Today we said good-bye to our precious Herbie the Love Pug.
My kids bought Herbie for me for Mother’s Day 2003. They pooled their allowance money and went in pursuit of a pug, as I had always wanted one. They found Herbie at a pet store where the owner said that he was 7 years old and that she was getting rid of him because he wouldn’t mate. Oh, and he had a cataract. And a skin condition which she said was because he had been pecked by an emu…..So, here came Herbie home for Mother’s Day and straight into my heart. The vet examined him the next day and said, “This dog is 12 if he’s a day.” So, he lived to be somewhere around 18 or 19. Not bad for a $70 dog.
We had not had him a month before he began losing his feeling in his back and soon he was incontinent and had little use for his back legs except for balance. Upon exam, the vet said that sometime in his recent past he had been abused. Didn’t slow him up a bit. That boy could beat us to the refrigerator on most any day until recently. For a while he had to wear little shoes when he went outside as he drug his back legs and they would get skinned up. His vision was poor, but he made up for it in hearing, and we often joked that he could hear us pulling into the neighborhood and the curtains would always be stirring in the front window when we pulled up.
Somewhere along the line, Herbie went from being my dog to being my youngest daughter’s. None of us saw it coming. He used to alternate nights sleeping with the girls, and one day he just started sleeping with K full time. As he has aged and his needs have become greater and greater, K has tenderly cared for him day in and day out. When most of his teeth went bad, she started fixing broth for his food and feeding him by hand. He wasn’t happy if he couldn’t sleep with her, so because of his incontinence issues, she had to get up several times in the night to change his pants or change the bed. Over these last 6 months it became apparent that Herbie lived for K. If she wasn’t here, he wouldn’t eat and rarely looked up. We all began to realize that as K’s time to leave for college was approaching, so was the end of any happiness for Herbie. We cajoled him and begged him to hang on for the last couple of weeks as she really wanted him with her as long as possible before she left. He was tired, but he gave his best effort to snuggle into her when she came home each night. We all knew that he would die of a broken heart very soon after K left, and it was her decision to let him go before that could happen. Today she dressed him in his most handsome pants, wrapped him in his favorite blanket, and kissed him good-bye.
Oh, the stories that Herbie left us with. Someday we will laugh about his little bossy cranky demeanor. But tonight I am just so lonesome for him!