Personal stuff, a quick explanation


When I was younger, we lost my first family dog. I was 16, so was he. I don’t have to explain that this was a painful time especially because of my age and the awkwardness that comes with it. I was a quiet, introverted teenager. The loss of any friend was severely detrimental to me, none more than the loss of  a friend so close and inexplicably connected to me as the Jo-jo.

We knew what was wrong, kidney failure. It got to the point that he wouldn’t even eat a treat. My mother had tried to give him one a day before he went… She ended up saving the untouched bone-shaped biscuit. He went slowly, painfully. The worst part of that was not being with him. We had dropped him off at the Vet for overnight observation… The next morning we got the call. Knowing that dogs have emotions, I could philosophize my entire life over the feelings that were going through his mind. I’m going to avoid that as much as I possibly can.

Months after his passing, we found another dog to adopt. He was an odd combination that we’re still not sure of… He appeared to be some mixture of Basset hound/clumber spaniel/canaan/corgi. His name was Graham at the time but when we took him in, he magically transformed into Lakota. We began calling him Koti, for short.

The minute he arrive, he rushed to me. For a dog, to see a human on the floor, crawling around as other dogs do is often a point of interest. Cats couldn’t care less but dogs associate with me. They see me as a really fucking odd looking alpha dog. Of course, it doesn’t help that I scratch and lick myself but that’s for another time.

We spoke to the rescue owner who had brought him. She was going through some patronizing, heavy-handed speech. It was an attempt to make sure we knew how to take care of Lakota. It came across like she thought we were three. She gave us the rundown of his specialized diet. She left us with his specialized toys. She pet him in a very choreographed way… She reminded me of a sports car owner.

During the talk, he disappeared himself. We went searching and found him in my parent’s room, munching on the dog treat that my mother had been saving. We took it as a good sign. Like a welcoming and a finishing of old business.

He quickly became mine in such a way that we had to adopt another dog for the rest of the family. Koti was a heavy creature. He could knock me down with little effort and did so with great joy.

Over time, he developed hip trouble (as most dogs with a form of dwarfism do). He was still a bear of a dog, though, still capable of knocking me down. He was always by me, it helped that I was on the floor.

I grew older. I fell in love. I got married. I moved out. I wanted him to come with me but the apartment was too small and there were other difficulties after that.

He stayed behind. I was never too far away, though. I’d return and spend time with him and the rest of my family. Each time we see each other, he visibly changes…. It makes me feel even guiltier about leaving him.

A couple days ago I received a call from my mother. Koti has a tumor on his liver and has been given up to six months to live. Thankfully, everything I do is portable. I’m currently staying with them until he goes.

There are times he acts normally, he gets up, plays a little, lays next to me when I try in vain to sort through my emotions enough to write. Then there’s the days like today… He’s falling asleep right now, losing to the might of benadryl and other medications the vet has set for his thyroid problem.

From what I know, he’s not in pain. There won’t be any great confusion of fear when it happens. His body is simply tiring itself out and he’ll fall asleep.

My job is to make sure that everyone of the humans in the house are calm. Dogs feel emotions, they can feed off of them. When someone they care about is frightened or sad, they become tense, knowing something’s wrong. I’m here to calm him and them.

This is a tragedy, but it doesn’t have to be shakespearian in scope.

I don’t know when I’m going to throw myself back into the writing. I don’t know how much I could do right now. I haven’t been sleeping very much. He likes to wake me up after only three or four hours of sleep. Of course, he’s slept the whole day so he’s ready to spend some time 😉

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About Aaron Shively

I have been working as a freelance writer and artist for the last decade. In that time, I've done everything from ghostwriting to toy design and everything in between. I am currently working on a novel series called 'Myth' which has held my attention for the past sixteen years. I have spent my time developing the world, character and story and am now ready to funnel all the preliminary material into the manuscript of the first installment, 'of Men and Monsters' Bookmark & Share

Posted on 03/19/2011, in Rantings, Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Aw, I’m so sorry. I lost a cat to a tumour on her liver and it was hard watching her suffer. She was my little muse and a loving companion. After she died, I bought a white statue of an Egyptian cat and had her name inscribed on the base.
    But I’m sure you already know you’re doing a good job, as hard as it may be at times. As the other comment states, enjoy your time together. I can tell from reading this there is a lot of love between you. Make the most of it 🙂

  2. An amazing story. it is hard when you are about to lose such a close friend. I went through losing a dog to a tumour a few years ago, and it deeply affected me. i am impressed with your caring for him, nd it will be a comfort to you when he does go. Do what you are doing and enjoy every moment with him. 🙂

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