeared on my Facebook exactly two weeks after Babette’s death. I was stunned. The dog could have been Babette. The caption stated he was 6 or 7 and had been owner surrendered to the local kill shelter.
Of course I went down there and, of course, I was horrified. And, of course, I didn’t leave him there. He’d been surrendered the same day Babette died.
I found him with a bad case of kennel cough, an upper respiratory infection, and two infected ears. He also has cataracts and is probably deaf. He’s also 11, not 6 or 7. The vet bills to get him well are mounting and he still won’t eat. He’s lost more than a pound since I’ve had him and he doesn’t weight a whole lot of pounds. Right now, he’s topping off at a whopping six pounds. I’m worried about him.
He might be grieving himself. His owner took him there as her arthritis had become debilitating and she couldn’t take care of him. I’m sure she tried to find someone to take him, but who wants a nearly blind, maybe deaf dog that’s 11? Me, that’s who.
He’s exquisitely well-trained although the vet tells me I haven’t seen his real personality yet as he’s too sick to be himself.
The vet’s assistant told me her mother had sponsored him. She had been dropping off supplies to the shelter, noticed him and how sick he was, and she couldn’t stand it. She had to go out of town, but she sponsored him so he wouldn’t be killed before she could get back in town or be adopted by someone else.
Are you hearing Twilight Zone music yet?
I could have named him Rod Sterling. They were calling him Buddy at the shelter and he is so not a Buddy. He’s much too dignified and polite to bear a moniker Larry the Cable Guy would name his dog. So, what did I name him? Berry.
I named him Berry because one night I was cooing and talking baby talk to him and said, “You are a berry, berry sweet dog.” He gave me a kiss. My first and only Berry kiss thus far.
He’s a keeper, but I wish he would eat. I’m tired of fretting about him.