The Blessing That is Blessy

“Dogs die. But dogs live, too. Right up until they die, they live. They live brave, beautiful lives. They protect their families. And love us, and make our lives a little brighter, and they don’t waste time being afraid of tomorrow.” – Dan Gemeinhart

It was late April 2012 when my cousin, Arvin, brought these two mini-pinschers into our lives.

They were named Boknoy and Blessy.  But if you ask my cousin’s wife, Tweetty, the names are Lucky and Blessy. Lucky is male and Blessy is female.

Look at how tiny they were!

When Arvin learned that sibling dogs of different sexes who grow up together in the same house run the risk of inbreeding, he left Blessy in our care.  She lived in a spacious cage in the garage.

We felt that the cage was a lonely place for Blessy so we take her out of the cage on special occasions.

We blew my birthday cake.

She was with me one Valentine’s day.

She comforted Joaqui from the New Year’s Day revelry.

My cousin and I were the crazy dog people who think the siblings can communicate through Skype.

When Blessy was pregnant, she moved from the cage to the house.

Like a pro, she single-handedly gave birth to these puppies on her own.  I was out that day and when I came back she already had puppies.

Arvin had to help her nurse her puppies, though.

She permanently stayed inside the house after giving birth. One of her favorite places in the house was my couch. We had to cover it with blanket to prevent her fur from sticking to the slipcover. 

She loves sleeping on pillows and…

… on any surface with foam.

And if there weren’t any soft surfaces, she would scrunch up a fabric to serve as her mat.

I would like to believe that her most favorite place to hang out was on my lap.

She liked to be with me while I worked.

Even if I was too busy to be bothered, she just wanted to be with me.

She sometimes fell asleep while waiting for me to finish what I was doing on my laptop.

When I had chikungunya, I was in bed for days.  Having Blessy beside me gave me comfort that all is well in the world.

She was one prayerful dog. She had a special seat in front of the altar. Whenever it was time to pray the rosary, she would go to her seat and pray with us.  And when she sensed that it took too long for me to go and sit beside her to pray, she would go to my room and bark as if telling me it was time to pray. Every Sunday, the minister goes to the house so that my uncle who is unable to go to church can receive communion. Blessy would insist to be brought to her seat at the altar so that she, too, can hear God’s words.

She was a sweet, sweet dog.  She was always happy to see me whenever I arrive home after being away for work or vacation.  She always showered me with kisses.

She had a quiet side…

… but not for long! She was very hyperactive especially when she sensed that Arvin was just around the corner. She was our Arvin alarm. Ha!

Her loyalty remained with Arvin. She knew he loved her first.

But I know in my heart, she loved me, too. She knew I love her, too.

It broke my heart to see her nose bled two weeks ago. 

She was not her usual bubbly self a week before that.  We thought she just liked to stay in because the weather was cold.

We sent her to the vet and we found out she had Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis. These are diseases caused by ticks. We did not notice the ticks because they were small and she had jet black fur.  The bacteria caused her platelets to drop and inflamed her pancreas. She stayed with the vet for five days. Arvin and Tweetty brought her to their house to look after her.

Last night, Tweetty messaged to tell me they sent Blessy to the vet. Blessy had difficulty standing and had low oxygen in her blood. I told Tweetty I will visit Blessy today.  When I woke up early this morning, I got a message from Tweetty that Blessy did not make it.

My heart broke and is still breaking.  I miss her. Terribly.

I take comfort in knowing that heaven is smiling to welcome such an angel.

Hug Papa, Mama and Peachy for me, Bless!



“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” – Will Rogers

Peachy

peachy

Four years ago, we welcomed this cutie pie into our home. She was supposed to stay with my cousin but she did not get along with the other dogs in their house so she was brought to our care.  She was named Twinkle but we renamed her Peachy because she was a Japanese Spitz. (Spitz. Pitz. Pitzy. Peachy. Yeah, we are not that creative with names.)

Look how cute she was!  She blended well with the stuff toys.

She was so small then and she would sleep soundly on my lap while I work.

Sometimes she slept on the chair beside me.

But whenever she was awake, she was busy.  She was often on a hunt for rodents in the house. She would do whatever it takes to hunt them down.

She would also do whatever it takes to beg for food.

We could not resist these puppy dog eyes.

She could pirouette to catch her food.

Oh, the things she did for food!

She would wait patiently whenever we were busy in the kitchen.

peachy

She was a very photogenic dog.

She made me look better in photos whenever we took selfies together…

… even though she sometimes rolled her eyes at the frequency of the selfies.

Peachy

She really brought joy to our lives.

The sad truth of having dogs in the house is that there are no happy endings. There is always a rain cloud hovering over for a possible downpour- a possibility of saying goodbye to them early because they live shorter lives than us humans.

That possibility became reality yesterday.

Peachy was not feeling well last week. It might be caused by something she ate. We sent her to the vet last Saturday. We visited her Monday and she was sleeping. It was quite a different demeanor compared to the last time she was confined where she was pleading to go home.  Two days after, we got that dreaded call from the vet that she did not survive.

And our heartaches began. Tears would flow every time we remember her.

Farewell, Peachy. Thank you for the happy years you shared with us!  Joaqui, Blessy and Ate Karen miss you so much.

No, we all miss you! We love you!

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”  – John Grogan, Marley and Me

World Animal Day

Today is World Animal Day.

