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Friday, September 29, 2006

Penny

Please raise a glass for our wonderful dog, Penny. She was a very sweet, very tough old girl, but after years of gradually losing mobility from hip displacement she went into a sharp decline starting about two weeks ago and got worse and worse very fast. She was in chronic pain from her hips, and so was on increasingly huge doses of medications to make her comfortable and keep her able to walk--but in turn those meds were destroying her liver and making her really, really sick. We knew she was in trouble when she suddenly stopped being able to go on walks with our other dog (she'd make it to the end of the block and collapse, and I'd have to carry her home--she weighed about 60 pounds), and then on Tuesday she stopped being able to walk at all by herself and was vomiting uncontrollably. She went into the vet's on Wednesday morning and stayed there overnight for observation, and when we went to get her yesterday evening she was so weak and miserable and her prognosis so bad that we accepted the vet's advice and had her euthanized. It was hard to see her go like this--as of two weeks ago she was still her normal self, and it's as if she just sort of fell apart all of the sudden.

Penny was already an old dog when we got her from the pound, and had apparently been through a lot. She wound up in the pound because she was one of the dogs that a woman had "hoarded," as they say--this lady had started out as a rescuer, specializing in pit bulls, but had stopped placing her dogs in homes and started keeping them for herself. By the time animal control caught up with her she had about eighty dogs crammed into a two-bedroom house in Glendale. They were stacked on top of each other in those portable dog carrier things, and (as the lady had skipped town just prior to her arrest) had been left without food or water for four days in the middle of summer, in 100+ temperatures without air conditioning.

We don't know how long Penny had to live in the carrier, or what her life was like before she'd been "rescued" by the hoarder, but it didn't really seem to affect her disposition much. She wasn't skittish or squirrly (although she didn't like to be walked by anyone except Mary or me) and was downright calm and easygoing all of the time. In fact, I didn't even see her at first when we visited the pound, as she was basically the only dog in the whole place who wasn't trying to leap out of its cage and devour us and our other dog. When I finally spotted her she just got up nonchalantly and kinda sidled up to the edge of the cage so I could scratch her through the bars. I knew right then we were taking her home.

It's really, really quiet in the house without her now. She was a real doggy dog--she smelled bad, she farted (a lot), she snored, she groomed her genitals loudly, she would get up multiple times in the middle of the night to go tapping across the living room with her nails, she ate feces. I mean she was disgusting, really. And she was clever: once I was walking her and looked down to see that she had half a sandwich in her mouth--where she got it, I have no idea. On her last good day, last Sunday, when she was still pretty much herself, she stole and ate half a pizza off of a card table when we weren't looking. I was proud of her, and I'm glad she got it.

Goodbye, Penny. I miss you.

(note: I gotta scan her picture. I'll put it up here as soon as I can).

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