Sunday, February 17, 2013
Mika Louise, 1999?-2013
The day I have long dreaded has come. My darling brindle pit girl, Mika, died this morning around 6 a.m. Over the past year or so, she had been living the reduced life old age brings: she couldn't walk very far or very fast anymore (let alone run, her specialty for years). She had much less energy, she slept more, ate less. But it was the last few weeks where I knew her advanced age (13 years and change, but who really knew? — she was, of course, a rescue).
Early this morning, her weakened body - her rear legs had been giving way, and she had not eaten anything in three days - surrendered. As last night wore on, I knew today was going to be her last day. I kept my hands on her most all night, comforting her as I readied myself for the vet hospital to open at 8 a.m. But by 5 a.m., I could see that she was in distress. I called the emergency vet and bundled her in the car. She died en route, so that was a saving grace: I didn't have to make that decision. She went out on her own.
Mika was my first dog, and I marveled at her every move the way a child might marvel at a wild animal. Look — she's yawning! Isn't that adorable, how she rubs her snout with her paws! Watch her wipe her butt on the grass! How does she know to do these things? And of course I anthropomorphized her like crazy. She was like me, I was sure: sociable, but wanted her own quiet time (she was always ready to wind down after an evening of company). Knew her own mind. Self-reliant, like when she would jump on the counter to devour a whole baguette or quarter-pound of cheese. And above all things: resolute. I read this once about pit bulls — they can be resolute about being fierce, and equally resolute about being gentle.
Mika was resolute about everything to do with food and humans. Till last week, she was a tireless observer of humans preparing and eating food and (with luck) sharing any leftovers. When she was younger, her hallmark when hearing the doorbell was to run in circles till I opened the door, and then race down the steps to greet guests. They sometimes assumed she wanted to get out the gate and onto the street. Never! She wanted to guide them up the steps so they would come into our home to fuss over her and hang out with her. She loved nothing more than being underfoot with human friends.
I am going to need some time to understand that she's really gone. She won't be at the door. She won't be sleeping in in the mornings as I head to work. She won't be there to lick the plates. Perhaps in preparation for this awful day, I have already had dreams about Mika, so with luck she'll come back to me again that way.
Meanwhile, what I know to be true is this: She is the only creature who gave me joy every single day of our lives together. Which makes me think of Eugene O'Neill's famous "last will and testament" he wrote in the voice of his beloved dog Blemie: "It would be a poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again."
I hope to, sometime. But for now, what I said to her every day for 12 years holds: You're my Meeks. There is no other Meeks. There is only — Meeks. I love you so.
Posted by KVOX at 2/17/2013 08:57:00 AM