Today I put my best friend to sleep.One sunny Miami afternoon my grandparents came to visit us. My grandfather's lung cancer had returned and he was wearing his oxygen mask already. That wouldn't stop him from driving around though, he was a tough WWII vet and a little shortness of breath wasn't going to stop him that easily.
The conversation turned to my cousin and his new beagle puppy; "Ooo I want one" I said half jokingly, half serious. "We'll get you one but it has to be from the same place and it has to be a beagle." (Once upon a time I begged and begged for a German Shepherd---I didn't get it.) Reluctantly I accepted cause I wanted a dog even if it came from a puppy mill (which is where they got my cousin's pup.) On we went to Puppies to Go. It was a smallish place with a couple of cages of different breeds. My grandpa stayed in the car and grandmother came along with me whilst reminding me that I had to get a beagle so that's the cage I went to look at.
There were 3 beagles in that cage 2 bigger, rowdy males and one motionless little runt who looked close to death with ribs and butt bones sticking out. I stuck my finger in the cage and while the two moronic siblings pounced on each other, and she stuck her head under my finger. Love.
"This one." I announced. "Are you sure?" my grandmother said with audible disgust in her voice "it looks sick, it's going to die on you" "THIS ONE." I said decidedly. She obliged and payed some ridiculous amount (thanks grandma!) and got in the car. "That's the one you picked?" ask my grandpa with a worried tone, "Yup, she's gonna be just fine just watch"
|Runt of the litter my ass.
And so she grew... and grew and became Pucca-chu my fatty bombatty. And she stuck by my side throughout my time at Miami Dade College, and at Ringling College, she joined me for my first apartment in Bradenton where she got into my purple india ink and dyed her fur to match my hair.
She was with me when my grandfather passed, and when my sister passed. She was with me through my first real heart break. Always there. Always pissing and shitting at the worst possible times. She was there.
Pucca was incredibly frustrating to train. She was pretty well housebroken for about 2 years until she decided she wasn't about that life. She loved getting into garbage and then puking it all over my bed. With love, presumably. Still I loved her so much I couldn't stay mad. She knew my temper better than anyone else and was the worst companion dog when it came to comforting. Pucca knew when I was upset and would eye me carefully 'til she heard the inevitable "FUCK!" and that was her cue to run under my bed. Always.
You know how when you're having a crying session and you just want to hug your dog for comfort? She wasn't about that life either. I loved that about her because I took it as her way of saying "Calm the fuck down and deal with your shit" For a moment it felt like she was doing that right now.
She kept me centered, she was the reason I always had to come home. An anchor that kept me on my feet and kept me from getting too caught up with life. No matter how much I would want to stay in bed hiding under my covers, I couldn't. Because I had to get up and walk her. I had to get up and move on with life because this little creature needed me to hold it together. She had to go pee goddammit, she no time for my bullshit hysterics.
A couple of months ago I started noticing her tummy was getting bigger. She's always been a fatty bombatty so I put her on diet food. She lost weight everywhere except her belly. Still I was unsure but I knew it wasn't normal so I finally took her to the vet last week. Xrays were taken and there was what appeared to be a splenic tumor causing liquid to build up. All her little organs were pressed together. Once an ultrasound was done they realized what they thought was liquid was actually a solid mass. It was a big tumor and it appeared to have spread. Any surgery would be exploratory and at her age it wasn't worth the risk. So this week I'd been keeping an eye on her and spoiling her rotten (vienna sausages, her jam!) and started noticing her increasing discomfort, her labored breathing. I had to make the call, I couldn't bare to see her get worse, I didn't want her to suffer. She went peacefully as I hugged her tight and told her I loved her, and I thanked her. She's was my best friend.