Meet Norm(an) Kozcunningville. Yes, that's his real name, the last name a beautiful blend of the surnames of his 3 - yes 3 - dads. Born in the fall of 1996, this pup is a whopping sixteen in people years ya'll. As in 112 years in dog years which also makes him kind of magical. Do you know anyone that's 112? Bilbo Baggins doesn't count. Norm was born into a frat house where his formative years were, let's face it, probably spent eating cigarette butts out of ashtrays and lapping up bong water. But clearly there's something to be said for the frat house diet because just look at this face. Is it the face of a 112 soul?
All weekend Norm refused to eat and had no interest in water. I kept telling myself - and Special K - that he'd rally like always. Finally Special K came onto the porch, my porch, to have a sit-down, a crucial conversation if you will, where he pretty much assured me that Norman is 16 and probably would not be bouncing back this time. Keep in mind that Norman is my first dog. I grew up with cats which I now don't like because I think they're aloof and judgmental. Thus our conversation went something like this.
Special K: We need to make a decision about Norman soon.
Me: A decision about what? We can keep carrying him up and down the stairs. I can do mornings before I go to work and you can do afternoons and evenings.
Special K: Not that kind of decision.
Me: Food? Does he need a different kind of food since he can't really stand up? Something soft maybe?
Special K: Nicole, we need to decide when we are going to put him down. He can't keep living like this.
Me: WHAT!?! How do we get to make that decision? Who decides that we get to decide that?! (Again, I'm so new to this.) The tears are flowing now.
Special K: Um, we do actually because we are his
Me: How can you say that? He always comes back. He can still stand on his own. His eyes may not see us well (at all) but he still smiles! He was walking around the living room a little bit and nibbled on a treat (before his legs gave out and he hit the floor). Not even Bubba can do that and no one's talking about putting her down!
Clearly at this point I had stopped making sense and Special K shook his head, patted me on the knee, and left me to cry in my coffee. #saddestmomentever. The next day, I went to work, puffy-eyed and somberly, I informed my co-workers of Norm's impending doom. Then I masochistically used the above photo as my screen saver and I actually have two monitors (because I need 2 to toggle) so it's like I'm surrounded by that face all the time. That night one of Norm's other dad's came over after work to spend some quality time with him. He still wasn't maneuvering the stairs at all but was at least getting out of bed on his own. Eyes still gray, he was eating only those things which were covered in tuna juice until he threw up so then we had to stop the tuna juice. It ended up being a slumber party because Jamie wanted to stay with Norm. The next morning he got out of bed when I came downstairs and after being carried up and down the side stairs (Norm, not Jamie) he ate his breakfast. My 13 year old brother made a surprise visit the next day and stayed for a week and a half (that's a whole nother post - maybe 2) and in that time Norm-Dog continued to get showered in love and affection. Then I took this picture, check out that smile:
He started going down the stairs on his own if a treat is thrown down ahead of him, and he started eating more. We still have to him carry up the stairs most of the time, but ever since
The moral of this story boys and girls? You can't keep a good dog down.
You can't put a good dog down either.