This is the post that no pet parent wants to make, but we all know we will. This is the story of our beautiful pug. Our Dori.
And it is written in the past tense.
We knew this day was coming. Dori, nearly 16 years old, suffered from a collapsed trachea, and the past year has been very hard. We had tried everything: from breathing surgeries, medications, herbs, oils, and acupuncture. Some of it helped, but it was short lived and the symptoms would often come back worse than before.
We knew this day was coming, we knew we were at this point, but we kept waiting and putting off “the decision.” We never thought a miracle cure would happen. We just thought we could just keep going. We did it selfishly. She was still alive, and we could still hold her and have her there. Forget that she seemed so uncomfortable, and could no longer do many of her favorite things. She was there.
Dori was the first animal-child (because our animals are our children) that Nick and I had together. I will never forget how we became her parents, because I love her story.
I had wanted a dog for awhile, and Nick finally agreed. It was 2011, and we had just closed a very stressful failed restaurant. We needed a distraction, and a dog was the perfect way.
I researched my “perfect” little puppy, and decided on a little white maltipoo. She would be tiny and fancy…and I would call her “Napa.”
We picked her out, from pictures from a fancy breeder, and waited until she was old enough to come home. Yep, 2 weeks and my perfect dog would be home.
But, life had a little curveball…
Dori belonged to Nick’s daughter. She was going through a lot and couldn’t take care of her anymore. She was going to have to abandon her, or take her to a shelter. Nick knew and loved Dori, I really didn’t. She was ok…but she was already named, was a pug, and just didn’t fit my snotty little perfect box. He didn’t really care. He was not about to let anything happen to her, and decided to take her.
“Absolutely NOT” I told him when he told me he was going to get her.
I was FINALLY about to get my “dream” puppy and now I was getting a snoring chubby pug. Are you kidding me?
“We are taking her,” Nick said. “We can find her another home, but we are taking her right now.”
I was in a huff, and waited for him to get her and bring her back. When she got home, she immediately jumped up and came over to my lap. As mad as I was, I began petting her. She cuddled with me and licked me. I sat there with her for awhile. My whole world changed. I saw something so different. I saw a beautiful soul. A precious heart that immediately loved me.
“We have two dogs” I said. And it was that day that I became a mother.
We spent the next two weeks having the best time. I took her to bars around Ft Lauderdale, for happy hour. We went to concerts, brunch, and ice cream. We had our picture taken for a magazine. She was fabulous and I loved every second with her.
Then Napa came. From the moment Dori met Napa, they were instantly inseparable. Best friends. Sisters. I will never forget the day we picked Napa up. Dori went over to sniff the cage, and out popped this little white paw. The first family member Napa ever met was Dori.
They were instantly attached.
I did everything with my two girls. AirTran airlines, and later Southwest, even let me fly with both of them. We were always going somewhere…and sometimes we brought Nick, lol.
The night we drove to the emergency vet, our last ride together, her many travels came back to me. Sweet little Dori had seen the world. To be honest, she traveled more than most people, and had experiences everywhere she went. She lunched at the Ivy, in Beverly Hills; became overheated in New Orleans and was given water from a movie set that was filming; she swam in the bathtub at the Ritz Carlton in New York City; she was “mobbed” in Puerto Rico by kids who thought she was in the movies; she peed in the vineyard at Opus, in Napa Valley. She ate cheese all over France and picnicked in front of the Eiffel Tower. She climbed those lovely million year old steps Europe is famous for. It was hard, but she did it! And she smiled after. She loved to smile.
I remember when we took her to a Marlins game, for pup night, and they put her on TV. Everyone loved Dori.
The last year has been hard. We moved, and the change was hard for her. She couldn’t see, hear or walk well. We were busy, and at times our patience were not what she deserved. But we loved her. We couldn’t bare to lose her. So we hung on. The “goals” became closer and closer together: get her to her 15th birthday (October), to Christmas, to summer,… to the weekend.
We knew it was coming.
The night she passed, I will never forget. It was horrible watching her suffer. We would get pockets of relief and feel like we could breath, and then she would start gasping again. Our Napa, her Napa, stayed by her side. The turning point was when Napa got right up to her face, and then she had a seizure. Napa knew. We knew. Vino, our baby, was scared, but he knew too.
Nick and I took her to the hospital. It wasn’t the send off we planned or wanted, but she couldn’t suffer anymore.
At the hospital they couldn’t even put us in a room because she had to stay hooked up to oxygen. They let Nick and I stay with her, in the middle of the emergency room. Hustle and bustle all around, but we were with her.
After, we held her. I took her in a private room and just rocked her. My sweet baby. I thanked her for making me a mom and giving me a family. I thanked her for her patience…for her companionship…and most of all, her love.
Our Dori…my LeeLee…was special.
My cooking buddy. My fine dining superstar. My cuddle monster.
Thank you for every moment, Dori. We love you.