It feels like not all that long ago I had four dogs. Now to most, four dogs would seems like at least a couple dogs too many but for me at the time, it was the ideal number. First there was Jelly – alpha, bossy, troublemaking Jelly – who used to run the corridors of the Stargate production offices back in the day and once ate actor Michael Shanks’ tuna fish sandwich when he left it unattended in her presence. Then came Maximus – heavyset, laid-back, affable Max – who we got as a companion for Jelly. You’d be hard pressed to find a more big-hearted dog, as great with cats as he was with kids. After him, came Bubba – jumpy, anxiety-ridden Bubba – who we originally got as a present for my ex’s brother but I ended up keeping (and getting her brother a toaster oven instead). And then came Lulu – headstrong, relentless, clever Lulu – who rounded out the pack and, as the only frenchie among the pugs, demonstrated superior intellect in her ability to access hitherto inaccessible hiding spots for treats.
I remember lying in bed one night, with the four of them nestled in their preferred spots – Jelly on the pillow by my head, Maximus at my feet, Bubba near my legs, and Lulu close to my side – and thinking “Someday, I’m going to think back to this moment and remember how perfect it was.” And I was right. I do. Often.
Jelly, the love of my life, passed away two years ago at 16 years (and four months). My longest relationship!
Maximus passed years earlier at the far-too young age of 12.
Lulu, who used to play for hours on end, has trouble walking now as the spinal surgery she underwent late last year has proven unsuccessful in stemming the advance of the neurological issues that are robbing her of her mobility. It’s sad to watch her, clearly frustrated, as she struggles to walk a single block.
And Bubba, once seemingly indestructible and impervious to the onslaught of time, appears to have aged dramatically over the course of a single year. He spends most of his days napping and has recently developed a hacking “old man’s” cough that precipitated the recent veterinary visit, concerns, and need for an ultrasound.
Suji, the latest addition to the family, is spry and spirited, surprisingly youthful at a relatively young 11. She has her own mobility issues, the result of hip dysplasia, but has shown some impressive improvement over the few months she’s been with us, going from dragging her back legs around to walking with the help of a rear support sling to managing one, occasionally two whole blocks unassisted.
The hardest thing about getting a dog isn’t the housebreaking or the training; not the feeding or the walking or the daily care.
The hardest part about getting a dog is having to say goodbye.
Today’s entry is dedicated to long-time blog reader Narelle from Aus. In remembrance of Ralph and Jack.