This is taken from www.worldanimalday.org.uk:

World Animal Day was started in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. Since then it has grown to encompass all kinds of animal life and is widely celebrated in countries throughout the world. October 4 was chosen as World Animal Day as it is the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

The puppy in the house in now 4 months old. He is quite the hyperactive kind so I followed Cesar Millan’s advice that the puppy needs exercise to release all the energy. We walk in our neighborhood everyday, morning and afternoon. Quite a few passersby have asked me what the dog’s breed was. I have no idea. I often reply, “Askal”. Askal is a popular term in the Philippines for ASong KALye (street dogs). Askal’s breed is so mixed that it is already difficult to determine its pedigree. In English, a mongrel. A teen in my neighbor passed by one day and remarked, “Is he Belgian?” I replied that I do not know. He talked to another neighbor, “He looks Belgian. Don’t you think so?”

I have not heard of a Belgian dog so I searched the internet for the breed of our dog. I looked for a database of all dog breeds and the landed on different websites. I seem to agree with the teenager that our dog is part Belgian Malinois. Some of its physical characteristics and the temperament described matched that of our dog. He is hyperactive. He thrashed the garage when left alone. He ran in circles when confined in a closed space. Leisurely walk is not his thing. We had to do some a running and other activities.

When I told my aunt about the possible dog breed of her pet, it scared her. This dog breed is not recommended to first-time pet owners. I told her that a Malinois is a guard dog. It is usually used as a police dog. It is said to be preferred over a German Shepherd because a Malinois has no hip problems. It is said that a Belgian Malinois helped capture Osama Bin Laden. She got scared. I tried to ease her fear by telling her it is just a mixed breed and that Cesar Millan said, “The problem is not the breed. It is the owner.” This time I got scared. HA!

My aunt wanted a lazy dog. The type who can be left around the house without an incident. This dog was given to us because the owner of the dog’s mother can no longer look after the puppies. Our dog benefactor told us that the mother is a calm and gentle dog. Besides, he was so cute when he arrived. Who can refuse this?

And we thought the only problem we will have is toilet training. The puppy pooped and peed everywhere. The house smelled like a dog and newspapers were scattered as a catch basin of the excrement. We realized his hyperactivity then so we borrowed a relative’s unused kennel for him. One night, he was able to ‘escape’. My aunt found all her magazines all over the floor with a happy puppy on top chewing bits of paper.

We are now using his 4th leash. He broke a chain, gnawed on a woven leash and ‘Houdinied’ himself out of a body leash. He has outgrown his kennel so we now tie him to the garage door.

Our 4-month-old puppy has grown into a regular-sized dog. My cousin told us that he might grow larger because his feet are big.

He has toned down his hyperactivity as long as he gets his daily exercise. It turned out to be my daily exercise as well. He walks, runs  and jumps leaving me panting and drenched in sweat. When I sit and rest, he rests on my lap and licks on arms. Sweet thing. I am beginning to smell like a dog.

This morning, his guard dog instincts kicked in. We were on our regular morning walk when he barked at a scavenger rummaging the neighborhood garbage area. He barked so hard and deep so unlike his regular barking sound that when my aunt heard him she thought a bigger dog was going to pounce at us. It was Joaqui, our dog.

Today is World Animal Day.

Hug your pet today!

New Puppy and other Dog Stories

The last time the house had a dog was when I was still in grade school. His name was ‘Bagets’. If you are not familiar with the ’80’s Philippine pop culture,  Bagets is a coming-of-age movie which stars Aga Muhlach, Herbert Bautista, to name a few.

I was afraid of the dog. (I am afraid of dogs. Period.) Being the new face in the house then, Bagets would go near me which frightened me. I was so afraid to go near the dog that they let him out of the house just to stop me from crying. But when it was time to let him in, they could not find him. He strayed to some house a block away from the house. Even my grandfather looked for him. Good thing they found him. I realized that I should try not to panic around  Bagets because I saw how worried everyone was when he got lost.

It is evident in this photo that I was afraid of him. Bagets tried to ignore me. Thus, he was almost cropped out of the photo.

I was the little girl at the back who was afraid of Bagets.

Since I was often visiting my aunt’s house, Bagets and I became friends.  When we moved to this house, Bagets treated me the same way he treated other members of the household. He would bark and run about when I return home from school.  When my cousin and I would ride the tricycle to go somewhere, he would run after the tricycle wanting to go with us. We sometimes feared he might not be able to find his way home because he would run after the tricycle as far as he can. When he got into a fight with another dog, my cousin and I cried over his wounded leg. When there was a fire a block away from us and we were packing our things,  my cousin and I cried thinking that we will leave behind Bagets.  Bagets died when I was already in high school. I was not home so I did not see him die. I still miss him. He was a good dog.

Bagets died in the early ’90s. We did not have a dog until my cousin brought ‘Shawie’ home in 2008 ( Or was it 2009?). She is a dachshund.

Shawie’s stay in the house was short-lived. My cousin had to bring her to a place with a bigger lawn because my father vehemently refused raising the dog in the house. We visit her from time to time whenever we go to that place. Don’t get me wrong. My father loved animals. As a kid, my bedtime stories were stories about Rin Tin Tin (dog), the black panther and the bear. I do not know if he made the stories up. Most of his stories were the friendship formed between man and animal. My father objected raising the dog here because he believed that those in the city should not have dogs for a pet if there is not enough space in their house for the dog to run around. (We do not have a lawn.)

Now, my aunt has a new puppy and I get to play with him everyday.  I am the big sister to the puppy, so to speak. (There are no more objections from my father because he is already in heaven.) The puppy was named Joaqui. I hope he is a good dog like Bagets. He is still small and the entire house is his playground. He quite behaved. Although he is still not toilet-trained, he would find a corner to hide in shame whenever we shout his name because he pooped in the house. It is so easy to forgive his toilet mishaps when he looks at us with his doe-eyes. I think he is going to be a sweet, sweet dog. I just hope we will be able to raise him well so he can live a long life.



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