Today was the day that Coconut, our “Malty-Poo” (1/2 Maltese 1/2 Miniature Poodle) met his end.
About 6 months ago he had a lump removed from his leg. Mast cell cancer. Median survival is about 4 months, he went longer. But the cancer returned. A 2nd lump also formed under the skin of his neck.
6 months is about 3 years in “dog years”, using the 7:1 ratio. So a good life extension.
He was pain free for most of the time. This last week he’d started having mild pain from time to time, then some acute pain and yelps if things got pushed; but most of the time he was still happy and enjoying himself.
We did the Doggy Bucket List over the last few weeks. A few days ago the “long long walk” wherever his nose invited him to go. On the way back, the Big Dogs behind the Big Fence were barking. He got to do all the barking back he wanted (instead of the usual tug on the leash to “move along, move along”).
Dinners this last few days were mostly roast turkey, bits of “turkey ham”, some cheese, grilled lamb burger and an endless bowl of kibble. Along the way he also had nibbles & bits of whatever was on my plate that interested him. Buttered toast. Fried eggs. SPAM slices. Salmon. Chicken. He was not fond of pepper though, so things needed to be un-spiced. He had a weak spot for the crust of pies, in bits. Lunch today was finished with a bit of Ice Cream.
Last night, he had a bit of pain, so I’d given him some pain meds, and he wanted comforting. He got to sleep on The Big Bed next to me (yes, up on The Forbidden Bed).
Over the couple of months (since his companion dog, Cinnamon, died) we had taken him with us when we went anywhere, and then I’d take him on walks at each destination. He had a penchant for finding dumpsters to sniff ;-) He didn’t like being left alone, and with Cinnamon gone, he would be all alone for the first time in most of his life. We avoided that.
Coconut had white fur with some curl in it. When freshly bathed it would curl a bit more and look a lot like shaved coconut, thus the name.
A very forgiving soul, if you pulled some hair in trimming, or cut a bit close on the toenails, he would yelp (being something of a Drama King…) but then forgive you in the next minute. Full of energy and joy, when offered a special treat, or even if you just arrived home after being gone a long time, he would “bounce” just bouncing up and down about 2 inches coming off the ground a tiny bit.
An extremely intelligent dog, he would plan out things. Finding a way to sneak into the bedroom and get under the bed. Lurking just out of the kitchen watching around the corner for when the food was ready to be handed out, then taking the most strategic spot.
The Malty-Poo is bred to be a lap dog companion. He liked nothing more than to be in your lap, loving you and being petted, or belly rubbed, or just snuggled.
His early years included being a Street Dog in Los Angeles. Our Daughter-In-Law rescued him. Then she married our Son and they joined the clan together. When they moved to Chicago about 5 or so years ago, it was not the best environment for the dogs (Coconut & Cinnamon – a Dachshund). A 3rd floor walk up and snow in winter… Taking a toddler and 2 dogs down the stairs every few hours for a “potty break” was a bit too much work for a new mom. So I said we’d take care of the dogs (and I got to drive them to California…)
We had them for about 4 years now.
As a rescue dog, he was “street smart”, but also liked to bark at other dogs. A little dog that survived by being “vigorous” when on the street. I think he liked the “variety walks” around shopping malls and such as it reminded him of his street days. He had a knack for finding interior corners with sun and where the wind was blocked. One cold day he found a corner that was quite comfortable, where we took a short break.
But yesterday he had been holding up the hurt arm, trying not to put weight on it. Yelping a little if it got brushed by something. We had some pain meds, but they tended to make him sleepy (Gabapentin) and a bit spaced. Today he needed some to stop hurting. We knew it was time. Some of the “spark” was gone and he was tired of hurting and ready to let go.
We went to the Emergency Vet (open 24 x 7 ) and willing to let us be with him at the end even though we are Purebloods and declined the experimental mRNA jab. (Thanks for the suggestion, H.R.!) While we were expecting it to be more costly, in fact it was about $200 less than at our upscale regular vet. The were very careful to keep him comfortable and the process was very professional. We were with him to the end.
This mattered a lot as he had “abandonment issues”. Probably from being dumped on the streets to fend for himself. He didn’t like it when His People were gone for any amount of time. We didn’t want his last moments to be feeling abandoned to strangers.
So his passing was with both of us present, getting his preferred ear rubs, neck rubs, head scratches and petting.
Then we had to come home to an empty house with no-one to greet us. The first time in many years.
He was estimated to be about 12 to 13 years old, and had the best years we could give him. Private yard. Best food. Perpetual fresh water. A regular parade of Squirrels to bark at, along with the occasional cat. The “Evening Neighborhood Bark” happening about sundown. His own bed with a little heater near it in winter. And this last year or so, unlimited “couch time”. He went out on a high note, and not alone nor struggling. Loved to the end.
Now he and Cinnamon can join up in whatever Doggy Heaven might exist and be back together again.