Sunday, October 23, 2011

Snicker is our October 23, 2011 Pups of the Week

I felt a crushing sadness when I learned of Snickers going to the Bridge, perhaps because of the culmination of passages to the Bridge since the fall of summer, perhaps because I so enjoyed our conversations, perhaps because, as his Mom said to me on Monday, he was her best friend, and perhaps because I don't think many of you got to know the pleasure of his friendship as much as I did. Snicker had quite a long life for a dog, had a wonderful Mom, a wonderful family, but whether it be a two year old, or a 15 year old, the passing of a dog, bar the passing of a child, is so incredibly emotionally taxing on our Moms.

Snicker had a very hard last year.

We both had the same attitude about the grandbabies who came to visit us. We loved them, but gosh, they are a bother, wanting to pick us up, chase us, just love the literal stuffing right out of us. I had Pocket and her eternal cuteness to throw at them while I scurried under the bed, but Snicker's had only his own eternal cuteness to offer.

Snicker and his Mom always knew how to enjoy themselves. At Christmas his Mommy sat on the floor to wrap gifts. She would spread the paper on the floor and Snicker would sit in the middle of it. She would chase him off and they would play chase throughout the house. It was one of his favorite games, and, if the truth be told, hers too.

The temperature was always a problem for my little friend. The cold of the winter bothered our him a great deal. He got the trembles a lot from the cold. His Mom put a sweater on him and even talked about pants. But Pocket had patented pants so he couldn't wear them. But when it warmed up he enjoyed his walks at Riparian Preserve where he got to play with the ducks and his other bird friends. He made it a rule only to chase the cats. And he could go to the park when it was just him and his Mom and he could run fast and free like he was young. He still had fun, even with a stubborn stomach bug he couldn't shake.

By the end of January Snicker could no longer go on long walks. He still went to visit his bird friends, and he still chased a cat or two, but his allergies were keeping him from enjoying the outdoors as he did before. And the vet gave him some icky medicine to take. Do they ever have good medicine?

And then there was the snorting. Not the Lindsay Lohan kind but the kind I get where I snort and don't breathe well. I do it once or twice a month but for Snicker it was an everyday bugaboo. If you don't snort you don't know how bad it is. You have trouble breathing, Mommy and Daddy get excited, Pocket snaps at me because she's confused. Mommy picks me up and I settle down in a minute or two. But a big gust of wind in the face can set it off. So Snicker and I were siblings in snort.

A week after Pocket and I moved into our new home Snicker moved into his. And just like me he was happy to find no stairs. Oh stairs are such a pain when you reach double digits. Cesar Milan says your parents should take you for a three hour walk when you move into a new home. Neither of our Mommies did that. No ones Mommy does that. And yet humans still listen to Cesar. There were a few problems for Snicker in the new house. He would see vermin in the yard and dash straight into the glass door a couple of time. It hurt quite a bit but Mommy was there with sweet kisses.

Snicker did enjoy his walks but the heat kept getting to him. He had to stop and cool down every time they hit a shady spot. His parents tried to keep him out until he did his business. I can tell you from my experience parents don't like when you leave treasures in their new house.

His Mom tried to schedule his walk for early in the morning or late at night but the Arizona heat was unrelenting this past summer. His Mom began to put ice cubes in his water to cool him off during his walks.

The temperature continued to climb up to 110 as his mother thought about getting him his own pool but he wasn't crazy about the idea of stepping in water. Snicker was having a difficult time breathing in the heat. His parents decided to roll up the rugs and let him stay in the cool house. He did find one advantage to the onset of deafness. He was able to watch the fireworks without having the big bangs going off.

By mid July it seemed the weather had painted a bullseye on our little friend. A thunder and lightning storm rocked his house so hard his Mom lay in bed with him all night as he moved restlessly to and fro on the bed and tried to catch his breath. Then came the huge dust storm that covered everything and left dust in the air. Not a good scenario for an elder dog with serious breathing problems.

Snicker would only go out to do his business. When he came back in her got a nice cool face wash that cooled him down and removed the dust that had collected from the air. By the end of July nature had almost defeated Snicker.

He got so hot his Mommy and sister tried ice bags to cool him down and then finally put him in an ice bath that may have saved his life. Blazer reminded his Mom that this could have sent him into shock but the alternative could have been a much easier trip to the bridge. Regardless his Mom decided it was his last ice bath.

I did not hear from Snicker after that. Then in the beginning of October he had his first stroke. His Mom knew she had a hard decision to make. He had a second stoke on the 14th, and on the 16th it was clear he would not be Snicker anymore. After his Mom held him in her arms for four hours while he slept she made the decision, took him to the vets, and the vet aided our friend on his trip to the Bridge. Our friend Tanner at the Bridge let us know that Snicker had arrived, and our hearts sunk, and broke on the floor.

The next day we learned Snicker sent us one last message, in his last days, in the form of a Warren Zevon song, which we will print for you below. He told me to make sure his Mom knew the message was for her. Before we do let me make clear, Snicker was a great companion to his Mom, a great friend to all, and we miss him like a brother. When we go out for our last walk to the night we look at the stars, and we have noticed Snicker's star shining brightly in the west. And we blow a kiss and tell him how much we love and miss him. So here's to Snicker, I hope you knew him, your life would be sweeter if you did.

Shadows are falling and I'm running out of breath
Keep me in your heart for a while
If I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for a while

When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
Keep me in your heart for a while
There's a train leaving nightly called when all is said and done
Keep me in your heart for a while

Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the house
Maybe you'll think of me and smile
You know I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
Keep me in your heart for a while

Hold me in your thoughts, take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you

Engine driver's headed north to Pleasant Stream
Keep me in your heart for a while
These wheels keep turning but they're running out of steam
Keep me in your heart for a while