Thursday, August 22, 2013

Oscar

We hadn't planned on having a dog, but Oscar came to our home unexpectedly.  He was a Dachshund, Oscar Meyer Weiner Dog.   When he first came to us, he would run to the couch, come flying up onto the cushions, climb right on top of me and give me kisses.   I let him sleep under the covers with us for a while.  He would tunnel his way towards the bottom of the bed and stay there the night through.  That lasted until I went to visit my son.  My husband then made him a bed claiming he wasn't going to have a dog sleeping with us, and there Oscar stayed.

At first, Al wasn't crazy about Oscar, but it didn't take long for both of them to become friends, and great friends they were.  There was nothing that Oscar loved more than being outside with Al in the garden.  He had a little "pet" frog that he played with, poking it with his nose to make it hop, then following it through the garden.  He also buried many bones in the garden, as well as in the flower plots, anywhere in the yard where he could dig and often in the neighbors yard.  Oscar would take the bones and bury them, come in the house, and in 10 minutes wanted back out so that he could check to see if they were still where they belonged, and he had a long memory.  This would go on until we just stopped letting him out, or it was bedtime.

Anytime we would go somewhere, Oscar wanted to go with us.  "Come on, Oscar, let's take a ride," and he would be dancing a jig at our feet, his tale wagging happily.  If he couldn't go with us we would say, "Oscar, you stay home and be a good boy."   He would step back, drop his head and watch us leave.   When we came home, he would see us coming down the street and run from the porch where he often sat to the side of the road.  He would run beside the car until we had it parked, then begin to whimper, anxious for us to get out of the car.

At 9:30 every morning, Oscar would stand in front of Al, sit up on his hind legs and look at him.  He did this anytime he wanted something.   Then he would wave his front paws at us.  When wanting Al to go outside with him, he would look at Al, then he would look at the door.  This kept up until Al would finally put on his shoes and take him outside.

At 9 every night, he would be right back in front of Al's chair sitting on his haunches telling Al it was time to have some ice cream.  He almost always got some.

A couple of months ago, Oscar had gone with Al to get the mail.  When they got home, Al opened his door, Oscar jumped out as he always does, but he hit his hind quarters hard on the running board of the car.  He yelped, then seemed to be okay, but over time, he started having trouble with his back.  He stopped sitting up and begging, then he started whimpering like he was hurting.  He started to get weak in his back legs so we took him to the vet.  A pinched nerve in his back.  We gave him medicine to help take the swelling out and medicine for pain.  Nothing was helping.  He lost lots of weight, he was a heavy dog, and then his front legs began to bow out.  More medicine, and I even took him to see a chiropractor.  By this time, he was beyond helping.

This morning, I took Oscar to the vet for the last time.   I visited with the vet and was told we could increase medicine, but he would never be the old Oscar and would be fighting pain the rest of his life.  My decision was to let him go.  The vet explained how they would put him to sleep and wanted to know if I wanted to stay with him.  I couldn't stand to think of watching him die, so I said no.   I felt guilty afterward for making him go through this without someone he loved near.  The vet left me in the room to say my good-bye to him.  I held him, I petted him, I told him I loved him, I cried, then I turned to go.  As hard as it was for him to do, he pushed himself up on his legs to go with me.  I just wanted to take him with me.  It was one of the hardest things I have done in a long time, but I patted him on the head and said, "Oscar, you stay and be a good boy."  

Oscar gave us much joy, happiness and love during our time together.  I will always have a special place in my heart for him.
I pray that Oscar will be happy and pain free now in "dog heaven", wherever that might be.  There just has to be one.