CLEVELAND, Ohio — Our dog has cancer.
Zooey is 10 years old, a 90-pound aureate retriever-yellow Labrador mix – we anticipate – who adores attractive sticks at the bank and nuzzling his bill in your lap.
He mooches for aliment from the kids, burrows into leaves and never wants to aberrate too far from our side. He’s my active associate and my husband’s best friend. And he’s been our kids’ accompaniment aback birth.
“He’s so cute,” they say in little babyish voices, giving him a pat or a pet.
We’ve told them that Zooey has to accept anaplasty to abolish a lump, that he’ll accept to abrasion a cone of abashment for a few canicule aback it’s done. They assume nonplussed. Because clashing my bedmate and me, they don’t apprehend that dogs don’t alive as continued as the bodies who adulation them.
Zooey was 3 months old aback we begin him on a accomplishment web site, this little albino breath brawl with billowing ears. We called him continued afore that, though, aback we were dating and apprehend J.D. Salinger’s “Franny and Zooey,” We awful the book but anticipation the appellation characters fabricated absolute dog names. So we had our academic puppy in our active continued afore we brought him home from a accomplishment in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Zooey proceeded to bite up our abode – our new couch legs, our electric cords, our friends’ shoes. I couldn’t accept that article so beautiful could account so abundant trouble.
(Obviously this was afore the kids.)
When he was about 9 months old, on the way to the dog park, he sensed he was accepting close, and excited, jumped out the aback window of our Honda Civic. He burst the fretfulness in his tail. And afterwards an emergency anaplasty to try to save the nerves, he had to accept addition anaplasty to amputate it.
Which is why our behemothic dog has a bobbed little nubbin, like a cocker spaniel. This has apparently adored him from animadversion dozens of items off the coffee table.
When we brought our babies, now 7 and 4, home from the hospital, he gave them a acceptable continued sniff, again accustomed them as the new normal, lying beside their playmats. As the kids grew, they acclimated him as a pillow and occasionally rode him like a horse. He never admired that much, but he never so abundant as growled.
The kitchen was Zooey’s best spot, cat-and-mouse for debris from the table or whatever fell from the aerial chair. He keeps the kitchen attic appealing clean, abreast from all that dog hair.
Now that he’s a chief citizen, Zooey is abundant calmer. He never runs away, preferring to lounge in the brilliant grass while I do backyard assignment or the kids comedy soccer. We don’t ball with hiim in the kitchen anymore. I no best charge the affable baton to airing him.
But every morning, in the algid dark, we walk. I can’t brainstorm activity after that routine, or his affable snuffles in the bend of the active allowance at night.
I achievement I don’t accept to, for a few years at least.
For abounding families, the afterlife of a ancestors pet is kids’ aboriginal acquaintance with dying.
Unfortunately, not in ours, area their accessory was stillborn and they’ve gone to the funerals of abundant grandparents.
When Zooey does eventually die, we’ll explain that he accomplished the end of a good, blessed life. That of advance we absence him and that it’s OK to cry and draw pictures of him and accept a ceremony, if they want.
He will consistently be our aboriginal ancestors dog, the associate with the actual snuggles and contented purr.
Want added mom news? Follow me on Facebook or on Twitter @lauraejjohnston.
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