Sentimental Saturday

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This photo was taken by people who thought that it was funny for Nico to chew my chair.

New Puppies and Old Dogs

Coco Glasses
Coco w/glasses

We’ve had the new puppy for only a week and he’s been a pleasant surprise as far as puppies go. Housebreaking is going well, he’s going up and down the stairs in the house, and he’s not being destructive. He has his fair share of annoyances but what puppy isn’t annoying in some form  or fashion.

Having Coco for the last week kept bringing Nico to mind. Coco in many ways is the exact opposite of Nico and it kind of makes me more sad for our old dog. Nico couldn’t enjoy many things other dogs enjoy. He couldn’t enjoy a ride in the car, running around in the snow, or meeting new people. His anxieties would always get the better of him and he would whine, bark, or retreat.

Nico Sunbathing
Nico sunbathing

I know he tried his best to hold it together because we would go back and forth with periods of silence, or near silence, when things were happening that he didn’t like or understand. He would pace around and not sit still while looking at me. But eventually, no matter how many times he’s experienced whatever the thing is that he doesn’t like, he would relapse into being a bit of a nut.

Nico was able to enjoy a great many things. He enjoyed taking baths, sitting with my wife while we watched movies, the homemade dog biscuits my wife would make him, and sunbathing (Oh Lord how that dog loved to sunbathe). I just hope that he enjoyed more of his life than his anxieties would allow.

Say hello to Coco

Sleeping Coco-2Say hello to Coco. Coco is a male French Bulldog and we procured him on Sunday January 4, 2015. Yes, we got a new puppy just 2 short weeks after the passing of our 8 year old Pug, Nico.

Despite what some might think Coco isn’t a replacement for Nico. As anyone who knew Nico can tell you, he was a unique dog with a rare character and really can’t be replaced. What happened is that the loss of Nico was so sudden that in the 2 weeks since his passing my wife and I realized how much we enjoyed having a dog in the house. Especially during the years since we became empty nesters it was somewhat comforting to come home to a creature that was always happy to see you. So we did a little research on French Bulldogs and brought Coco home.

This gets even a bit nuttier because after getting Coco I then put a deposit down with a breeder to get a Yellow Labrador Retriever. Why? Well, I was already planning on adding a Lab to the house before Nico passed away. I was just going to do it later in the year. With getting Coco I decided that I want the two dogs to grow up together and for me it is better to get all the puppy stuff out of the way at one time.

So, say hello to Coco and soon I’ll introduce the next addition to the household.

Our Dog Died Today

Nico SleepingIt’s funny that I title this post “Our Dog Died Today”. It’s funny in that I never referred to him as my dog while he was living. I always referred to him as my wife’s dog because he would quite often misbehave. In truth, he was just as much my dog as he was hers and it was very sad to see him go today. This is going to be long so bear with me.

I bought him in the winter of 2007 as a gift for my wife who at the time was battling breast cancer. She was in the middle of chemotherapy and not feeling very well. Since we were in the early days of cancer treatment you never know where these things will go and she always wanted a pug. How could I deny her?

I purchased Nico at a pet store. (Yes, I know I know, blah freakin’ blah with the pet stores already.) Most likely he came from one of those dreaded puppy mills. I chose him out of two pugs in the store. One was a female and Nico obviously was male. Nico was the more calm of the two (what a joke for people that know him) and just kind of took to me right away so he was the lucky pug that left the store.

I carefully planned how I would bring him home without her seeing him and conspired with my son Matthew to aid in my caper. We successfully pulled it off and he was officially a member of our household.

From that point to almost 8 years later Nico was the most annoying, funniest, craziest, snoringest, spinningest, wacked-out animal I’ve ever owned. This dog was a walking barking contradiction. He would bark like a crazed pug when ever my wife would spray cooking spray onto a pan or when I would used a can of compressed air to clean out my computers but would totally ignore hair spray being sprayed. Same sound but for what ever reason decided hair spray was no threat. When my wife used her food processor Nico would go berserk at the sound of the whirring motor but totally ignore hair dryers. He would bark like mad and virtually attack the front door when someone new would come to the house but then just follow them around sniffing. The absolute epitome of all bark and no bite.

He had certain disconnects in his brain. My wife and I watch movies at home on Friday nights. Nico quite often is sitting on my wife’s lap while the movie is playing. If I were to cough he would pop up in an instant move towards the front of the couch and stare intensely at my wife’s right big toe. No one knows why. He understood when the movie was over by the music and the scrolling credits and again pop up and wait for me to get up and raise the movie screen. Then he’d jump down off the couch and spin while growling. If you said his name with just the right tone he knew the “kill” command was coming next and his eyes would bug out waiting for it to be said. Then when you said it he would spin and growl as if somehow that was going to destroy what ever it was we wanted to kill. Totally ineffective. He liked to fight with the bottom of my shoe. He would fight with it like he was ready to kill it for 10 minutes or more and then just stop. Those puppy mill dogs…

 

He was trainable and untrainable. In essence he did what he wanted to do. I was never able to get him to ride calmly in the car. He would be a big ball of anxiety whining and whining (especially when I used the turn signal). But yet somehow I was able to train him to only eat his food on command. We could prepare his food, put it down in front of him, and he would just stare at it until I gave him the okay. There could be drool cascading down to the floor but he would not move unless I said “okay”.

Nico had many names. His given name, Nico, but also was called:

Pinking scissors
Panchapan
Shamana
Cinnamon
Cinnamon Drop

There are many more I’m missing but it was hard to keep up with all the nicknames my wife gave him. The only other name I called him was Captain Poo Face.  I think by looking at his pictures the reason is obvious. Nico was definitely unique with his own personality.

The bad news came while my wife and I were on a road trip to visit our son in Boston and our daughter in NYC.

This was the last photo taken when Nico was still himself.
This was the last photo taken when Nico was still himself.

We received a call from the kennel where he normally stayed and they informed us that Nico was walking funny and a little wobbly. We authorized them to take him to a vet if they felt he wasn’t getting any better. Nico wasn’t getting better and so I had to ask my sister to shuttle him around to finally get him to our vet. They prescribed some medication and I had the talk that if Nico doesn’t show improvement that a tough decision would have to be made. With this knowledge my sister took him to her house and cared for him for three full days. Three days where Nico couldn’t feed himself, couldn’t drink on his own, and had to be helped to eliminate waste. I will forever be in debt to her for what she did for my wife and dog this past weekend. We finally arrived back from our trip and while Nico was excited to see us he was pretty much immobilized. The only thing he could move was his head. We took him home and tried to make him as comfortable as possible. I even let him sleep in our bed  (which I never do because I can’t stand dogs in my bed). He was calm and peaceful but he was obviously having a hard time breathing so first thing in the morning I had THAT call with our vet.

Nico passed away calmly and peacefully around 10 am today, December 23, 2014. His craziness will be missed.

1/6 of my life has been spent telling this guy to, “shut up!”

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1/6 of my life has been spent telling this guy to,  “shut up!”