This coming Friday (on Jerry’s birthday unfortunately 10-13), marks 1 year since we made the difficult decision to put our precious Minnie (our 13 year old Pomeranian) to sleep after a short and sudden decline.
We had taken her to the vet 3 times in 5 days and I finally insisted on an X-ray and before the vet could even tell me what was wrong, I knew it. She had growths that had spread everywhere and that explained her not drinking, eating and throwing up when I had tried to make her something special (chicken broth and eggs). Connor was with me at the vet and he was only 3 and a few months old at the time. I openly displayed my emotions and told him the truth. Even if he did not fully accept what was going on, we are still thankful we involved him in the entire process.
The vet gave her a shot to make her comfortable because it was clear she was in distress and he asked me what I wanted to do. And here comes the difficult and controversial part – do we keep her comfortable at home until she does pass or do we humanely help ease her suffering?
Having worked as a hospice social worker before becoming a stay at home parent, the decision was easy for me (and Jerry). While I believe in comfort and being pain free at end of life, I also believe physician assisted suicide should also be legal in every state for whomever is able to make that decision for themselves. Jerry and I decided we didn’t want her to suffer and maybe there was a little selfishness involved; we couldn’t give her the time and attention we would want to at the end because we still had to be fully present with Connor, too.
We don’t regret doing what we did because we were all there together when it happened, surrounding her and I was kissing and petting her as she drifted off to sleep.
In the last year we have talked about her often; sharing memories with Connor every time he says he misses her. We have really kept her memory very much alive and I think that’s the best thing you can do with anyone you love who passes – keep them close and never stop thinking about them or talking about them.
When Jerry and I met, I had a male Pomeranian, Max (3) I had recently rescued (bless his heart – he was an aggressive territorial little guy who always peed in the house no matter what we did. But if it wasn’t for him barking at Jerry when he was walking his roommate’s dog, we would have never met)! Jerry and I had been together 6 months when we decided to look for another dog. My stepdad knew someone who knew someone who needed to re-home a 2 year old female Pom. We briefly talked on the phone with the family who was fostering her until they could find her forever home. We saw one photo (she looked like an adorable tiny red fox) and we decided we definitely wanted to add her to our family. Jerry drove from Kentucky to Ohio to get her and he brought her home to us. Everyday thereafter, we would worship Mrs. Minnie Minkins aka Skinsy Minsy.
Jerry and I have so many hilarious stories about Minnie. Like how we used to sneak her into hotels in suitcases so she could stay with us (we thought she was too much of a princess to put in a kennel when we would put our other two dogs together in one – Max and we had adopted an 8 year old husky, Chloe…both passed some time before Connor was born). But anyhow, we also had our own “Minnie language” and “mins” words we made up. “Minslarious…(hilarious)….”riminsulous” (ridiculous)
When Jerry and I finished school and I got a job in Eastern Kentucky, we were all separated Monday-Friday for 4 months until Jerry and our other two dogs moved to be with us. Minnie kept me company during the week and on the 2 hour drive back and forth. I rented a little above garage 1 bedroom apartment during that time and I knew she was the only one who could hold her bladder if needed (with me being on the road in and out of people’s homes and facilities I really never knew what hours I would keep). All I did those 4 months was work and go back home on the weekends and I was always so thankful she was always by my side during that transition.
Our most favorite joint Minnie memory pre-Connor is every time she would finally decide to crawl out from the bed (her hiding space) and grace us with her prescience, we would sing, “there she is….Miss Aminsica” (there she is, miss America!”
Minnie always tolerated Connor very well but we can’t say she ever truly cared to be messed much with by him! Connor loved to bring her in the bike trailer with him and she did really well with it; only one time did she actually jump out and take off (Jerry said he had never seen her run faster than that time)! He also liked her to be inside other items with him: the wagon, laundry baskets, boxes…you name it, he probably tried it!
I really treasured the last few years of Minnie’s life. They were the most difficult for me post-partum but I also cherished a the times she snuggles up with us while Connor was breastfeeding.