BT

BT

Tim always loved bully dogs. I think dating me with Eliot made him want a dog that would be “his”, and I of course love all animals and want to have enough pairs for my own ark… so I was always pro Tim getting a dog. The type of dogs he wanted though? Not so much. He wanted a mastiff or Saint Bernard or Pitt Bull… something large with jowls and tons of drool. I have a ton of tolerance for all things doggy, but I draw the line at drool.

I suggested Boston Terriers to him. “They’re small, but they have a cute little bully face!”

“I don’t like Boston Terriers,” he scowled.

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He kept thinking about Mastiffs, and I kept thinking about Boston Terriers. A bit before his birthday, I mentioned to my horse trainer who was in vet school at the time that I was thinking about getting Tim a dog for his birthday and was trying to push the idea of Boston Terriers. A week later, I got a text from her.

I have a Boston Terrier for you. House broken female. I’ll bring her to the barn. You can foster and keep if you want her.

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Sure enough, I came to the barn one day and there was a small, female Boston Terrier tied to the fence. Turns out 30+ Boston Terriers had been pulled from horrible conditions in a puppy mill and then scattered at different rescues. My trainer came across BT during her small animal residency. I took the skinny little dog home to Tim, and he was in love.

At first BT and Eliot didn’t get along, and I wanted to return the dog. Tim would have none of it. “You can’t bring me this cute little dog and then say you don’t want her!” he argued. He had a point, and obviously the dog stayed.

Weeks later she got a bacterial infection of some sort, and literally spewed bloody diarrhea all over Tim, herself and his faux modern couch. He bathed her off, took her to the vet and still loved her.

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He picked out a pink leather collar for her with huge metal spikes, because ‘she had some edge to her’. We walked her, with new expensive collar, from the fancy little dog store at Cameron Village in Raleigh and ran into some attractive college girls. They bent down to pet little BT, and Tim told them, “She’s a rescue.” They coooed and pet her and then went on their way. When they had left Tim turned to me and said, “I told them that she was a rescue because I wanted to see if they would make the squealing girl sound… and they did!”

BT went to work with Tim, and slept next to him every night. When Tim and I moved in together, she looked at me for months like “Who is this dumb bitch?!” despite my attempts to win her favor. She grew to like me well enough, but I was always 2nd to her darling Timmy.

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We moved to Boston, and she told us that despite being a Boston Terrier… she wasn’t into snow and cold. When it snowed, we had to dig a little tunnel from the front door to underneath the bushes. She refused to pee on snow, so for months in the winter would only do her business underneath the eave of the house or bushes that blocked the snow.

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One afternoon I took her out to potty in the front yard of our suburban house in Plymouth, and she spotted a coyote off in the distances. She raised her hackles and GROWLED like she was going to kill the shit out of that coyote. It must have worked, because both of us escaped the dire situation with our lives.

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Because she was a Boston Terrier, we took her into the city for sight seeing. She posed with statues and flowers in the North End and rode on the subway.

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We took her to the Poconos Mountains on vacation. Though not nearly as much into nature, she enjoyed sniffing and sleeping in different hotel beds. She’s been to Mardi Gras and traveled halfway across the country several times. BT legitimately has traveled more than my younger brother… not exaggerating.

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She was with us when Tim proposed on the side of a mountain in Vermont. I held out my hand to show her my ring, and she bit the diamond without hesitation.

She was the flower girl in our wedding.

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We moved to Austin, and while she got a lot more gray she didn’t seem to age much. The same horse trainer who brought her to us came to visit in 2010. She took one look at BT and said, “Your dog is so old! Look at her old lady paws!”

That made me worry, because we hadn’t had this dog all that long and we wanted more time with her.

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She was never what I would call a trained animal. You couldn’t take her off leash anywhere, because she would immediately cruise the area for a nicer family that might take better care of her. This stopped as she got older and lost her sight. It took her several years, but she did decide in the end that we were the best she could ever hope for.

Even as her face aged, she still embraced her naughty side. Her favorite things to chew were pens and pieces of paper. Money was especially tasty – it was hard for her to resist a rogue dollar bill that fell out of Tim’s pocket. I came home from work one time to find her covered in red. Immediately I thought she was bleeding, until she appeared fine and I found a chewed up Red sharpie on my guest bed.

