June 28th 2009 12:33 am
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My boy Nike died on June 27th, 2009 at 10:28PM.
It'd been very hot outside today, and while inside, he had a pretty hard time staying cool & catching his breath. I made sure he had plenty of cool water & a breeze before I took off for the Humane Society for a couple hours, and when I got home he was laying on one of the doggie beds in the living room, still panting. Ironically, I thought about signing on to this Dogster page & adding "hot weather" as one of Nike's dislikes. At 9PM he joined me up on the couch, and I soaked a towel in cool water & covered him with it to help cool him off. It seemed to help, so I went back to watching some stupid TV show, with my foot resting alongside Nike's back, and at some point in time, he stopped panting. At 10:28PM, I felt him convulse, & looked at him to see him convulse two more times before I held him. He convulsed one more time, and I guess that was it...
Quick, and I hope rather painless.
Writing this is not only to let his friends know that he's now gone, but it's also to delay the next step I have to take, which is to wrap him up & put him not up in our bed, where I'm proud to say he's slept since i adopted him well over a decade ago save for maybe about 40 days worth of me being away from home -- but into the refridgerator. I'm quite stoic & pragmatic about everything else in my world, and onviously I knew that sooner or later this moment would come, but I could never think about it without crying, thus, I tried not to think about it & instead focus on his happiness & well-being. Occasionally at the shelter I volunteer at I would come across the remains of a dead MinPin and I would force myself to respectfully look, thinking "at some point in time, this will be Nike. Be ready." Now, at the moment when it is time to stop thinking and do some necessary actions, I'd rather just stay here with Nike on my lap & think & cry about it...
In many ways, I am not a good person, and I think that's mostly been my choice. But the one major positive thing even my harshest critics would concede is my compassion for animals, and putting my desire to help them into tangible action. Nike deserves all the credit for that. After some rather dynamic events in my 20s, Nike was a stablizing factor for all of my 30s. He showed me how wonderful having a canine companion could be and that joy made Nike the most important thing in my life. If you've got a human family of some sort, that might sound pathetic, but my personal/family situation is now & has often been that my dogs (including fosters) comprise my entire family and circle of 'loved ones,' so you deal with what you have.
While obviously I think Nike was special, I also believe that *any* companion animal has that same potential to form this intangible, symbiotic relationship with a human. Because of Nike being so incredibly special & important to me, I've worked fairly hard to help other animals in less fortunate situations get to the point where they can be adopted out & live happily ever-after, providing their humans with a certain sense of stability & devotion. Nike has allowed us to foster many dozens of other small dogs over the past 11 years or so. He's tolerated young, sharp-toothed puppies pouncing & nibbling on him, shared his doggie beds & blankets with foster dogs who had mange, getting precautionary ringworm dips due to the foster dog having ringworm, and then just the typical situations like a foster-dog stealing Nike's toys, trying to eat out of *his* food bowl, etc. He had his limits, but defending his things was always done in a way that let the foster-dogs learn from it. Fostering dogs in the future will be much harder without Nike there as the role-model, but due to what Nike has taught me, it's certainly going to continue. Ironically, Nike's final foster-dog, Huey, was just adopted this past Thursday. Nike is survived by his sister 'Baby' & his brother Potter, and one of them will now have to step-up & become the Alpha dog in our home for the fosters. Nike has had a great life. He was such a strong influence on me that there was absolutely no-way that I could ever take him for granted, and I am both glad & lucky that I had & took the opportunity to take great care of him, physically & spiritually, thoughout his entire life. Seeing my dogs happy made me happy, and while a dog doesn't really require a whole lot, I'm abundantly aware that there are unfortunately many humans in this world that don't take the time to give a dog the simple thing it needs. I wish it didn't happen, but Nike's passing now means I can and often will foster more dogs at a time.
I don't know how or when I will eventually fall asleep tonight, but I am both looking forward to temporarily escaping this hardship as well as dreading it. The worst part is that I know for that first second after I wake up, I will think that my life is 'normal' and not remember that Nike is no longer up on the bed, burrowed under his blanket. Then the next thing I'll have to do is recognize that his absence from my side after over 12 years isn't just a bad dream. I am just eternally thankful to have had him, that I was home when it happened, and that somehow he chose to come up onto the couch to be close to his daddy & I detected the event in time to have him in my arms when he died. Of course he used to spend a lot of time up on the couch with me, but with him having difficulty cooling down, I think that him taking the effort to climb up onto the couch has some special meaning -- one last heroic thing for me to be grateful to him for. I probably won't be making any more diary updates. I think I will have him cremated and then spread some of his ashes at what'd been some of his favorite spots over the 7 years we've lived in California.
Nike's best friend & dad