Friday, June 06, 2008

This is Smuckers

I remember asking her owner how she came to be named after jelly, but I can’t recall their answer. Her family calls her, Mucky. I kept finding myself calling her ‘Smuck’, which isn’t really that nice of a name. She really is a lovely boxer and doesn’t deserve to be called ‘smuck’, ’shlemiel’, ‘shmoe’ or any of the other Yiddish words I know. Thank goodness no one in Utah, other than me, seems to know what I am saying anyway.

I was trying very hard to get a picture of Smuckers for this post only to discover that she doesn’t like to be photographed. I am many shots of the back of her head and a number of her left ear. Her little sister, Prudence, seems to love the camera.

I think Smuckers liked coming here just to get a break from her kid sister. Prudence gets to run with all the other bouncy dogs and Smuckers gets to hang with me. Us old ladies need to stick together. Whenever Smuckers would come around for some loving, I would have to work fast. Prudence likes to butt in and demand all the love for herself. And if Pru stops running and pays attention to me, so does Sonny, BB, Bailey, and Poky. That is just too much dog for even I to love all at once. Especially, since they are want to get on my lap. At seven months pregnant, there just isn’t that much lap to go around anyway.

We had a very cold and rainy day on Wednesday. We even got some hail. The dogs had been stuck in the kennel for most of the day, when the sun decided to show up for dinner playtime. I was letting everyone have an extra long playtime to make up for such a crummy day. I had been snapping pictures with the good intentions of trying to blog again when I gave up on the camera. My ability to get a dog in a frame seems to be even weaker than before. So I was just enjoying the dogs doing what they do best, hauling around the play yard at top speed. I was standing by the inner gate, trying to stay out of the way, when I heard and saw Smuckers fall.

Did she trip?! Dogs don’t trip.

Did someone run into her?! No one was anywhere near her.

I rush over and kneel down next to her. I want to keep the other dogs away incase she is hurt. Normally, if I get down on the ground, dogs overwhelm me: licking, or knocking me over. I should have realized when I wasn’t shoving dogs out of my face, that something was really wrong. Her legs were out straight and stiff so the first thing I think of is that she is having a seizure. My dog, Sam, had those. I am three steps ahead in my mind…finish the seizure, put the rest of the dogs away, and put her in the car and take her to the vet. I am holding her shoulder and telling her that everything is going to be fine, ‘cause I have a plan, when her breathing slowed and stopped. It seemed like a long time, but it was probably less than a minute.

My husband figures it was either a heart attack or stroke to happen so fast. We both decided that going that quickly while having a great time with your buddies would be the way we’d like to go.

Maybe I have led a sheltered life, but at 43, I have never been present when someone died. The last thing I said to her was, “Oh no, Smuck, don’t go.” It was really simple and peaceful, she was here and then she wasn’t.

Usually, I get to hear about the death of one of my doggies when their owners call to cancel on reservations or when they see me in the grocery store. I don’t usually have to be the one to tell their moms.

I guess I have to expect that after 5 years, I would lose some of my clients. It is just as hard with Smuckers as with the first dog I lost, Snoopy. The biggest black lab you ever saw.

We buried Smuckers under my favorite pear tree. My kids and my dogs saw her off. My son wants to light a candle for her at mass this weekend. I told him, that I doubt Smuckers was a practicing Catholic, but I think it would still be okay. St. Frances would be proud.

This last photo taken about 5 minutes before she died.

1 comment:

jvjanulis said...

How sad for you and Smucker's family! I wonder if she had SAS - subvalvular-aortic stenosis. Our newfoundlands' breeders always have their puppies checked out by a cardiologist before they go to a new home. If a pup has SAS he can drop dead of a heart attack any time and usually don't make it past a year. Smuckers looked a bit older than that but maybe boxers have problems with it too.