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She loved to take naps in sunshine spilling through a window. She never fully accepted house training (the adoption people lied!), and I picked up more piles of BT poo than I could ever count. She snored as loud as Tim when she slept, and had the world’s worst breath. It always smelled like fish. Always.

BT was not a dog for everyone, but she was a dog for us.

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After the vet told me her prognosis, I took her home with the medicine and optimistically waited for improvement. A few mornings she slept in with me until the alarm rang at seven, which was huge progress! I was optimistic. Then on Wednesday night she couldn’t settle down at all, so I had to put her in the bathroom with dog beds so I could get some sleep. I didn’t see much benefit at all from the medicine later in the week.

Thursday afternoon I sat in my back yard, and watched her pant and pace the perimeter in circles. She wasn’t sniffing or doing her business, but just circling and stressed. Pascale had pooped recently, and I watched BT walk through the pile of poop three times without even realizing what she was doing. I decided it was time. That night it took her 45 minutes of getting up, laying down, crying and getting up again before she could fall asleep.

It was like she was searching for serenity, but couldn’t find it.

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Friday morning she had what I would equate to a doggy panic attack, with wild panting and crying and throwing herself against the bathroom door because she wanted to get out… but then didn’t know what she wanted past that. On my way to work, I made the call to my vet for the appointment.

Friday night I fed her bacon wrapped filet mignon. She was a calmer than before, and I pet her little panting face and talked to her a lot before I went to sleep. That conversation though, is between us.

Saturday morning she acted very peaceful. I gave her turkey and cheddar cheese for breakfast, because she had stopped eating dog food after all the spoiling I had done to her. Jen drove us to the vet, and I lasted as long as the waiting room before I started to cry.

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When it was time, I stroked her chest with one hand and held her bottom with the other. The vet carefully looked for the vein, and when he first pricked her she actually turned and snapped at him like the spitfire she is. I leaned in closer to comfort her, and she licked me on the nose.

There was about a half second as she looked up, and then I felt her head fall against my chest. She leaned against me for a few seconds before the vet tech carefully laid her down on the table. I didn’t need the vet to verify with the stethoscope that she was gone, because I felt it the second she laid her head against me.

For animals and humans alike, the greatest gift in life is to be wholly loved. For our loved ones to care for us to the best of their abilities, and one day feel the loss when we are gone.

BT 200? - 2015
BT

200? – 2015

60 thoughts on “BT

  1. You did a good, good thing for BT. What a send-off she had! I loved reading the stories about the relationship she had with Tim. I’m sure they will find each other. <3

  2. She was so lucky to end up with you guys. You did right by her all the way through to the end. And I must say, she was one hell of a collar model!

  3. What a beautiful remembrance of her life with you.

    Thank you for giving her that one final gift … release from pain and confusion. Bless you.

    {{Hugs}}

  4. You did so right by this dog. After all you have been through, it took a positively heroic person to be able to give BT the rest she deserves despite the human desire to keep her around. Tons of positive vibes headed your way from me and my menagerie.

  5. Well now I’m in tears sitting here at my desk in my office. I’m sure everyone who walks in is going to ask me “what’s wrong”, LOL.
    She was a lucky dog to have you guys! I know it’s hard but the peace of mind of knowing she isn’t suffering anymore is so much better than watching her suffer. It’s almost been a year now since I had to put my beloved Vinni (TB with cancer) down and it was sooo hard. I completely understand how you’re feeling and wish I could just give you a hug! Sadly, I know I’m about to go through this again with my Jack Russell Terrier. He is 13 now and starting to show signs of going down hill. It’s so sad because we want them to live forever. I dread the day I have to make that trip to the vet. Jack has been with me since he was a puppy and he too was a rescue. Ugh..I just dread it.

    –HUGS– You are in my thoughts and prayers!

  6. This is beautiful. Thank you for writing this – selfishly, it makes me feel like I’m not alone with my old man, who seems to be going through a little bit of what your’s was. I am only a new reader to your blog, but I just want to tell you that your strength the last few months is amazing, and I hope you can find comfort in knowing what a great life you gave BT, and what a responsible pet owner you were for making this decision. I can only hope the rest of us can follow your example.

  7. I’m so sorry 🙁 What a wonderful life you and Tim gave her and you ended that by giving her a peaceful end. A dog can’t ask for more than that. It is never easy though 🙁 I just scheduled a euthanasia for one of our very old mares for this Thursday… Although I know it’s the humane decision, I’m still dreading it 🙁 animals bring us SO much joy and in turn, we have to do right by them even when it hurts so much.

