I want to honor him while he is still here, which will not be for long.
My pug Igor, has been a constant companion the last ten years, even after turning blind, and lately, developing a limp in his rear leg. He can no longer climb stairs and since my office is on the second floor, I've taken to working downstairs, carrying my laptop down and camping out with him in the living room or out back.
But when I was in LA last week, his problems became more apparent. He awoke one morning and lost his balance, and at the vet they discovered that his kidneys were failing. So he spent four days having them flushed, and when he got back home, suddenly he could no longer stand–his back legs were stiff and gimpy and after a moment or two of struggle he'd collapse again. When I got home from the airport on Saturday night, I flung myself on the floor beside him and he told me, in dog vocalizations, how awful it had all been. Then he licked my face and hands until I was as slobbery as a little kid's popsicle.
When my Mom died a couple months ago, we had an amazing Celebration of Life for her. It was the kind of thing that was so positive and life-affirming and wonderful that people said, "too bad we didn't do this when she was alive." But the thing is, we did–we had a blow-out party for her 90th birthday two years ago and everyone who had ever loved her came and celebrated her.
So I'm celebrating Igor, even though he is not long for this world.
We got him by answering an ad in the paper. We drove way out into the country west of Portland, finding our way to a double-wide trail in the midst of a muddy field. Inside there was a big box of pug puppies on the living floor. Four males were left from the litter and one of them jumped up as soon as we came in the room, wagged his tail and wimpered. He was about twice the size of the other puppies and he wouldn't stop trying to get his attention. I plucked him from the box and said, "We want this one." So it really was a case of Igor choosing us more than we choosing him. And we've never regretted it–he's been the best dog ever, bar none. When he was a puppy he terrorized us all by rocketing around the backyard and he was a constant source of comic relief and entertainment. In recent years he grew quite sedate, but was no less loving. He quieted down and grew wisdom.
Every writer needs a dog. A creature to lie at your feet as you work at your computer, an animal you can talk to when you need plot help. A canine to get you out of the house and away from the desk once in awhile. Igor has done all this for me and more.
And so I honor him while he's still here. I lie on the floor next to him and tell him what a great dog he is and how much we all love him. I feel his amazing energy and pet him and kiss him. I love him so much and I'm going to miss him so much, I know. I'm just grateful we have had him for as long as we have.