She needed propped up at an angle with pillows to help her with breathing (megaoephagus can suffocate the dog as food can clog the windpipe). I laid down on the living room floor next to her bed to make sure she knew one of her people was with her. That way she might relax and sleep easier. It calmed her a little, but after a while she still wasn't sleeping. I couldn't leave her in case she got up and fell down onto her side since that was when she really struggled to breathe. She also had balance problems for other reasons (see 2/25/2011 entry for details).
I moved onto the couch next to her bed and within a few minutes she stood up and staggered out of her bed and sat down as close as she could next to me on the floor by the couch. She was rattling and breathing and coughing on and off (as she has for about two weeks now). Being on the couch wasn't a good option for her since she's been uncomfortable being squished into tighter areas. It seemed like she was OK enough to lay down and sleep when she became too tired to sit up. For some reason it didn't worry me that the alarm clock wasn't there to wake me up. Allison came down and woke me up around 7:15am. Gertie was laying beside the couch where she was last sitting. Allison knew right away she wasn't OK. She said she's gone. We checked her and she was. I couldn't believe it went that quick. It seemed like it had only just happened toward the end of the 2 and a half hours I was sleeping on the couch.
It feels good to know someone was with her all the time during her final days, even down to the short time she was in the living room. Gertie was 10 years and 10 months old to the day today. 10 and 10 are the numbers that already meant so much to Allison and I because that's our wedding anniversary 10/10/1987. I'll always remember her on Ground Hogs Day also, since she was like our own little ground hog. She was always the one of our three pugs who would root around the yard and gardens for messy, smelly stuff to get into. Plus she looked like a ground hog.
The day before she passed, Gertie sat with Allison on the couch and rested her head on Allison's face. This was how close she wanted to be with her people. She would normally do this kind of thing (rest her head on you, instead of a pillow). That's the last picture of those loaded below.
She was known as the greeter around the house. When I would be on my knees working in the garden Gertie would "greet" me by walking up onto my legs to sniff my face, wag her curly tail and get loved. She didn't wait for you to let her do it. It was just something she expected and knew you wanted! You wanted her say Hi to you every time...
We will miss our little "greeter" always... but the memories will last forever!
1. Our Little Greeter Gert - see above for description of how she would greet you whenever you were at her level (floor or ground).
2. Pool side was one of the places Gertie showed her personality. She was our only pug who would stand at the edge of our pool deck and cry for someone to lift her into the pool and hold her in their arms, part way in the water. The other pugs were always avoiding getting close to the edge of the pool.
3. Every once in a while Mom would play hide and seek with Gertie. We'd be sitting around the patio and Gert would be walking around the yard near the patio, but just out of sight of Allison. Allison would find a hiding place before Gert would notice she was gone. Gertie would notice that her Mom wasn't there before long and she would start searching her. Gert would get a very serious look on her face as her eyes would try and catch any movement of Allison. Gertie would also listen for Allison to make a noise to let her know which way she was... Eventually Gertie would find her Mom and would begin howling and yelping at Mom. She was telling Allison she was happy she'd found her...
4. When a piece of dog food (one "kibble") would end up under the microwave cabinet you would stare towards it and cry until someone got it for you to eat.
5. You would let us know we needed to fill the water dish by sitting or laying by the empty dish and look at us until we noticed. You'd CHEW on the ceramic bowl until we noticed when that was the type of bowl...
6. Once you chased a rabbit and lucked out (in your world) when the rabbit tried to escape through the middle of the chain linked fence. I found you chewing the tail off the rabbit since it was stuck up to it's hind legs. I pulled the rabbit out and didn't even let you sniff it's face before letting it free.
7. You caught a sparrow - probably surprised it around the spruce trees or had help from a cat. Poor sparrow...
8. Emptying a rabbits nest was something you would take your time at. One by one you would grab another "toy" until we finally found the nest - already empty.
9. You showed us how a toad will make it's whole body frothy when being licked and chewed by a crazy pug. That wasn't detering you though. We separated you from the chubby toad once we found what was going on.
10. In the morning after the sun would come up while we were still in bed, you would walk up beside your Mom or me and would lay your body or head right on our head to let us know you were ready to get up and eat.
