I cried in front of the vet today.
I took Potchi to the vet for the first time because of her sudden illness that’s been eating her since Thursday morning, March 17 2011. But as with all diseases, nothing is really “sudden”; it just took it’s time becoming deadly.
I first attempted to walk her to the vet, despite her lethargic state, only to find out that she was simply intolerant of any form of exercise; even walking was too hard for her. Seeing a few blocks made her want to stop and go back home (which is very unusual because she is usually very eager to get out of the house and run around the block like some mad dog), I rented a tricycle driver to take us to the village vet. I went and borrowed money from my brother before we left. P 2050.00 to be exact.
The vet found out that she has heart worms and a possibility of having kidney and liver failure as well. She vomited earlier this afternoon and it was yellowish which might be bile as she has lost her appetite. She also had what appeared to be blood on her stool as well. Her urine is normal colored (to me), if not, then it’s darker than usual.
The vet did some initial check ups which included the test to find worms in the heart. It was already a severe case. Which is the reason why my dog is breathing so hard as if she’s suffocating. The vet also weighed her. She’s gotten so thin since last year. She weighs 15 Kg but I know she weighed a lot more than that before 2010 came around. She has a dextrose attached to her so even if she’s not eating, she’s at least getting some nourishment.
I have to note that she wasn’t even putting up a fight when I took her there and all these people were touching her, lifting her, and pointing needles at her (for blood tests). She didn’t even pick up a fight with any of the animals inside; including this one cat that could’ve pounced on her if she wasn’t in a cage. Potchi was very passive with all of this. Which made me depressed even more. She’s usually the opposite of this. She’d lunge at you if you were a total stranger and she’d practically break a cat’s neck the moment she sniffs one out. And yet, she was just there, lying on the examination table, wearing this dog-mask thing that prevents her from opening her mouth.
She was staring at me as if in disbelief that I would let all these people do this to her while I was there. Her eyes pierced my soul. I couldn’t even touch her at first, knowing that I may have been the one to have caused her all this inconveniences. I’m her master and yet I knew nothing of how to be a master. I thought I was doing fine with feeding, bathing, and loving her but they were apparently not enough.
Shortly after I saw the worms in her blood stream, my eyes were starting to tear up again and I suddenly found myself struggling to hold my tears in. But I couldn’t. I had to ask where the comfort room was. I was already tearing up so bad that the vet was probably feeling awkward with me crying and him poking my dog with needles. I cried my heart out inside the comfort room. When I went out, I found out they put her inside a cage. She’s never been inside a cage since she was a puppy. She was looking at her surroundings as if in disbelief on how much room she’s currently in. I felt so sorry for her but it I knew it was the right thing to do. She never went so far outside the house too. So everything before that was like foreign land as she stared outside the tricycle as it drove her to the clinic.
I haven’t cried so much for a dog like this before. When I lost Barkley, I cried but only brief sadness enveloped me for I was just 5-6 years old back then and Barkley was about 2-3 years old and had died of an unknown disease, or so our maid said that’s how he died. I think she simply sold our dog to the damn carpenter friends of hers. Why do I suspect this? Because we didn’t have a corpse to bury. “The carpenters took him away” she said. I then imagined it was Barkley’s bones that I found whenever I’d walked outside the house to go to buy some snack in the nearby store or when I would go to friends’ houses and stuff. I got him from our aunt Ophelia. She went to our house one sunny Sunday morning and I was playing scientist with me dismantling and reassembling toys. He was carried on a shoe box cover all the way from Angono. I was so happy to finally have a pet. I think I wished to have a pet dog hence my parents got me one. I named him Barkley after Charles Barkley, the basketball player. But he was supposed to be Bart for Bart Simpson but I think Barkley didn’t respond to Bart well enough and Barkley seemed to be for his usual barking whenever and wherever he is. I’m not sure what breed he was but he was brown and small-mid sized. I’m not really sure if he was supposed to get bigger as he got older, though. His parents were pretty big. He looked like this except he was really brown. He must’ve been a mixed breed because I remembered him, though quite vaguely, having droopy ears.
