This is a sad day.
It is a day we have expected to come for the past 2 years…. in the last week I knew it was more in reach – but I received a call yesterday afternoon to confirm that the time is here.
For 13 years, a little black dog has been my companion and like my child. My sweet Monkey. The Monks, Monkster.
I rescued Monkey from a terrible situation in May of 2003. Only slightly more than 2 weeks old, in a mailbox carrier left to die piled in with his litter mates (some were dead or dying) and needing a lot of help. I grabbed him and a brother of his. They seemed the most strong, fighting to live, and the most healthy out of the box. The brother went on to live with my mother and brother and I kept Monkey.
Eventually, I got him into good health. He was very smart, made friends everywhere he went, and he was always so happy. He did suffer from seizures, as a result of his tough start in life, but they didn’t become troublesome for him until he was about 2 years old and I had to begin him on phenobarbital. He had lifelong (and sometimes terrible, horrible) seizures but he was still very active, happy, funny, and smart as could be.
Monkey loved kids, other dogs to run & chase with, he would fetch sticks, he loved hanging out near the water at the beach or on a dock, he loved going on hikes, he loved going camping, and most of all he loved to swim! Monkey never ran away off a leash, Monkey never was aggressive with anything, Monkey was trusting, and Monkey was loyal. Monkey also loved posing for photographs!
I saved Monkey and got a wonderful friend. Then, Monkey saved me.
I was in a very abusive (in every meaning of the word) relationship for many years, and literally Monkey kept me alive and fighting. During the end of the abusive relationship, my grandmother was very ill with Alzheimers and my grandfather committed suicide. It was a very difficult time in my life.
It may seem very dramatic to say that the dog kept me alive and fighting, but I assure you it is a most sincere and truthful statement. Monkey kept me going. He was the only creature in the world who knew for a very long time. He was the only creature in the world I could talk to and cry with. He was the only creature in the world who was there to love me when I was scared or alone, or when there was simply no one to call. He was the only thing in the world that gave me a reason to get up and out of bed and live another day. He gave me a purpose and something to protect when I couldn’t protect myself.
He and I got away from all that and went on to a much better life – and soon we found Jonathan.
With lifelong seizures and medications comes the knowledge that eventually the body will begin to shutdown. Jon and I honestly thought it would have been sooner, but he has always been a fighter. In the last couple years, however, we have seen him get more weak and struggle more with age. He still had a little fight in him and had the light in his eyes of the younger Monkey. But suddenly, last week the light went out. Very suddenly, I looked into his face and didn’t see Monkey at all – just a body of him without his spirit and getting ill quickly.
We had some blood work taken and the results showed that while the seizures and the heart murmur was wearing his little body down, along with his super high liver counts and severe anemia – but the real issue is the fact that, in the words of the vet, he is in the midst of kidney failure. There isn’t anything to be done, and there isn’t a lot of time left for him before real pain and badness begins.
This quote pops into my brain today, from AA Milne… said by Winnie the Pooh to Christopher Robin – but I think Monkey could have said it himself:
“Promise me you’ll never forget me, because if I ever thought you would, I’d never leave.”
Jonathan returns home this evening from sea, we plan to have Monkey go on to heaven on Friday evening after spending a last day as a family saying goodbye and maybe taking him for one last look out on the beach.
I know it is his time to go, but with him will go 13 years of memories and appreciation. I will never forget his first run through the snow, summer days when he would swim for hours in a lake, how happy he was to be a big brother to Popcorn and how pissed he was when we brought Liesl home. I will never forget how much he was loved by his human friends, and how everyone thought he was still a puppy until he was about 10 years old.
I don’t know how long it will take me to stop wondering why I don’t hear his little feet tap dancing behind me as I walk through the house or when I go for a walk in the neighborhood…. but I know I will miss him so much.
I hope he knows how much he is has always been loved. I hope he knows I always did all I could to take care of him and how very sorry I am that there isn’t anything more we can do to help him now.
From the great Irving Berlin, sang by our favorite Willie Nelson…. here is a song for you Monkey.
“What’ll I do with just a photograph to tell my troubles to? When I’m alone with only dreams of you…. what’ll I do?”
Monkey, I love you and I will miss your smile so much.