He wasn't my pet, he was my son
I would like to tell you the story of a most beloved family member named Pete. He was and always will be my baby, even in Heaven.
In 1995 he seemed so tiny next to the huge black lab we were used to at the time, although he was already 4 years old. His little legs were so stubby and his body seemed overly long even for a daschound. We always referred to him as a Pikaweinnie because he was mixed with Pekignese. He had the long body, short legs and bright red color of the daschound but he had the shorter nose (sort of half and half) and a really stocky build like the Pekignese, Everyone always thought he was just a really fat wiennie dog. But he was always gorgeous!
He was really shy when we first got him but with a lot of love (and hot dogs tossed under the couch to him) he eventually came around and became a really outgoing and playful pet. So much so that he never knew he was a d-o-g. We called him our son and that is how we thought of him. We just became closer and closer as time went by. Although he was given to my youngest daughter, she was gone so much with school and being a teenager at the time that pretty soon he became a Mama's boy.
Eventually we would go out on the road in a big truck for 6 years of traveling and he fit right in to that life. He loved every minute of it, especially since he was with both Mama and Daddy 24/7 year round. He was really good on the road and never any trouble at all for us. We actually would have been lost without him with us.
It seems like the years just flew past and our time with him was priceless. After 11 years with us, Pete was beginning to slow down a lot. But he could still follow behind Mama every step to be sure exactly where I was at all times. And I knew that no matter how mild tempered he was that there wasn't a soul that would ever try to harm me as long as he was near.
During the summer of 2006, when Pete was 15, I was heading home after a visit at my Mom's house. When I turned onto the back road, I saw something in the middle of my lane. It was a Pug. Just sitting in the middle of the road looking at me. My oldest daughter was with me and I told her we should get him and take him to his owner before he got run over. We got out and he came straight to my daughter and we got in the truck to go find his owner. He hopped right over in my lap as if he had known me forever. And so we searched.....and searched.....and searched....every house in the area and then some. Nobody claimed him. We went home and made calls to people we knew living in and around that area asking if they knew anything about him. Nobody did. We tried flyers, listed him on the radio with our phone number and nobody called. After about a month, we finally gave up and decided he was here to stay.
I did NOT want another animal at all. No dog, no cat, nothing. Pete was all I wanted but there we were.....stuck with Pug and by then beginning to get pretty attatched. We never could find out who he belonged to or where he had came from. It was like he just appeared from the Heavens into the road in front of us. Now, I am beginning to think that is exactly what happened and also beginning to understand why.
About 6 months later, Pete started getting sick and we found out that he had congestive heart failure. We were told that normally this condition is fatal within 3 months after they get it. The vet wanted to put him to sleep then. But I told my husband that after all those years I just HAD to at least get a second opinion. He just didn't seem to be suffering at all and was just the happy-go-lucky Pete we have always known. I took him to the Greenwood Animal hospital and the vet there was amazing! He said he was in no way ready to put him to sleep! He started him on heart medication to slow his heart rate down since it was beating so fast it was overworking and also gave him fluid tablets to help with the fluid build-up. That lasted almost a year!
Finally the fluid was building up so fast that the fluid pills couldn't keep up with it and the vet said he was going to do a procedure in which he would drain some of the fluid off. However, that in itself was risky because the fluid contained vitamins and protiens that his body needed and the sudden loss of it could cause him to go into shock and defib. But at least if that happened, we could both know that he had done everything he could to help him. I agreed and took him for his first treatment. They got 300 cc's of fluid that day and Pete did pretty well with it. By the next day he was breathing easier, more energetic and doing well. I took him back the following week for his second treatment which also went well. The next was to be in 2 weeks rather than a week.
One week to the day he began to regurgitate so much fluid that it looked like a bucket full had projected and he was trying to go into seizures. I called the vet, knowing deep down what he was about to tell me. My deepest fear had come true and it was time. There was nothing else that could be done and he would begin to lose his major organ functions and suffer tremendous pain. My heart began to break as I knew that it would when that day came. But I knew that Pete was ready now. He had been refusing to take his medicine for the past week and I knew that the time was close. I made the calls I needed to make to my husband and the two girls to let them know that we were heading to the vet's office. My Mom came right over to check on him, even though we had plenty of time to get there by the appointment time. I knew and still know that it was the right thing to do. But still my heart aches beyond explaination.
It was very peaceful and Pete was very calm. He knew Mama and Mamaw were there with him and he was ready. Probably a lot more ready than I was. The hole I feel in my heart can never be filled. It can never be eased. And he can never be replaced. However, having Pug here does help with a void in my life and I know he will always be under foot every step I take, just like old Pete. You see, I didn't WANT another pet. God knew that I was honest about that. But God also knew that even though I did't WANT Pug, I was gonna NEED him and I truly believe that he placed him in the road that day for that purpose. He knew that I would not be able to handle losing Pete alone and I would need Pug to help fill a void that only a family pet can fill.
I miss him so much I ache! Nothing can stop that. He was such a blessing to us for 12 years and I am so grateful for all of the great memories we have with him! That is something that will live forever in my heart as if it were yesterday. I have my days that I do well for a while. Then I just have to cry to relieve some of the aching inside my heart. That will probably continue for quite a while yet. But the memories we have with Pete will remain and I know that he is in Heaven with his Papaw waiting for Mama and Daddy to come through those gates where he will greet us bouncing up and down and squeaking to the top of his lungs from excitement like he did for so many years every time we walked through the door.
May God keep you in his arms, my sweet, beloved Pete until the day that we meet again and will be together for eternity! I love you with all my heart, and you'll always be Mama's sweet, sweet man! Rest peacefully and know that I will see you again! Miss you, sweetie!