When Cable died, I was around 10 going 11, I didn’t see him die too like with Barkley. Cable wasn’t playing nor was he moving from a spot the night before and we figured it was just a sickness like fever or something. I woke up to my brother telling me he died. I tried to be indifferent at first but after a while, it sunk in. I was in tears as I lay on my bed, with my dad and brother’s voice in the background saying stuff about how heavy Cable’s corpse is or how bad he smelled and how a yellowish liquid was pouring out of his mouth. They sacked him and threw him in some field far from the house. My brother came home smiling as if it was okay. A few minutes later, though, he was crying too. He can’t help it; he was only 5-6 years old and Cable was his first best friend. They’d wrestle occasionally and he would pet him a lot. He looked like this but he was an “askal”. He had a long tail and was bigger than a mid-sized dog but not smaller than a German Shepherd. I got him from my other aunt as a puppy from a dog named Bingo. He was so active in his social life. He’d go out every night with his “pack” and he’d lead it together with a “partner-best friend” dog. He’d also go out at night and give his partner a chicken bone from his bowl. We think the neighbors fed him poisoned bread or something. He was usually outside the house and he may have impregnated one of the neighbor’s dogs or killed a few birds. I named him Cable since we just had cable TV then.
Now my dog Potchi. I can feel her going soon. I know I’ll cry very hard when that day comes. She came to us when my mom’s friend got her as a present. They (my family) went to her friend’s house and got her. I was playing “asleep” when my brother brought a little soft animal on top of my chest and I remembered how warm Potchi’s tongue was when she first licked my chin and how she startled me. I think I had her shortly after Cable; maybe a year after. I was still in elementary. I remembered how she was so small and looked like a little toy dog. I got her around November-December because I remember seeing her startled face when I squatted and farted on her during New Year’s Eve. My brother and I laughed so hard that night. I think it cemented my relationship with her. She became more fond of me than any of the family members.
Four years ago, my brother fractured his left arm because he was chasing after her outside the house. He stumbled pretty hard and had his left arm as his instinctive support. Bad idea. She was simply too fast for us to catch up to her. I remember how she would also pick up fights against 2-3 dogs at a time and she would always come out the one chasing them all. She always practices her form of “shadow fighting” wherein she’d simulate as if her opponent was on top of her and she’d struggle and do biting actions and stuff. She was also quite sensitive when it comes to touching her tail. She really hates being touched there. The one thing I really love about her, if I haven’t loved all of her enough, is the fact that when I would pet her, she’d stop immediately on whatever it is she was doing. As a show of respect, I guess. She’d either be barking, running around, and sometimes when she’s eating. She’d stop and look at me and make that face which means she’s happy I’m patting her on the forehead or she feels great when I would massage her back or rub her belly. She would also jump up almost immediately whenever she senses me coming to her, even if she was sound asleep. She’s very alert which makes her a perfect guard dog. When she was sleeping once, I crept up on her and had my toe poke her and I swear to God she would’ve bitten it off if it weren’t for her amazing reflexes at both attacking and stopping an attack. Her teeth was so near my foot. She then sat up and acknowledged my presence as if she was sorry and that it was an accident on her part.
When she was 3-4 years younger, she would jump up to me whenever I clapped my hands repeatedly and she’d have this expression that she was really happy with her eyes and mouth opened so wide, her tail wagging and her ears all standing up. And I’d dance with her. I’d grab her paws and we’d do waltz and she’d love it. I also tend to make her stand up and walk by simply putting food she really liked in the air. But recently, though, she was simply too old and weak to jump up and if she does jump up on me, it would be not as high as she used to do and I had to support her. I couldn’t dance with her anymore like before because she may have been too weak to stand up on two legs. She still stands up when she has support, like a wall or something. Even then, she’d hate being treated as if she was weak. She’s quite a proud dog and I also love her for that ego of hers.
Did I mention that she’s great at catching rats as well? I don’t have anything against rodents but they’re real annoying and my dog would catch big and small ones every now and then. And she’d dump the corpse in front of the door or just behind the gates so we could see it and she’ll think we like seeing dead animals in the morning. I guess it’s her way of giving us “gifts”. Although I wasn’t exactly thankful (because I don’t like animal killing), I love her for giving such an effort. She once caught 3 big rats in one night which surprised my dad and me one morning when we both got up early. She also killed a big lizard (bubule?), a bird, and a little cat. I felt sorry for the cat because I saw it before she killed it. I tried to stop her but she simply wouldn’t let go of the cat. I got angry at her but she was always so stubborn anyway. She also hates being tied down. She’s destroyed every leather/garter rope we had around her neck so we just opted to just unleash her. She also hates having anything tied to her, be it a ribbon, a hat, or a t-shirt. She’d always “kill them” when I put it on her. And she’d do it to impress me and I’d smile and be proud of her.
