Saturday, August 09, 2008

I never had any real pets growing up. My Dad wasn't fond of having dogs or cats around the house. My Mom had a parakeet or two and I remember having some fish and several of those two-inch diameter turtles that would last a few weeks. Occasionally a dog would follow me home and I'd bring it inside, Mom warning me to make sure it was gone by the time Dad came home from work. There was a small woods and pond behind our house. On the other side was the back of the Lampell's, who had a big dopey black Lab named Divot. When we'd be in the backyard and see Divot resting on his lawn some hundred yards away, we'd yell, "Divot!" and he'd come galumphing through the woods, ever ready to cavort.

Linda never had a dog either. It's changed now a bit, but dogs as "pets" in the Philippines weren't so common in the recent past, though you'd see these ratty creatures skulking around homes, "alarm dogs" if anything. When I first visited, in 1985, we'd be sitting around outside, one of these pitiful creatures would amble up and I'd pet it, much to the shock of family members; you just didn't pet these things. I asked its name and was met with a blank look. "Name?"

In the early 90s, when it became apparent we weren't going to be having kids, we started talking about the idea of getting a dog. In the summer of '93, we decided to go for it. We first figured we'd adopt an abandoned one and went out to the North Shore Animal League in Long Island only to discover their policy of not giving up dogs less than six months old to couples who both work. I'd happened to have visited a pet shop a week prior so I suggested to Linda we stop in, if only to get an idea of what was around. This was in midtown Manhattan, no parking, so I idled in the car while Linda went to the store. About a half-hour later, she reappeared all a-twitter, "Ooh--ooh, you have to go and see this puppy!" Hence, Nanook, an American Eskimo dog, the lovely creature you see in my blog pic.

Nanook was an exceptionally sweet dog, pampered to an absurd degree, always ready with a friendly lick and cuddle. Didn't mind listening to eai. About a year and a half ago, she began to age noticeably, developing arthritis in her hindquarters, getting a bit mentally dizzy. As these things go, it gradually worsened, taking a big downturn a couple months back when her muscles began to atrophy, a worse one last week.

This morning, we had her put to rest, a very tough decision but, I'm sure, the correct one. Very, very hard thing to do.

A wonderful dog, we'll miss her terribly.


Richard Pinnell said...

Brian I am truly sorry.

I am a huge dog lover, and lost the two golden retrievers I had for many years in quick succession six years ago now.

You get over it, but like losing any other member of the family they will always be missed.

My thoughts are with you and Linda, I know how it feels right now.

Anonymous said...

wow, Brian. Terribly sorry to hear this. I know she was a huge part of your family.

I remember this quote from a euthanasia pamphlet at the vet -- meant to help families cope. For some reason it really stuck.

"Any animal who has had the opportunity to be loved lives forever."

Anonymous said...

oh man, I'm so sorry. I sympathize indeed, my family's lost a couple dogs over the years. Absolutely heartbreaking, I know how it feels. Hang in there, Brian.

Cem said...

Brian, I'm so sorry... I know how bad it hurts. I just lost Stella Blue in October. Fwiw, though I've met you in person, I see that photo of you & Nanook, whenever I think of you. She's left her mark in many ways and as Al put it "had the opportunity to be loved", which is more than many beings can say. My best to you & Linda.

jesse said...

Thanks for sharing this, Brian. Nanook had the good life with you.

Vincent Kargatis said...

My sympathies, Brian. I may soon face a similar situation, our 19ish year old cat Zodiac seems to be fading away fast.

paul vogel said...

I am very sorry to hear this Brian.
I now how you must feel
My thoughts are with you and yours.

Brian Olewnick said...

Thanks, all. Appreciate the comments.

lolabelle said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, I still feel a pang for every pet I've lost when I think about them, even if it was over 30 years ago.

Brian Olewnick said...

Thanks, lolabelle.

Strange weekend. My niece, nephew and nephew's girlfriend came down yesterday. They were attending the music fest that's gone on in Liberty State Park (about a mile from me) for the last few days. Line-up was Jack Johnson (not a Miles/Sharrock reunion, unfortunately), Cat Power, some others.

They stayed over and the plan was for Ti (the niece) to hang around and we'd go into MOMA or something. Then over breakfast this morning, my brother calls up with the news that Razzle, their 14-year old chocolate Lab, had experienced a severe seizure of some kind overnight and was put to sleep this morning.

Not a good weekend for the family dogs.

Peggy said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. We are pretty dog "parents" (we adopted a 7 month old American Eskimo Dog named Sam in March) but we have lost other pets over the years. My thoughts are with you and your wife during this difficult time.

Brian Olewnick said...

Thanks, Peg. Sam looks beautiful!