3.01.2020

Rest in Peace, Studio Dog.

Studio Dog goes into the Great Unknown.
Feb. 29, 2020.

Studio Dog's real name was Tulip. That's the name that came attached to her from the foster parents who nursed her back to health when she was a tiny puppy rescued dog. We fell in love with her immediately. Over the last twelve years she guarded our home, nurtured our son from an unsure pre-teen to a smart and bold adult. She slept with him on his bed every night that he was home, even after college. She lavished him with unconditional love every time she saw him. 

Tulip had a strong amount of terrier in her genes so she was stubborn and opinionated. In all of her twelve years with us she never fought with another dog, never bit anybody and never failed to deliver maximum affection to her small and devoted pack (us). It seems strange to describe her as witty and charming but she was a very, very special dog. People would meet her out in the neighborhood, take one look at her beautiful brown eyes and their hearts would melt.

She saw me through a devastating bout of anxiety years ago by greeting me every time I came home and shepherding me to get out and do things (mostly walks with her) instead of moping around the house. She was the first person I greeted on arriving back home and I always explained to her where I was going and when I would be back if I was leaving the house. She seemed to understand.

Later in life she kept Belinda and I good company as we became empty nesters and Ben went far away to college. She had her place on the couch when we watched movies and she moved one of her beds next to my place at the dining room table just in case a tasty scrap happened to fall on the floor... She parked herself next to my desk in the office and reminded me how important it was to take breaks. After my father died she pushed me to work a bit less and nap a bit more in the afternoon. At every nap she  spent the time with all four paws touching me. Holding me in place.

We discovered several years ago that she had a congenital heart murmur and we had been treating her for that with medication. Recently she started to tire easily on relatively short walks and we consulted with her vet. The vet didn't sugar coat the bad news; Tulip's heart rate was abnormally fast and irregular.  We escalated to a canine cardiologist who did an EKG and a Echocariogram and suggested other medications. She didn't tolerate them well and was declining quickly. Her breathing was labored. Walking, even through her back yard, was a becoming an ever bigger effort.

We spent the last week trying to create a little "heaven on earth" for Tulip. Ben came over to the house daily, for hours at a time and sat with her, played with her and loved on her. Belinda and I cancelled all work and outside plans and doted on her with all of our hearts. 

She stopped being interested in food on Wednesday and by Thursday was refusing everything. I rushed out and bought her the best steaks I could find, cooked them as cleanly and perfectly as I could and chopped them into half inch cubes. She ate them with gusto, and with a tired smile on her face. 

She passed away yesterday with the assistance of a compassionate and wonderful veterinarian. She was at home surrounded all day by the only family she ever knew. She went quietly and comfortably and we each said "goodbye" in our own ways. She was affectionate and calm to the end.

One of my swim buddies knew about our situation and sent me a message. It was this:

"...grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you. I loved you so--twas Heaven here with you."  -Isla Pachal Richardson.

I think of it every time I start to cry...