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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

A Farewell to Paws

I don’t write sad or serious posts here. This is a comedy site, for crissakes.

(I may write things that people consider “sad” because I thought they were funny. Or things that suggest there’s something “seriously” wrong with me. But those are different.

Good night, sweet stinky princess.“Good night, sweet stinky princess.”

A little too common, probably. But different.)

It is with serious sadness, however, that I report that our beloved pooch Susie (pictured at left) — who rated her own freaking category around here — had to be put down this afternoon.

(Not ‘put down’, like “you can’t walk upright and you don’t have opposable thumbs and your breath smells like horse meat“.

The other kind. The worse one.)

It wasn’t wholly unexpected, of course. The old girl had slowed down considerably in recent weeks — and she wasn’t all that quick to begin with. She was clearly uncomfortable, and even spent last night in the puppy hospital after a visit with the docs to see whether they could fix her. So we knew the end might be near.

Still. Susie was one stubborn bitch. She took on cancer a few years ago, and laughed it off.

Well. Maybe not “laughed”, exactly. After spleen removal surgery and eight months of chemo, she shook the disease — but there wasn’t a whole lot of laughing until afterward. Maybe you could say she “horked it off”. Probably more accurate.

Not satisfied with ruining one perfectly good internal organ, the pooch proceeded to develop a crippling heart problem, which required a puppy pacemaker. That was last November, just over a year ago.

In between, she dabbled with various ailments. She sparred with incontinence early in her career, knocked out another cancer scare, and took medicine — wrapped in turkey or slathered in peanut butter, naturally — for her liver, kidneys, joints and various nasty antibiotic-resistant UTIs.

(Seriously. Our kitchen counter looks like a freaking canine old farts’ home, with all the various pills and capsules and such. You’d think we were treating 101 geriatric dalmations.)

Eventually, you got the feeling — at least, I did — that maybe this mutt could beat anything. Old age, exploding organs, ninja tabby cats — anything. But in the end, too many maladies stacked up against her. She’d have licked any one, I’m certain — and slobbered all over it, too — but when they all ganged up against her, it was more than her battery-assisted little heart could bear.

I feel fortunate that my wife and I could be with Susie at the end. She didn’t have the strength to walk or even wag her tail, but she went out doing what she loved the most: chomping on the little doggie biscuits that the hospital docs keep on hand.

Oh, I’m sure she was mildly comforted by the fact we were there, stroking her greyed-out muzzle and scritching a few last times behind her ears. But the treats helped a lot. She ate them out of our hands, by the end not even bothering to lift her head to chew. As she lay there, swaddled in blankets and sloppily munching sideways, we could see it was time. Our poor puppy just had nothing left to give.

(The doc said she might void her bladder or bowels after the quick injection, but Susie didn’t go out that way. She was too much a little lady for that.

Actually, I expected a loud, prolonged wall-crumbling fart. That would have been just about right. Luckily for all involved, she didn’t do that, either.)

I’m managing — and frankly, it’s not at all hard — to remember the happy times with the pooch. She was a handful (when she wasn’t being an absolute load), but Susie was one spectacular dog. A woefully-incomplete list of my favorite Susie things:

She loved sleeping under blankets — even in the summer — but couldn’t figure out how to get underneath. So she’d paw and scratch her blanket into an exasperated little useless ball, until one of us took pity and properly tucked her in.

She rarely barked, so we taught her to bark when she needed to go outside. That worked for a few years — until she decided she should bark whenever she “needed”… anything. Which was usually a Snausage.

She was once featured on an episode of Zoom on WGBH.

Her meds made her so thirsty, she’d sometimes drink water until she threw it right back up. That’s not a favorite memory, by any means. But! She learned quickly to stop when we told her to “take a break!” And on a good day, she’d stop and watch us, snout poised above the bowl, while we told her to “waaaait… waaaaaaait… okay!” That was a fun game.

The trainers at her “doggy daycare” center taught her to walk backwards, which is evidently very tough for dogs. They don’t come naturally with a reverse gear. Of course, she’d rarely back up when it was actually useful to do so. Instead, she’d figure out when we were asking her purely as a test, and wiggle her furry butt backwards with ridiculous gusto for the treat. Barking all the way, of course.

She once figured out a way to ruin a mousepad. With her hoohah.

She wasn’t a ‘needy’ dog, by any means, but she liked to be in on the action. If she could position herself in the precise center of all the people in view, she would. If she could touch one or more of them by, say, resting her paw on a hand or sitting on someone’s foot? All the better.

Her jaws were so strong — and for several years, her chewing so compulsive — that the only semi-permanent toy she could keep was a Kong, basically a hollowed-out tube of heavy-duty half-inch-thick rubber. Plastic toys? Shattered. Rope toys? Unstrung. Plush toys? Puh-lease. Only the advertised-as-indestructible Kong would survive. And by the way? We went through six of them.

There’s more, of course. But this is really getting to be more a self-therapy session than an actual post. And I’m pretty well out of punchlines for the night. If I had any to begin with.

(Shaddup, you. I’m trying over here.)

Anyway, I’ll miss my sweet furball Susie. I’d like to think she’s out there somewhere, happily chomping on spectral Snausages.

And farting. Good lord, the farting. Oh, Susie, Susie, Susie. Atta puppy. You’re a good girl.

Permalink  |  1 Comment



One Response to “A Farewell to Paws”

  1. ema says:

    I would hug you if I could, and fart to remember her, since this is the way you mostly pictured her. I almost cried, but you/she also snatched a laugh. Sorry, really

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