Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Memories of Moxie

It's over. We said goodbye to Moxie the pug tonight. She was the last surviving dog of the three we adopted from the pug rescue group seven years ago, when she was eight-years-old.

She would have been fifteen this year.

Domestic Partner and I took her on that "last trip to the vet" tonight. I am grateful that she went quietly and quickly, thankful that we had that option. I am especially grateful that Moxie deteriorated so naturally and gradually in the last few months. Except for the last week, she had regular appetite and regular trips to the backyard, sometimes even making it on her own, still, on her frail, functioning legs.

She was a feisty one. She used to bully Prudence, pushing her around sometimes during walks and meals. We had to watch them when they ate. Moxie-the-gobbler would always finish first and try to bulldoze her way into Prudence's food dish. At the adoption fair Moxie and Prudence were one of the pug pairs that needed to be placed together, and we went in knowing that we wanted two. Oscar, the 12-year-old male, also at the pug rescue event, was given to us for free.

Moxie was called "Curly" when we adopted her. We were instructed not to change any names since the dogs had been through so many changes already, from the homes of their original owners to foster homes. Domestic Partner and I had always talked about naming a pug "Moxie" someday, specifically a black, female pug. So we broke that rule.

It was the perfect name for our feisty, bitchy darling. Every time we walked in the door she would assail us with energetic barks, as if to scold us for leaving her alone for so long, or to demand to be fed. She was very sweet, too, especially when she was asleep, or just cuddling next to us on the couch.

I will miss her. There were a few tears at the vet clinic tonight, but not as much when we lost our "only child," Caesar, a few years ago. It was a little easier this time, knowing that Moxie had more of a fair shot at living out her life completely. In addition to a decrease in appetite and losing strength in her hind legs, Moxie even stopped drinking water today, so we knew it was time.

"Are you guys going to get another dog?" people constantly asked us, even when our elderly dogs were still alive and in good health. We always say that we're going to take a break, even though they usually end up being famous last words. But this time I think we mean it. It will be easier to follow through this time because we still have a young, affectionate kitty who snuggles in bed with us while the nights are still chilly.

But I'll never forget Moxie, or her sister Prudence, or old man Oscar. I miss Caesar every day. He was the First and Best Pug, the one with whom I had the strongest bond. And I cherish the memories of all the family dogs before Caesar.

I don't know how it works, this life-after-death thing, but I sincerely hope I'll be reunited with the energy that was/is Caesar and all of the other beloved pets.

I'll miss you, Moxie, my surrogate child. And just like the others that have gone on before you, I will love you always. Find Prudence and Oscar, and maybe you'll get to meet Caesar.

Use some of that feisty bitchiness to put in a good word for me up there.