Thursday, May 01, 2008

In Memoriam; Catcher (unknown - 30 Apr 2008)

We lost Catcher, our dear old pug, yesterday to heatstroke. But that sounds sad and boring so we'd rather think that she was murdered and left to die in the scorching heat of the sun. She's old, 8 to 10 years old maybe, the vet couldn't really be sure.

The Joy of Being. We had Catcher last year, during the time when we were in dire need of an additional preoccupation. The hubby's cousin gave her to us. One, because she had loads of dogs to take care already and two, because nobody wanted to have her. She's old and she has this tick problem. We never had second thoughts about having her. And on her first day at home, we just knew we'd like to have her around. Much like parents, we instantly included Catcher's needs on our grocery list: shampoo, powder, her own comb, leash, etc.

Meet and Greet. Catcher became an instant celebrity in our neighborhood. She's a pug, so she's just cute in her ugliness. The neighbors loved her, they even borrowed her sometimes and take her for a walk (actually, one of the neighbors was just doing that to get the househelp's attention, my guess.) But in all of Catcher's cuteness, she is the laziest dog I've ever know. She likes to be walked, yes, but after a few blocks, she would just stop. Even if it meant being immobile in the middle of the street.

Funny Moments. I've had my share of bloopers involving Catcher. One time, I decided to bring her along during one of my morning walks. I was strolling down the road to the market when a guy tapped my shoulder and said, "Day, ang ido mo, ho, nawigit." Turns out, Catcher's collar was loose and it slipped off her neck. So literally I was dragging a dogless leash for a few steps or so. It's a good thing pugs, old pugs at that, don't make a habit of running fast. It would have added to my already humiliating situation. There was also this one time when I, again despite what already had happened, took her out for a walk. We were crossing the street when suddenly she just stopped walking. Right there, in the middle of the street, stiff in catatonia. I prodded her a few times but didn't get much of a response. So I had to pick her up, all 27 kilos of her much to the amusement of jeepney drivers passing through. Because I was already in love with her, I took her out again, a couple of times after that incident. Much more prepared to deal with her stubborn stops and the loud wheezing sound that she does, which made people we pass by turn to look with pity. Ha! if only they knew, tired or not tired, she's just the wheezing type. I wasn't punishing her, no, I was actually giving her her much needed walk.

Old Habits Die Hard. Catcher had this habit of scratching and howling. We brought her to the vet who gave her vitamins and this meds you apply on her back, which was supposed to kill the ticks in her body. There isn't really much treatment that the vet could give her considering that she was already in her old age. The vet also said that she's surprisingly healthy. At some point, Catcher must have had a handler who brings her along wherever she goes. I noticed this from the few times that we took her out with her on our jeep. She knew very well how to conduct herself and make the most of the gust of the wind on her face. She liked riding the trisikad too, and she should almost create a scene when it was time to get off, or was I the one making a scene? calling out her name a few times and scolding her for not getting off and finally booting her off the seat and cradling her like a baby. That with the whole neighborhood watching.

It's Lonely being Alone. You cannot know what you really are when are not with your own kind. We never had poop and pee problems until we took on another dog, Prince, a standard pincher. Somehow, Catcher, who very well knew where to poop and pee found out that it was okay to do it anywhere. It was a bit of an adjustment for all of us. Until finally, Prince understood the whole poop-pee arrangements. Catcher and Prince were very much the opposite of each other. While Catcher could get languid for a whole day, Prince was everywhere, gnawing at anything he could get his teeth on, barking at the neighbor's dogs and running about the yard. Despite so, they found comfort on each other's company. When it's cold, they would both keep each other warm and they would walk around the house (of course, Catcher would be trailing behind). Until recently, they took their relationship to a "higher level."

Potential Problem. Did I just say a "higher level"? That could actually be translated into a few thousands on meds and the vet's bill in the event of a successful conception. Oh yes, I've been worrying about my son's tuition fee, now I would have to save up for Catcher's birthing! Would she even survive it? Well, she's old... and it appears she hadn't had pups before (and you'd wonder how I was able to deduce that, eh?). And the pups, what would they look like? pure breed pug + pure breed pincher = ?

Death As it Comes. In our twisted moments (separately, thank gawd!), the hubby and I had been thinking of how things would eventually end for Catcher. I mean, she's old, and eventually she will have to die. Will it just be a case of dying in her sleep? difficulties due to birthing? will she get sick and we'd have to spend every peso we have on our piggy bank just to buy her additional time? How weird can we get? What we didn't expect though that on an ordinary Wednesday morning, after days of rain, she would succumb to heatstroke after just a few minutes of sunbathing. I wasn't home when it happened and the hubby just informed me through our chat session. And that's just it, Catcher is gone, our dear old pug.

Recollecting my thoughts. The news stunned me. For a moment, the hubble-bubble just drowned down into this numb silence for me. Catcher is gone. Catcher is gone... It took quite some time before I got over the news and rejoined reality. It felt like something in me was taken away. There was no pain in it, but it just doesn't make me whole anymore. She's just a dog, I know. But because I allowed the dog to "affect" me, I am now without a part of myself, with her demise. There won't be carrying her like a baby anymore, no scratching and howling, no more sitting by the stairs without a care in the world. There will just be the memories and stories to tell. Catcher,our dear old pug, is gone.

Parting Words. left a part of you in me, much as I have given you a part of me. We will forever be connected, though in spirit. I will remember you with fondness. Thank you for making us part of your life. I'd like to remember you by with this picture of your kind, which I found in the web until I get to upload your pics:

Ciao, Catcher, Bon Voyage.

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