Today a 14 year relationship ended.

You never fully understand loss until it happens to you. You may have watched friends or family members go through it. You may have commiserated. But until it's you, you really don't get it.

Today we put my dog Indy to sleep.

It's an odd thing to say, "put to sleep". A bit misleading. Most living beings that I know that go to sleep eventually wake up.

Not the case here.

We experienced an exhausting weekend of rapid decline with him. One that had me praying that he would just die. It culminated in his inability to walk. He lost bowel and bladder control (even though he tried really hard to make it to the door to go out). But he remained fully aware. And he was humiliated. It was time and today was the day.

We acquired Indy much the same way we have our other pets. Namely? We're suckers for those pet adoptions they hold at various locations like pet stores. One sunny Texas afternoon about 14 years ago we made it into one of those stores to buy fish food. We left $300 later with a funny looking little dog that I *thought* was a German Shepard (I had always wanted one) and all the puppy acoutremonts. When he didn't grow above about 40 pounds, our best guess - with the Vet's input as well as many others, even strangers on the street - was that he was a cross between a Norwegian Elkhound and a German Shepard.

Indy had some ridiculous name when we adopted him. I can't remember what is on the adoption papers, but it was something silly like Petey. I wanted to name him Newman just so we could say, "HELLO NEWMAN" a la Jerry Seinfield. Instead, we named him something equally as ridiculous as Petey and Newman. We named him Indy.

Todd and I weren't yet married when we got Indy (or he selected us, it's all very cloudy now), but the intention was for Indy to live with Todd but be "my" dog. He immediately bonded with Todd (of course), but somewhere down the line that switched and he was 110% my dog. (It may have happened after he ate the corner off of Todd's house outside. I'm not sure.)

Indy was faithful. He was smarter than any dog I've ever met and picked up quickly. It was great fun to teach him stupid pet tricks to show off to people (like standing on his hind legs and going around in a circle whenever I said, "Go around!"). He was eager to please me. He slept at my feet. He sat in my office for endless hours of work. He moved from room to room with me. He was always there (even if he had to tolerate sharing his bed with the cats in my office).

Indy loved the water. He loved people food - especially sharing my McDonald's bacon-egg-and-cheese biscuit. He liked going places, but he hated riding in the car. He loved being in the middle of everybody and everything going on.

Indy wasn't the cutest dog, especially when we first got him. He had these pointed ears that stuck straight up - bigger than his whole head. But he had a way of growing on people. I remember my mom saying, "He's kind of ugly" when she first saw him. By the end of that weekend, he had won her over. Same with my grandma - who said she didn't like animals in the house - but allowed Indy. He ran into the other room to check on her each time she coughed. She said, "I guess if I had a dog like that I would let him in the house." That's just how he was. You did things for and around him that you usually wouldn't. He was a great sport.

Indy had a condition called nystagmus which made his eyes jiggle back and forth. We grew accustomed to it, but those meeting Indy for the first time always gasped, "WHAT is wrong with your dog's eyes?!?" We amused ourselves by saying, "What do you mean?" and pretending like we didn't know what people were talking about.

Indy was a great dog, but he wasn't perfect. He liked the delicacy of cat poop (we dubbed the cat litter boxes the "Drive Through"). He chewed all of my running shoes (yes, I really ran in a previous life) - but he chewed the left heel only. He was a shameless table scrap moocher. He never behaved for me on the leash, but always did for Todd (even after hundreds of dollars spent on dog training). He was territorial over me. He hated Ella (and gave her little baby head more than one warning snap when she wouldn't shut up), even though she tried her hardest to be friends with him. He ate baby Ugg boots. He "barped" (a small little bark that wouldn't get him in trouble) when you left him outside too long. He made a dash for it if he ever escaped his leash and came back hours later looking like he had the time of his life with, "Whaaa? Why are you guys out here in the snow without a coat looking for me?"

No, h
e wasn't perfect, but he was my dog. He was a great pet. He was an amazing companion. And for 14 years he was my buddy.

You will be sorely missed, buddy.

Indy (Newman) (Petey) Wilson, 1995 - May 11, 2009


alyssa wilson said... @ 10:28 PM

umm, im crying.

WritRams said... @ 10:29 PM

Join the club...

thatdamnredhead said... @ 12:08 AM


I'm so sorry for your loss. I had to put my dog Teddy "to sleep" (I always hated that term, too) after 16 years, he had cancer on his hip that kept growing back every time we got it removed.

This kinda thing is the reason I switched from pre-vet to English & Advertising my freshman year at Michigan State.

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