11. You would do your famous howl for a treat once we did get you out of bed. That would continue on and off as we worked our way downstairs to the kitchen to the lazy susan. Plenty of times our meal or snack time was also your chance to howl. Once you got a bit you would settle and leave us eat...
12. Chasing Mom while she ran around the yard was also a time for you to get worked up and speak to us by howling, bawling, crying, barking and yelping.
13. You did just enough to get into our room to nap - you'd start be sniffing at the bottom of the door. Then you'd do a single paw accross the bottom of the door to let us know you were there.
14. The hose was also a challenge for you in the back yard. Biting the hose water while the water was spraying.
15. When you were real young you had the nickname "Mighty-Mo" for the couragous way you plowed through the garden and pachysandra in your frenzied way.
16. New dogs visiting the house were always greeted by you first. Following them and chasing them around the house and yard was all the fun you needed for the day. Hoochie was the best pale for this since she loved the snow and gave you someone to chase during the two years she lived with us.
17. That spirit continued even after you weren't able to keep up with the younger Ernie. You would chase Ernie around the house a little and then would yelp at Ernie as he continued running after you stopped.
Polly's missing you to. It's showing in her face and how she just looks lost at times. She was your best bud all your life... You two kept each other company while your people were away from home. We saw how you would sit with each other since we video taped the two of you while we were gone...
18. Gertie won the prize for curliest tail at the pug picnic we took our pugs to. I believe it was the only year the award was handed out for curliest tail. The Luv Pug Club was organized by Kathy Miller. We've been members for years. We've even hosted along with attending several pug picnics (imagine 30 to 50 pugs all together). The curliest tail award came after a little help from Gertie's talent manager, Dad. I pointed out the obvious differences when comparing the next best curly tail. Gertie's tail curled twice around and pointed down toward her body in the second curl. There was really no doubt. Gertie's award meant she had the "curliest tail in the tri-county area" of York, Lancaster, Harrisburg!
We'll feel lost not being able to lift Polly up and down the steps to go outside...
We're going to miss the special ways Polly earned the nick name Peppy Paprika and many others.
Max and Ernie would see or hear me get home from work each night. The boy's excitement would lead to Polly doing her steady barking for me once she could tell I must be home. Polly loved it most when Mom would then take her outside before I came in. Polly would shuffle with happiness down the driveway to find me at the car. She would rub her little face on my pants and snork!
I'll probably hear phantom barks as if Polly's outside needing to be carried inside.
We'll miss you both so much.
2/2/15 -Hi my babies with fur!! Today we look back on all the good times you both gave us. Gertie, you would LOVE your new baby sister!!! Her name in Annie, and she came to live with us a year ago Oct. I can see you both wrestling around with toys, and running around the house!! I think you come up in our conversation at least once a day, just remembering all the smiles you brought to us. I know you are feeling great, and loving your home in heaven, but know we miss you so so very much!!! We will be all together again some day! Miss you like craZzzzzy...AND LOVE YOU EVEN MORE... Kisses to both of you...Love you xoxox
7/2/2016 - Your brother, Ernie, has now joined you: Gertie, Polly and the earliest of our lover pugs Brownie. Ernie is another "lover" like you all have been. Ernie loved his people to pet him... He would always greet friends, family and his own family with the reach of his paw searching for some love!
Ernie, you came to us when you were about 10 months old. We loved you from day one! You went on one mile runs with your Dad when you were a younger pug. You made it look so easy with that tall and long black pug body striding and trotting along.
Ernie, you learned your own ways of persuading people to give you attention. One way was to lean your head back upside down to look straight into their eyes with those big friendly eyes. You knew how to connect!
You also loved your time at the back sliding door warming your black fur in the sun.
You were always ready to guard your territory to (fenced in back yard). You were the quickest to make it from one corner of the yard to the other in order to be ahead of the people walking on the sidewalks or driving their motorcycles around our block. Sometimes you were so fast you missed the person walked up to our gate on the first side.
When you barked at visitors, your Dad would say it was because you were really talking to them to let them know to notice you, say Hi and for them to pet you.
Toward the end you would whimper and cry occasionally to let Mom and Dad know he wanted moved to the couch or to a closer position with them. We're so glad you called out to us in your small ways. You were so special. We'll miss you so much Bernie Mac/Ern/The Black Mon/Black... Your sister, Morgan, Mom and Dad along with Annie and Max love you so much, Ernie xoxo