dys·func·tion /dɪsˈfʌŋkʃən/ [dis-fuhngk-shuhn]–noun 1. Medicine/Medical . malfunctioning, as of an organ or structure of the body. 2. any malfunctioning part or element: the dysfunctions of the country's economy. 3. Sociology . a consequence of a social practice or behavior pattern that undermines the stability of a social system.
Monday, December 13, 2010
It was 1995.
I was just a little dysfunction living at home with Dad and Mom and Brother.
We had decided to get a dog.
We picked him out of a litter of pudgy fur balls.
We named him Merlin.
(Sorry for the crappy photos...I was 7. Give me a break)
Merlin was half Black Labrador, half German Sheppherd, and he was smart.
He was the easiest dog to train, and he was full of love. He would stand up to give you a hug, but keep all of his weight on his back legs so he wouldn't knock you over. He was protective, and goofy, and best of all he would eat the food that Brother and I would toss off our plates during meal time.
Dad and Merlin would share popsicles during the summer.
He had his own stocking for Christmas, and he loved to open presents.
Merlin would bark once at the back door every time he had to go out, but other than that (or intruders) he was quiet.
One day someone poisoned him.
The bad area that I lived in at the time had a sudden attack on dogs. Someone was poisoning sausages with antifreeze and tossing them over fences so dogs would eat them.
The poison affected Merlin's brain and he developed Canine Epilepsy. He would have uncontrollable seizures, forgot who and where he was, and lose control of his bladder and bowels.
It tore us apart.
He went into a seizure one morning that he couldn't come out of. My parents gathered Brother and I from school and we all took the long car ride to the vet.
Merlin was put down just before his fifth birthday.
I sobbed hysterically for two straight days, and my eleven year old self swore that if I ever found out who poisoned him, I would kill them.
Our lives were very lonely without Merlin. Brother and I would come home from school every day to silence. There were no cuddles on the floor or games of fetch.
We were a dog family, with no dog.
In May of 2000 we adopted another puppy.
A ten week old, big-pawed goofball.
We named him Balto.
Balto was half Australian Sheppherd, half Husky, and when he was a puppy he would never bark.
By nature, Huskies howl, so Balto would howl/"talk" when he wanted to make himself heard.
He was the biggest suck on the face of the planet. He would follow the family around and lie on your feet; he would whine outside of doors to be let in; and he would sit almost on top of you on the couch, to ensure he got the seat next to you.
Balto would 'knock' on the back door with his paw to be let out, and developed quite the love of opening presents on Christmas as well.
When he was a puppy he developed a hemotoma (a pocket of blood in the ear, due to the ear's inability to bruise properly) that caused one of his pointy ears to flop over from the weight. After it was drained, he chose to leave it down...it gave himcharacter.
Later on, he developed a hemotoma in the other ear, and when it too collapsed from the weight, Balto perked his first ear back up. After the second ear was drained Balto would choose which ear he wanted up, and which ear he wanted down, it was amazing and endearing.
I trained Balto to roll over, sit like a meer cat, and stay with a treat on his nose; I trained him to sit next to my dinner on the floor, and never ever touch it. I moved out of my parent's house, but Balto never forgot me. Not for a second. The sound of my voice was instantly calming to him, and he warmed up to my babies (despite being unsure what they were).
On December 7th 2010, at the age of 10 -almost 11-Balto decided it was time to leave the world.
He was still as kind and lovable as he was the first day we brought him home.
When I was told of his deteriorating health, I choked up a little, and I wondered if I would hurt the same way I hurt with Merlin because I no longer lived with Balto...I didn't see him every day.
I got the news that Balto had passed, and after the girls went to bed I sobbed.
I told Boyfriend every happy, goofy memory I could think of and I cried.
And it felt good.
Christmas will be a little sad this year, because this will be the first Christmas in 15 years that there will be no puppy opening presents along side us, but in the end...