When the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I got married, having a dog was not on our (my) plan. Over the course of the next twelve, count 'em, twelve years, she and our children, as they came along, launched a long-term assault on my resistance to getting a dog. Finally yielding to the fusillade, I suspended my anti-dog campaign and in June 2001, a Chinese Lion dog, or Shih Tzu, entered our lives when she was a mere eight weeks old. I convinced myself I would not like her, even though I got to name her - Beijing.
Beijing, as it turned out, was a good dog. A really good dog. She was an ideal dog for our family and a good companion. She moved with us. She adapted well. She, by and large, was not annoying. She was an easy dog to like. She was a good dog.
One thing she wasn't was a good running companion. I made that mistake only once. There is nothing more humiliating than running, or trying to run, with a Shih Tzu on the end of a leash. Nothing.
For almost thirteen years, Beijing had a really good life. I think we'd say she only had a few bad days. Her last day came quickly. She was a couple months shy of celebrating her 13th birthday when age caught up with her. Heart failure launched a very aggressive assault on her and within a matter of hours, with her breathing rapid, it was clear things were going south. We took her to Vet ER last night, sensing we were a part of her final hours. After checking her over, performing multiple tests, and administering oxygen, the Vet laid out our limited options. It was time to let her go.
Ironically, the one who didn't want her in the first place was at her side at the end. The Vet and staff were so kind and treated Beijing with care and dignity. I'm glad I was there and able to stroke her back as she went to sleep a final time. I'm glad I got to tell her she'd been a good dog. And that's what she was - a good dog. And we are going to miss her. A lot.
Beijing was a good dog. A really good dog. I'm glad we had the time that we did with her. I'll say it again. We'll miss her.
Good bye, friend.