Words On Wednesday

2016-06-08 Eulogy for the Peanuts

On May 26, the last of my dogs were put down. RIP Charlie Brown and Lucy.

Peanut

I received Peanut for my second birthday. She was a dachshund mix, and I loved that dog.

My great uncle gave me Peanut. I don’t have any idea where the name came from, only that she had it when I got her. I still remember being in the bathtub and dripping water all over the floor when I got out to see her up close.

The Litter

With a bunch of dogs running around who aren’t spayed or neutered, pregnancy is bound to happen. On November 6, 2001, Peanut had a litter of puppies. We were never quite sure who the father of the pups was. Several of them had the markings and build of Jack, a Jack Russell mix that hung around the house. A few looked more like Bear, the Rottweiler we had, but with Peanut’s size.

There were 7 dogs born. We figured with the mother being named Peanut, why not go with character names from “The Peanuts” comic strip? In no order other than memory: Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, “Big Boy” Heart, Rocky, Snoopy, and one stillborn.

Charlie Brown looked spit and image like Jack. Not a purebred by any stretch of the imagination, but he was obviously mostly Jack Russell. He actually got hit by a truck a few years ago, and my grandmother thought he was dead. She left him in the road for my grandfather to handle when he got home. Lo and behold, Charlie wasn’t dead. He was in quite a bit of pain, and took a while to heal up, but he recovered pretty well. After that incident, however, he always walked with a limp.

Lucy and Linus were nearly indistinguishable. Both were mostly black, like Peanut, but had some white markings on their faces. Lucy had a long, thin line of white that went from her nose up toward the top of her head. Linus had a short, thicker white line that stopped between his eyes. As they got older, Linus became a little more bulky than Lucy. Still, if you didn’t see them often, they looked nearly identical.

Heart was easily the biggest of the litter, with dark spots in place of a Jack’s brown markings. We named him Heart because the spot right above his tail was in the shape of a heart.

Rocky looked just like a Rottweiler, but about a third the size of one. His name was a tribute to Bear’s brother, Rocky, who died quite a few years before.

Snoopy was white with black spots, nearly in the same pattern as the Peanuts’ character. She was given to my cousin’s girlfriend at the time, with the explicit condition that we were to regain custody of her if anything happened. Clearly, that went out the window, since she moved later and gave Snoopy to a couple she knew.

And Then There Were Two

The litter gradually died off as dogs are wont to do.

Heart or Rocky died first. I want to say that both of them were hit by vehicles on the road in front of our house. They were both able to get through or over the fence, so we didn’t have much of a way to keep them contained.

Linus quickly became frail, for reasons we aren’t exactly sure. We took him to the vet, but there was nothing they could do. They went ahead and put him down, saying that he was going to die soon either way. We figured it would be cruel to let him suffer.

Peanut died of a heart attack, we assume. All the dogs were afraid of gunshots, but Peanut worst of all. When we would shoot in the woods behind the house, the dogs would all gather inside on the first human lap they could find. One time, Peanut got off the porch before anyone could let her inside. She ran off across the other side of the road. Her sense of direction was pretty good, and she always returned home within a few minutes. When she didn’t show up after a few hours, we all looked for her. We never found her, and she never turned up back at the house.

Since we never heard anything else of Snoopy, I actually don’t know if she’s alive or dead. I would assume that after 15 years, she’s probably dead or close to it.

Lucy and Charlie suffered mostly the same fate as Linus. Both of them were getting old, so we knew it was inevitable. Charlie’s hip got worse and worse until he could hardly walk. Lucy had some sort of tumorous rash come up all along her underside. We treated it with medicine for a while, but nothing seemed to help much. When we finally took them to the vet this last time, they were beyond help. At nearly 16 years old, they were ancient. Even in decent health, they wouldn’t have lasted much longer. We figured putting them down was the most humane thing to do.

The Aftermath

It’s still odd to think that the dogs are all gone. I’ve never gone more than a few months without a dog, and even that was before I turned 2 years old. I hate that they’re gone, but I know that’s life.

Probably in the next few months, we’ll see about getting a new pet in my own house. Cameron loves cats, and they seem to be a bit more house friendly than dogs. If we get a dog, we’re still unsure about what breed. I prefer bigger dogs, but they’re a lot of work. Kati likes small dogs, but they annoy me. In any case, we’ll be getting a pet before long. It’s too strange not being around an animal.

Meta:

Words: 973 | Characters: 5053 | Sentences: 72

Paragraphs: 22 | Reading Level: 7-8th Grade

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