My father lived alone, so I decided to buy him a little dog, something to look after and to love, take for walks and get a bit of exercise.
I got a shih tzu, they are good companion dogs and it was the only suitable breed the pet shop had. Before the day came to give him his gift I toilet trained the little thing, first getting him to do his biz on newspapers then moving the papers to the door then outside. He got the message eventually. When he had an accident he’d hide under the bed in shame and have to be coaxed out.
He was the perfect gift, my dad wasn’t parted from the dog till his death, 14 years later.
I inherited the now elderly dog. I was a bit resentful, I had a young family and enough problems, but the little dog got under my skin and became my favorite member of the house. Always pleased to see me, jumping up and running in circles when I walked in the door from work, always happy.
As he aged he wouldn’t be able to rush up to greet me, and had to be carried up and down the stairs, all he could do is push his head into me. The last night he lost the use of his back legs. It was time to let him go. I let him sleep on the bed with me that night.
Next morning I couldn’t find him. What broke my heart is he’d dragged himself off the bed in the night to do his biz on a old newspaper I’d casually discarded on the floor, but didn’t quite make it and left a puddle…then just like all those years ago, he crawled under the bed in shame and there he died.
If only I’d woken up and told him not to worry.
Dogs are more than just pets. They are family.
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