July 31, 1999

I don't know how to say this, except to plow ahead. We lost Mike tha Dog this morning -- thankfully peacefully in his sleep.

I knew Thursday night something was very wrong. We did all we could and he seemed to have an o.k. night, but collapsed when we took him out yesterday morning before we could get him to the vet. Apparently all 3 of my boys were exposed to a parasite (Muffin and Foxy are being treated as well, but neither of them got nearly as sick as Mike did). Mike was just too old to successfully fight it off and withstand the treatment. He didn't suffer --they thought late yesterday that he would be ok. I was able to go in and see him, hug him, love on him and explain to him that he had to stay all night because Doc (our vet, Dr. Acre) said so [tail went thump, thump - as far as Mike was concerned, Doc was a "favrit peepul"]. Then I looked at what they fed him and Mike and I agreed it wasn't worth eating. Doc later encouraged me to bring in what I'd made to tempt Mikey to eat.

Doc thinks there may have been further damage to his liver/kidneys (which we already knew were his weak spots) and he just suddenly took a turn for the worse and he literally just slipped away quietly and peacefully in his sleep this morning.

Doc called us and we were able to bring him home to say goodbye and put him in the "family plot" (technically illegal here in Florida) but arrest me -- I think it was important for all 4 of us to be able to say goodbye.

But, I must be thankful too -- Mike didn't suffer. In the past couple of years, Mike's become a really "old" dog. 12 is a respectable age for a 45 pound dog and he enjoyed EVERY single day! I was afraid he'd get sick and die by inches, but he didn't and I'll ever be grateful for that.

Mike loved all his email -- I used to read every single one to him. HE LOVED it! He had tons of "storees" and will always be known in our house as "the great communicator".

He could as easily and clearly tell you "to go pound salt"as he could tell you how happy he was. If someone had to go "out"-- it was Mike who would come find Mom or Dad and bring them hither! If someone had to go out at night, it was Mike who woke us up. Somehow, he perceived that as "his job". If the waterbowl was empty, or it was TIME to eat, or Sunday morning time for bagels -- Mike saw to it that we were told! He had this way of padding out and sitting in front of you quite deliberately-- tilting his head and just LOOKING at you. You'd say "Whatis it Mike, SHOW me" -- and he WOULD! To the bowl, or his nose to the door -- that's it! I've seen many times, when Mike would tell us to open the door - and it was Foxy who would RACE OUT with his eyes crossed. Mike would sometimes just look up at you as if to say, "yeah -- HE really had to go! Thanks!"

Mike's charm was his "ordinaryness". That's not a negative at all. He was, in every sense, "a dog". I've had dogs convinced they were "people". Mike felt sorry for them. He LIKED being a dog. He wasn't a "furniture" dog. Hewas a "sprawl out in front of the front door on the cool wood floor" kinda dog. He liked to kind of lay back and just be "with" everyone. He had no particular favorites. He liked EVERYONE. He'd been my dog for years before David came here and we married. But Mike respected him and welcomed him with open paws. I did a bit of reminiscing with Mike when I saw him yesterday -- reminding him he'd seen the worst of times with me and lived through them, but all the way to the BEST of times, knowing we were all happy and well-cared for now. He just thumped his tail a little tiny bit in agreement.

I'm gonna miss him - oh my, how I'll miss him. There'll be no one to remind me it's time for everyone's "messinines"(medicines) or David that Monday and Thursday nights are "trash nite" and "isnt' it time yet?". The floor in front of the door is going to look terribly bare. My heart has a Mike-sized hole in it, but with his storeees, he'll live on. Gosh, I'm glad I knew him. I'm glad I got to love him and I'm so glad he loved me.

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