She never gets tired of me. Even when she couldn’t get up, she would always have her eyes fixed on me when I came near her, so that I’d know she still recognizes me as her master. If only she knows she doesn’t need to do that. I love her anyway, everyday, even if she would turn evil on me, which she would never do. She’s also a great escape artist. I don’t really like her running outside because a lot of dogs here hate her for being tough. But whenever I would let my guard down (left the gate unhooked or unlocked), she’d push forward to achieve that effect wherein the gate would bounce on its own and she’d just use her nose to open it all the way. She’d also use her paws to pull the gate open a lot of times. She’s a little Houdini.
I imagine she must be so lonely, being away from home and with no one she knows around her. She’s with other animals (who are sick and in cages) so I hope they keep her company. She’d usually bark or lunge at them but she was too weak to do that. I miss her already. I imagined tonight, without her for the first time in 11 years, would be so hard and it is. I walked home crying, as if Potchi was this relative of mine whom I have really close ties with. It was like living a sister at the care of someone else because you know you can’t take care of her alone. It’s really hard.
Patchi came a year later. It was around October. She was bought from my mom’s friend for P 1000.00. She was so small and fragile. She was brought to me inside a big box of Zesto. Potchi, upon seeing her sister (I assumed she knew), immediately did what a normal sister would do: Pounce at her. Patchi was crying and I had to stop Potchi from pushing her nose against her and literally breathing down her neck. Potchi was just sniffing around then BAM! Patchi got traumatized since then and she would fear anything. I guess Potchi sensed jealousy already back then and I couldn’t blame her. She was so young then and it’s normal. They would both attempt to get out of the gates and run around the block together, staying with each other, guarding each other’s back sides. They were such a team. They both got out once and with us pressed for time, we locked the gates and I wished they would get home safely. We got back after 2 hours and they were there, waiting for us, anxious to get inside. These two would always bark at us when would leave as if to wish us safety or to make us know that they’ll miss us. They’d do the same when get home, to let us know that they’re so happy we got back.
Patchi used to be the submissive one but as Potchi got thinner and older, she now rivals her; as if they were equals now. She’s also the opposite of Potchi when it comes to people. She likes the attention, specially if they’re kids. Instead of barking at them, she’d do her favorite cute stance. It would be her sitting straight, tongue outside, as if smiling, then her right or left paw would “reach out” to them. She really loves this move. It’s simply too cute and never fails to get her a pat on the head or some “How cute!” response. She grew to be much bigger than Potchi. She’s REALLY fat and I sometimes worry about how fat she is. I barely could lift her. I imagine she must easily be twice as heavy as Potchi is.
She’s afraid of anything you can throw at her, though. I once threw a piece of cotton at her and she had her tail and head down. I always did make fun of her that way. She always barks but she never bites. I sensed that Potchi felt her own body weaken so this led me to think that Patchi was being trained by her. I can see the progress. Patchi would now guard the gates, do the chasing, and just all-in-all be tougher than she usually is. I also sensed her compassion for her big sister when she also didn’t eat yesterday, as if saying that she wants her sister to get better first before she eats again. I’m telling you, Patchi loves to eat. She’d usually eat off Potchi’s plate too now that she’s bigger and stronger than big sis. When they were both young, 3-4 years old, they’d usually fight and each would bare their own fangs. These were pretty scary fights but none of them really got hurt. I confess that I liked watching these girls fight. But if it does get too much, like when it’s about food or jealousy, I’d stop them.
Patchi now misses her sister because it’s literally the first time that Potchi was away from her. She slept near the gate as if to watch out for her when she comes home. I tried to tell her that Potchi was sick and she has to stay in the clinic. I know she’ll be broken once Potchi does go away and she’ll watch her go. I bet she would. And I’ll be the one left when Patchi follows her sister too. I’ll be so sad then, to have lost two of my best friends, two dogs that would always listen to me no matter how dumb I acted around them or how much I played bully with them. Mind you, I never intentionally hurt them, the most I did was probably throwing a shirt at them or something.
I’m praying hard right now for my Potchi. I prayed to God that I’m thankful for the one year extension after last year’s illness. All I’m praying now is that Potchi returns home well enough to be back to normal and her passing be as peaceful and painless as possible. But if push comes to shove, I’d put her to sleep. I’ll be so sad and angry at myself but I know it’s for her own good and I know it’s my responsibility as a master to take away the pain she’s having. I just can’t imagine a day without her now; to go home and her presence missing; to see Patchi alone and staring into space like she does now. It would be so painful for the both of us.
Now I’m wondering whether Patchi would be the last dog I’ll have. I’m just too crushed to see one more go away.