  8. What a beautiful tribute to her. Those last moments were very special, and I am glad she’s at peace even if you’re left struggling. It’s the unfortunate price we pay for the love they give us.

  9. RIP BT.

    I’m glad you got the last week or so to spoil her silly and then to send her off in a kind loving manner. Best wishes and strength to you.

  10. so very sorry – it’s so hard to lose pets. glad you were able to make the best decisions for her and her comfort, and give her some special love and attention for her last few days

  11. Absolutely beautiful tribute. You clearly have so many good memories! I hope you can find some solace in knowing that she has serenity now and is with Tim.

  12. Thank you for sharing your dog and your life with us. You write such powerful stories, though I’m sorry they have to be such difficult ones. May the world hold you gently.

  13. I am so sorry – no matter how prepared we think we are, it’s always painful. What a lovely collar model she was! I’m glad Tim and his BT are together again, but … still. I’m sorry. I see it as the agreement we make with our animals: we’ll love them and they’ll love us, unconditionally, and in the end, we will take their pain on ourselves and give them the gift of peace and painlessness.

  14. This is beautiful. I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how difficult losing a fur baby can be, especially one that had a connection to a lost loved one. Hugs.

  15. Sitting at my desk, in tears. Those of us who are lucky enough to be owned (not the owners of) a BT know their humor and spirit and craziness. (Yes, let me growl at a coyote, that will go well for me.) She was so lucky to have found you and Tim.

    Now excuse me while I figure out if I can move my afternoon meetings so I can go home and snuggle my BT.

  16. BT has now touched more lives than she could ever have imagined. Romp happily now and eat filet mignon daily in heaven, BT, with Tim at your side.
    Hugs.

  17. Rest in peace BT, you made her life happy and last days extremely fulfilled and that is the most any lucky animal can ask for. I am so sorry.

  18. Well, you’ve made me cry on the train on the way to work. What a beautiful tribute to BT. She will love you so much because you did the right thing by her. I hope Pascale and Eliot give you lots of cuddles tonight. Xxxx

  19. BT had quite the life. And she seemed very smitten to work her way into Tim’s and yours. She made her place and you two gave her immense love. I am happy that you got to enjoy all of the memories together.

  20. BT had the best life that you could possibly have given her. What a great tribute. Cried like a baby. I feel like I met her and now feel her loss too.

  21. I’m so very sorry Lauren. BT had a wonderful life and she was lucky to have found you and Tim. Hugs. This is a wonderful tribute. Thanks for sharing her story with us.

  22. Time just runs away from me, but I didn’t want to comment on this post on the fly while doing 8 million other things. I’m hoping that you’re a little more at peace with your decision now that some time has passed. It is awful to have to second-guess this type of decision, but I do want you to know that you did the right thing for BT given her circumstances. You really did. And it is a good thing that you didn’t wait too long. It is harder when it is a mental/neuro issue that is the deciding factor, vs a physical issue like cancer or end-stage renal disease.

    Here is my angle on degenerative cognitive/neuro/mental disease:
    My grandmother died of Alzheimer’s. She lay in a bed for the last 4 years of her life, slowly losing every single memory she had of her life and the people around her. She forgot how to talk. At the very end, when I went to say good-bye to her, she was sedated into a heavy sleep because the only forms of expression she retained were singing and screaming. She couldn’t even eat on her own anymore; she had a feeding tube placed. She had to live at the hospital because she was too much for the hospice home to handle. When she finally went, she had no idea who she was anymore, much less who the people around her were. She was one of the most generous, loving people I have ever met, who *lived* for her family. She sacrificed everything for her sons, for her husband, and for her grandkids. Yet she died as alone as a person can die, without even a notion of her own self as a human being. That, to me, is one of the most terrifying ways to die. I’ve seen dogs and cats go in this fashion, and it is horrifying because there is no consoling them. They don’t know where they are, who they’re with, or even who they themselves are anymore.

    BT still knew who you were at the very end. She licked your nose. She knew you loved her, and she had the opportunity to go knowing that she was loved. She was lucid for you at the end, which I know is part of what is making this hard for you, but I think that was her gift to you: to be able to say good-bye to the real BT. She saved one last moment of her best just for you. <3

    *Hugs*

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