Pion Ista “tinydog” Gritter, 2005-2021

Over the years this blog has shifted focus away from life stuff and toward…well, mostly books and poems. But occasionally a life thing is big and needs saying.

My dog died yesterday.

She would have been 16 in April. She had probably 14.5 years of being quite healthy and energetic, a year or so of having some arthritis and being a little more fragile, and then the last half year she was clearly an elderly dog. We couldn’t let her go up and down the stairs any more–she sometimes fell, and it was only a matter of time until one of the falls hurt her if we’d let them continue. So we were blocking off the top or bottom of the stairs, depending, and carrying her up and down. A friend made her raised bowls to help with her arthritis, and we were feeding her soft food. We were doing all we could for her, and in the last few months I started thinking, maybe we should get old dogs from now on, we’re really good at care for them.

I don’t think that now. Because the care for them is not all there is, there’s also losing them, and I don’t think I could bear going through this over and over again without the springy young dog stages in between.

She was so smart. She was such a smart dog, and she was so communicative. And she was so loving. Toward the end, basically the only thing she wanted was to cuddle, and we did that a lot. We did that a lot.

I don’t know how my days will be without this sweet little opinionated old lady dog. I have so much more to say about her. I wish I had so much more time with her.

Adventures in doggishness.

So yesterday afternoon Ista was worrying at her right front leg, and when we looked at it, we saw that she had scraped it on something in the back yard severely enough that there was a triangular flap of skin torn back. And she was not leaving it alone. Not a source of great worry, but also not something that could just be left. So Mark and I bundled ourselves into the car and went off to the emergency vet with her.

People. The emergency vet is not where you want to be late in the afternoon the Sunday before Christmas. I mean, really, the emergency vet is no fun in general. No one is there to get routine shots for their perfectly healthy puppy. The general take-home lesson of the emergency vet the Sunday before Christmas is: for the love of Pete keep your dog away from the chocolate. The place was quite full, mostly with dogs who had eaten lots of chocolate when their humans were out shoveling or otherwise occupied.

We waited for an hour and a half before we got into a room. In that time, we saw a family–mother and dad and little girl–whose dog did not make it. That was pretty horrible. Anyway, they got us roomed, and another half-hour later, Mark and I got sent off to get dinner while they waited for a chance to sew her up. No general needed, just a local. But we called to make sure that they were done, and sure enough, they weren’t, so…all in all, Ista spent four hours at the vet yesterday, Mark and I about two and a half.

It’s amazing how people who can talk for hours under other circumstances have a much, much harder time of it in a vet ER with a stressed and injured dog.

Ista’s bandage is off, though the sutures will stay in 10-14 days. She is worrying at them, so we have her in the cone of shame. Oh the displeased poodle. Oh the injured dignity. She’s already managed to get it off twice, so when we don’t have another focus I think we’re going to have to try to sit with her and get her used to the sutures and not licking/biting them, because the cone is not seeming like it’s going to work as a sole solution to this problem.

So. Not the blog post I’d intended to make–stay tuned for character expectations and competences–and not the Sunday evening I’d intended to have, but we’re all fine. Even if one of us is also pretty annoyed with the cone.