Tuesday, September 08, 2009

RIP Junebug

Yesterday we had to put Junebug to sleep. It was something that we knew we would probably have to do before too long. She was 12 1/2, and in addition to being deaf, she had very arthritic back legs, to the point that she was having trouble standing, and climbing stairs. She had also started losing her house training. Still, the end was unexpected when it happened.*

I'm not going to remember Junebug as my favorite dog. She was a pain in the ass, plain and simple. We got her from the pound, where she had been staying with a foster parent, her second one. We were told she was house trained, and while that might have been true, the separation anxiety she felt when the foster parent left overwhelmed everything else. In addition to going to the bathroom, she destroyed carpet and anything else in her path. We tried keeping her in a crate during the day, but she was so freaked out that she broke out by overcoming the soldering, earning the nickname Houndini. And so the destruction continued. Kathy and I alternated as far as wanting to get rid of her, never both agreeing to it at the same time. Despite the burden she placed on us, we didn't feel comfortable with what it would mean to Junebug to leave her abandoned one more time.

We hired Bryce as our dog walker to help reduce the time Junebug was left humanless. And over time Junebug grew more comfortable with us. The messes happened less frequently, though we were reminded not to leave food or hardback books within her reach. And her reach was legendary -- anything on a kitchen counter was fair game, and she learned to open cupboards and drawers. Bryce wanted to install a camera just to see how she got to some of the things she did -- once at Bryce's, she got into bread that was two shelves above counter height. Houndini indeed.

One of the reasons we kept Junebug in those early days was because she had such a sweet disposition. Truly. And when she was young and mobile, it was a joy to see her when she was running, be it on the beach, in the snow, or in a field. It was there that one really saw her at her happiest. And we grew to love her in spite of the difficulties she presented, because after all, all she really wanted was a little bit of loving. And when you get down to it, that's not so unreasonable.

* - I don't want to dwell on the end, but for anyone who wants such details, here you go.