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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Farewell, sweet Prince

R.I.P., Prince
Beloved friend and family member

Sad, sad weekend in my household. On Sunday, we said goodbye to a dear, dear friend and family member.

Prince showed up in our neighborhood about 10 years ago. He was a sweet, sweet dog who seemed to take a liking to my front porch. Back when I still smoked, I would go out onto the porch for my before-bed cigarette and there he'd be, sleeping in the corner.

I didn't realize it at the time, but he kept coming back to my front porch because my kids were putting food out for him.

This went on for a couple weeks, maybe a little longer. He was just the cute, sweet, stray dog who showed up on my porch every night. Then came the December day when the weatherman forecast the nighttime low to drop below 30 degrees. I couldn't bear the idea of the sweet little dog left out in the cold, so I brought him into my house.

He promptly wedged himself beneath our Christmas tree, knocking ornaments this way and that.

A couple days later, Animal Control knocked on my door. Apparently, another neighbor had called them to pick up the dog, and had told them he was last seen at my house. By then, Prince was living in my backyard with our other dog, so I sent Animal Control away, telling them to contact me if anybody came looking for their lost dog. The officer took my number, thanked me profusely (Animal Control was pretty full), and left. That was the last we heard from them.

When we took Prince to the vet, we were told the sweet dog had probably been abandoned, since he tested positive for heartworms. Of course the vet recommended we have him treated, as he probably wouldn't live very long otherwise. Sadly, we didn't have a spare $700 laying around, so we figured we'd keep him comfortable and happy. At least now he'd have available food, fresh water, and a warm place to sleep to live out his days.

That was around ten years ago.

I guess the heartworms finally got him. And old age--our best guess is he lived to be about 12-14 years old. Arthritis made it hard for him to get around. We found him on the back patio. Maybe he'd been sunning himself. That's what I'm trying to convince myself. He knew his time was upon him, and he wanted to enjoy the warmth of the sun one last time.

Now he's in doggie heaven. He's pain-free and able to run like he used to. He has all the toys he wants. There are no more heartworms making breathing and life in general difficult. That's my dream. That sweet Prince is pain-free and happy and barking at the sky like he used to.

Goodbye sweet Prince. We weren't your first family, but I hope you knew how much we loved you. How much we still love you. Rest in peace.