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Someone once said, “My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am.”
In my case, that is so very true.
I have always been and probably will always be my worst critic. But, in my dog Mickey’s eyes, I could do no wrong. No matter how much I complained about his “accidents” on my basement floor or his constant scratching, Mickey loved me unconditionally.
In all honesty, Mickey was a much better pet to me than I was a pet owner to him, I’m afraid. And that explains why having to say goodbye to Mickey over the weekend has left such a huge lump in my throat and emptiness in my heart.
In an act of love over the weekend, I decided to put Mickey out of his misery. He was ridden with infection from constant scratching, and his constant scratching was caused by his allergies, which were literally out of control. Until adopting Mickey eight years ago, I didn’t know dogs could even have allergies. But, poor Mickey did. When he was a puppy, I thought he had mange. But, after several trips to the vet I discovered that he didn’t have mange, he had allergies that were off the charts. Medication helped ease his pain for a while, but nothing could cure him. Poor guy was in a constant state of anxiety and was always scratching, biting and chewing on himself. So much so that he was always getting infections. Saturday I woke up to find his ear swollen up like a balloon. I could tell from the look in his eyes that he was miserable.
It was time for me to stop being selfish and to let Mickey go. It was time for Mickey to finally be at peace.
But the decision had to be made quickly, and I’ve been left feeling like I didn’t really get a chance to say goodbye.
So, I guess this column is my way of giving him a proper goodbye.
He was a member of my family for eight years, and he will be missed so very much. My house seems so very strange without him. Every day Mickey was the first one at the basement door to greet me when I got home. He was a true, loyal friend. More loyal than most of my human friends, to be honest. I hope he knew how much I loved him.
Below is an excerpt from a column I wrote about Mickey in December of 2003, soon after I adopted him. Reading it brings back lots of fond memories, and many, many tears.
Puppy love is more than just a crush
“Whoever said you can’t buy happiness forgot about puppies.” - Gene Hill
I haven’t the slightest idea who Gene Hill is but I couldn’t agree with him more.
For the last two weeks, a 10-week old terrier mix named “Mickey” has transformed my life.
He’s not big enough to jump up on the couch by himself and he’s not house trained yet but his mere presence in my home and his wet kisses on my face have made me feel so happy, content and loved.
Our love affair started on the Internet several weeks ago while I was surfing the Web and stumbled on the petfinder.com Web site.
When I got my first glimpse of Mickey, I instantly knew I had to have him.
We first met each other, face to face, a couple of weeks ago and it was love at first sight. He licked my face as I held him in my arms and I knew I had to take him home with me.
So I did. And, besides the fact that he likes to chew on my clothes and piddle on the floor, he’s been a perfect roommate. He gives me unconditional love and he’s taught me a thing or two. For instance, every morning, usually before 4 a.m., while I’m standing out in my front yard waiting for him to relieve himself, he reminds me that I’m not ready for parenthood yet.
Sometimes I try to fast-forward my life and I try to convince myself that I’m ready to be a mother. In reality, I’m not and Mickey has helped me see that.
But, at the same time, when he falls asleep on my chest and I look at his little face and hear his rapid heart beat he reminds me how wonderful being a mother must be and will be.
I realize that a puppy is much different than a baby. But feeling so much love for this furry little creature makes me wonder how someone could love another creature even more. I can’t imagine feeling that much love but I know it’s possible. Mickey has taught me that, along with many other things.
Believe it or not, dogs can teach humans many things about life.
That is, if we let them.