Bella and Jaws RIP

male_min_pinDuring the past couple weeks I have been very stressed out. I had some feelings that I have never before experienced. My wife, my oldest son, one of my granddaughters, and I got teary eyed yesterday Saturday October 08, 2016. Allow me to describe the time line that started about eight years ago.

About eight years ago, my oldest son purchased two puppies. One was afemale_min_pin female for his girlfriend and the other was a male miniature pinscher for him. He named the puppy “Jaws”. At the time his girlfriend and him where experiencing some problems so he asked us to keep Jaws for a few days while he resolved the issues. My wife and I reluctantly accepted to help. A couple decades ago we purchased a full size Doberman Pinscher puppy. After a few months we gave away the dog to one of our neighbors. The dog was too demanding. She was only with us for one summer.

As my oldest was about fourteen years old, he asked for a dog. We got him a female Siberian Husky puppy. The dog walked inside the house and out the backyard where she stayed all the time she spent with us. We got her a kennel and a thermal house. Initially the boys played with the dog every day. At some point my oldest got his driving permit and a car. That following spring we all decided that it was not fair for the dog to spend her life alone. We gave her away to my brother in law who found a new and permanent home for her. She found a nice home and had puppies of her own. With time we lost track of her.

navy_combatAbout a decade went by and that is when my son called for help with Jaws. As you can tell we were not too fond of having pets at home. They are a big responsibility and my wife and I did not want to have it by getting a pet. A few days went by and I started bonding with Jaws. Dogs need a lot of attention and care. As you might have figured it out, the girlfriend sold the female puppy and my wife and I stayed with Jaws.

Purebred dogs need a lot more attention than the ones without a pedigree. The reason for this is that breeders inbreed them to the point that they become fragile and full of health problems. When we got Jaws we were not aware of the problems he might develop with time.

The first thing we did for Jaws was to neuter him. My wife and I did not want07_black_hawk_down_blu-ray additional dogs in the house. I took care of the dog while he was wearing his “cone of shame”. Jaws had an identification chip inserted in case he would get lost. About a year after he had his teeth cleaned. Vaccinations and visits to the veterinarian to make sure all was well took time and money.

I work from home. During spring, summer and fall Jaws and I would walk several times a day. We live in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul in MN, so winters are not good for miniature pinschers. That said, I would clear and maintain a spot in the yard for him to go out and do his business. Jaws and I just kept on bonding. I would look at the dog and could communicate among us. Jaws loved to take hot bath in the laundry tub. In winter, after his bath he would run to the fireplace and dry up. Seemed that Jaws enjoyed living with us. He became part of the family.

A year or so went by. I noticed that Jaws needed some dog companionship. Spoke with my son and we got a female doberman pincher puppy from the same breeder. My son wanted to name her “Godzilla”, but my wife and I went with “Bella”. As soon as she was old enough we had her neutered. Not sure if that was necessary but the decision was made.

min_pin_signWe still recall when we picked her up in Hutchinson, MN. She felt like a little cat. Back at home we introduced Bella to Jaws. A lot of sniffing went on. Jaws became her protector. We initially had a small kennel for Jaws so we got a second one of the same size for Bella. The first night she started crying. We faced both kennels and the dogs slept facing each other. The next day we purchase a larger kennel that could hold them both. With time, Bella slept outside the kennel in a bed with lots of blankets. Jaws slept inside the kennel.

A couple years back we noticed that Bella had a problem walking. We checked with the vet. She required surgery on both legs. Thousands of dollars latter and about a month of care, Bella was able to hop around as she used to when we took them for walks. Jaws always walked but Bella liked to prance.

I have so many fond moments with both puppies that I could fill dozens of pages describing them. All was good.

When my wife and I would go out we would be back in no more than three hours. As soon as we arrived home, I would take the puppies out for a walk and to do their business. When we travelled, we started leaving them at a kennel.  After a couple stays we realized the dogs did not like it and would lose weight. We searched and found a person that has four dogs and loves pets. On our way to the dog sitter, when we would be two to three blocks away, Jaws would figure out where we were going and would get very excited. As soon as we would stop the car, he wanted to run to the door and get together with his “pack”. I recall once driving the convertible to drop them for the weekend. As soon as we drove into the driveway Jaws jumped of the car and ran to the door. Bella would always follow. My wife and I appreciated the care they received with the dog sitter.min_pins_at_play

A little over a year ago my wife and I noticed some behavioral changes with Bella and Jaws. Bella would start throwing up something yellow. We took her to the vet and after some analysis and $$$ we were told that on occasions dog eat something outside and they get sick. I would walk her and she would eat grass (news to me). After a day or two with both dogs on a chicken diet, she was fine.

