Forever Pups

In 2009, we had been living in our house for almost a year. My husband was working a lot and I found the times when I was home kind of lonely. A dog seemed like the perfect solution. I began researching and searching for dogs online. I remember casually mentioning an available puppy to my husband and he kind of shrugged me off, which I obviously took as a nod of approval.

So, over February break, I got my brother to drive with me to Long Island, where I bought not one, but two brown furry mops. After the initial shock wore off, my husband fell in love with these little guys who we named Moose and Otis. They were the first members of our family and they’ve been there for the ride ever since.

Moose and Otis are shih tzus and because of their size, they’ve always felt like puppies. Our daughters always refer to them as looking like “little boys” after a session at the groomer, when they go from overgrown eyeless creatures to clean cut puppies again. Eternal pups.

Last night, we were reminded that Moose and Otis are actually eleven years old now…senior dogs.

I was working at our kitchen table, our dogs’ beds positioned behind me, so they could be directly beside the heat vent. They like to be cozy. Moose was making his way back to his bed, when he seemed to fall over on his back and then bounce back up. “What the heck?” I said to him. I thought he was trying to scratch a hard to reach itch.

But then, he fell over again and I could tell he was not in control of his body. I jumped from my chair, ran from the room, and called for my husband. “He’s not ok!” I yelled as I threw my hands over my eyes, cowering away. Arnauld came running and immediately got down on the floor with Moose, cradling his head and stroking his back.

Later, reflecting on this moment, I found myself in tears. I had abandoned Moose in a time of distress and I felt guilty for not being able to be there for him. This was also a swift reminder, that our pups aren’t actually eternal puppies.

Today, after an afternoon at the vet, the prognosis isn’t great. But like our vet sister-in-law Molly told us last night, there might be things we can do to “make sure he’s happy until he isn’t anymore.”

When I got home from work today, I was never more relieved to see the pep in Moose’s step as he ran to guard his food bowl and bully his brother, Otis. Maybe tomorrow, he will be back to following me around and licking my leg incessantly.

Maybe we can stay focused on his puppy exterior and forget about his senior interior…just for a little while longer.

17 thoughts on “Forever Pups

  1. You can feel the love for those boys! I’m so glad you wove in that line from Molly “make sure he’s happy until he isn’t anymore” – that one stuck with me today after you told the story. And, although I heard this story, it came out even better in writing….so glad you captured this slice for the boys.

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  2. Our world would be so much better if we could keep our fur babies young and healthy forever! I can tell from the way you wrote about him you will make sure that every single day—whether it’s a hundred or a million—are full of love for him.

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  3. Oh – my heart goes out to you. Our pets really are part of the family & it’s hard to see him age. I’m glad your sister-in-law had comforting words and even gladder that Moose had some pep in his step today. Fingers crossed that they both have plenty of time left for playing and loving.

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    1. I have to tell you that in this moment, I channeled you. Overcome with worry, my oldest was crying. I pictured you in the moment with your son and his worry over his ribs. I wanted to be you, give that to Wren. I almost wrote all about that here. Just wanted you to know that you matter and your stories. ❤️❤️❤️

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  4. As I witness my almost 13 year old “baby” Poncherillo attempt to jump on my bed each night, and usually get stuck because of his old hips during many attempts, I fully connect with you here. I know he is slowing down and having a lot of trouble bouncing his 60 pound self around. Oh, how I wish we could keep them forever young. Your cuties are adorable.

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  5. I watch my best friend Lily a little closer now that she’s getting older. I hope your best friend has wonderful days until he doesn’t as your sister-in-law said. It feels like we don’t have capacity these days for any more trauma.

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  6. I love those faces…and the names are so perfect. I’m sorry that Moose is struggling. That’s not what we need right now. I’m glad he has his heat vent and he’s near you.

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  7. I want to give you a hug. I remember when you got those pups. Your ending to this slice is great…concentrate on the outside and keep Molly’s advice in the forefront of your mind. 💙💙

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  8. Focus on his puppy exterior and forget about his senior interior–I love that line. Your love for Moose is on display here. Pets give us so much and expect only that we love them back. I’m sure Moose knows!

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  9. Your pups bring you so much joy. They have a good home with you. They are in heir twilight years, and you’ll do everything to help manage their old age.

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  10. Oh, no! I actually remember when you got these guys! I wish you many more happy days with them. So sorry Moose is having trouble.

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  11. The loss of my 12 year old Standard Poodle, Fergie was softened with the introduction of current puppy – but even as I write this I’m having second thoughts. No loss of a family member is lessened and the way they came with such love and joy to your home is the way that Moose will leave. Thank you for sharing his story and I hope Otis will be okay.

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  12. I do hope Moose can hang on for a while longer and still enjoy life and bring joy to you and your family. Parting with pets is so very sad, I’ve never had one die of old age, always prematurely, which is not fun either.

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