Jaws started asking me to take him out to do his business more frequently than usual. He was also drinking a lot more water. Yes, we took him to the vet and after analysis and $$$ Jaws was diagnosed with start of diabetes. Both puppies switched to a special canned food diet which represented more $$$. They did not like it so much, so we added boiled chicken breast. My wife was never too fond of the dogs, but she did whatever it took (in this case cooking) to take care of them.

After more tests and $$$ Jaws required two shots of insulin a day. After his meals he would get pinched (injected) and received a treat. Bella also got a treat. It was funny because Jaws learned that after his meals he would get his medicine. As soon as he finished eating he would head to the safety of his kennel. I had to intercept and hold him until my wife would inject him. He always tried to bite her.

At the beginning of last spring, Jaws went down to my office to ask for me to take him out for a walk. He needed to go to do his business. He would go down. Jaws would ask me to pick him up so he could see what I was doing. I would put him down on the floor and he would run to the stairs and look back to verify that I would get up. Then he would run up the stairs and go to my bedroom for me to get on a shirt or sweater and take him out. On this specific time, as we went by the dining room, he could no longer wait and lifted his leg by the table. I just told him that he was fine. As I watched him pee I decided that he could no longer be with us. I had to take him out about once an hour to avoid accidents.

dog_sitter_signWe spoke with the dog sitter and made the necessary arrangements to have them live with her. She has the house set for dogs. She has a gate that they could go out to the fenced back yard when they need to do their business. Both Bella and Jaws enjoyed living with the pack of six. My wife and I would stop by now and then taking some special treats that we got at a specialty pet store.

After a few months we noticed that Jaws was not able to see well. As expected he was gradually losing his sight. The dog sitter was telling us that he was fine. I started doubting her. Things for Bella were not going well either. She was getting sick very often. She would get a diet of rice and chicken but issues would come back quite often.

During the past couple weeks the dog sitter contacted us on several occasions that Bella was not doing well. We called the vet and discussed what might be going on. That is when we found out that some breeders inbred the animals so much that just like humans, they become prone to many deadly issues.

The puppies had an appointment for yesterday. For the first time in about eight years I could not gather enough courage or strength to take them. I was raised by my parents to be very independent and self sufficient. I lived the death of a sister and both my parents. I attended the naval academy in Peru. I lived through the death of brothers in arms. I have several times been in urban and out at sea combat situations. Have never had an issue and have been able to handle myself very well. Yesterday all my experience and learning was useless. This is a reason why in the military you cannot serve next to family members.

At 10:30 AM my oldest son showed up at our place. My wife and he drove to the dog sitter and picked up both puppies. They took the dogs to their appointment. There was not much to think about Jaws. We knew this day was coming. They ran some tests on Bella. The results detected cancer, start of diabetes and some other disease. The final dreaded decision was made. The puppies were sedated. They got together face to face as they did when Bella first arrived home about seven years ago. At that time my son and wife were asked to leave the room.min_pin_at_vet

Back home, my granddaughters and son had things to do. My wife and I were left alone for a few hours. We cried and talked and cried. We both needed that time to get closure. She briefed me on the accounts at the vet office. We will receive the ashes of the puppies separate. We will get an urn and mix them. We agreed that they lived together and they should be together.

I believe that life is the most precious thing in the universe. We do not understand it and chances are that we never will. Science has taught us that we humans and most animals change their entire set of cells in about seven years. In other words you and I do not have the same body with we were born with. My wife and I do not believe in religion or god for that matter. That said; both my wife and I attended private schools run by religious (did not state Catholic or Jewish) people. Our sons attended a military Catholic school in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Our grandsons and granddaughters attend private Catholic schools. We believe that humans need to learn morals and values and pure religious education is a good way to get that done (at least during our lifetime).

boycott_breedersNo one knows what happens after we die. Death seems to be in all our futures. What counts is what we do for others while we are in this world. I am not going to go any further on what I do or do not believe. Perhaps I will cover that topic on a future entry. I just want to state that I know that Jaws and Bella were built with the same stuff (atoms, molecules and cells as you and me). We both live sharing similar feelings (and possibly thoughts). No one knows how different or similar we are. Treat humans and animals in a humane and dignified way. Do not buy pure bread dogs or support products or programs associated with them. It is inhuman and immoral what we humans have done to wolves in the past 15,000 years.dog_ashes_urn

Bella and Jaws Rest In Peace. You will be missed. Perhaps we will meet again in the future.

The Naïve American

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