Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The story of my dog, PJ

I am beginning a new subject since I don't have any kittens at my house right now. I'm assuming that will change soon and I'm actually looking forward to it. I am going to be writing about my three rescue pets plus others that may be of interest to you blog followers. Before I get started on the story of my dog, PJ, I want to send a huge thank you to my recent donors....another $175 was collected since last week. It IS making a difference and the total I've collected since a month ago is a whopping $1117!!! Thank you to everyone!

Joe D., Kristin D.(I absolutely LOVE your Hello Kitty checks!!!), Jackie G., Molly P., Matt K., Joyce K., and Kevin O.. THANK YOU!
Here's the story of my dog PJ:

After I graduated from UNI, I moved to Indianapolis and started working for First Union (then became Wachovia and soon to become Wells Fargo). After a year of working there, I got restless and my boss offered me a position in Wilmington, NC. My sister lived about two hours from there at the time, so I was thrilled. An Iowa girl working a mile from the beach???? Who would have guessed?

Anyway, while waiting for moving day to arrive, I was talking to my sister on the phone while listening to ABBA and preparing to go out for the evening, and she happened to mention that there was this gimpy dog wandering around her house (people frequently dumped animals near her place) and she had called animal control to come take the dog since she already had a dog and a few cats. I asked what the dog looked like and she told me the dog was black with brown dots over her eyes. I was sold. So my sister called the dog over and she came running. I had already decided to call my first dog PJ. It didn't stand for anything, but went back to high school, where a guy a few years older than I was, had the name PJ (Parker Jay). I didn't have a crush on him per sey, just his name! Since I wasn't dating, I thought saving the name for a child was a waste of a good name, so I named my dog PJ. It wasn't meant to show disrespect by any means, and it's difficult now, because the schoolmate PJ, was tragically killed in a freak auto accident at a very young age. It was hard to hear that and I know my grandma told PJ's parents that I loved his name so much that I named my dog after him. I think they were flattered. I hope they were anyway, but they did mention it to me when I came back to town for my grandma's funeral.

ANYWAY, that is how I aquired PJ. She was not full grown, not a puppy, and had not been in a house before. She had also been hit by a car and had a back leg that was improperly fused together, so she limped. She had also grown out this ugly grey hair because she was finally being fed and her undergrowth hair grew in to keep her warm. So I had this ugly mutt with a gimpy leg now....then I realized what a sweetie she was, how FAST she would run with me, how much she loved to run on the beach and drink ocean water, and how much she loved me for saving her. I was the lucky one! *Her ugly hair fell out after she was nourished enough and it warmed up.

My PJ and I had some good times and a few bad times. She enjoyed chewing up pictures of people that I cared about....she DRUG THEM OUT OF MY BAG to eat them. She loved garbage cans and cat poo. But, she was a dog after all.

I took her everywhere with me! We went running at the beach, we went to visit my sister together where she loved to play with her dog, Hektor. They were like siblings...I would keep them both for a few weeks here and there and they would wake up in the morning and just play, sort of like my two little boys do now. We vacationed together and when I met my future husband, she loved him, so I knew he was a good guy. She did show her love by going pee in his kitchen and poo in the spare bedroom within 60 seconds of us arriving to visit him for the first time. Ahh, the moments. My husband and I still took her everywhere with us...she was a fixture in our lives and was great with our kids, never barking or jumping...very calm and loving. You would look at her silly and she would quickly wag her tail and slink towards you...you told her to stop staring and she actually did! Yes, she could drill holes in you while you ate dinner in front of her! She knew when I was upset and would come lay by me when I was. She loved to ride in the car and once, she growled at the big truck behind us like she was going to jump out and attack it. She loved to sit outside and sniff the air, especially when we went to my parent's vacation "hut" by the river in Ponca. She chased deer, bunnies, turtles (yes, it can be done), and me. I could lift her up and she would dangle by her rope chew toy while growling. She would bury her rawhide bones in the carpet...I would know this because she would have a red patch on her nose and all the carpet around the bone was pointing to it. We had so much fun with her.
We nicknamed her all sorts of silly things....Peanut Butter and Jelly, Triangle Face, Gimpy, Pooj, Peej, Poojo, Peegeepoo, Poopers....you get the idea.

Because of her leg problems and probably due to all the running I used to do with her, she started showing signs of arthritis about five years ago. I kept her from using stairs as much as possible and gave her special vitamins that helped her joints. That severe bout didn't last long and was back to normal until about a year ago. I took her back to the vet and got her more medication for her joints. She was slower than before, but she loved to climb the steep hill full of weeds and critters that dogs like, and she was great for my boys...very gentle and didn't bark or jump on them.
In September of 2008, PJ got to the point where, most of the time, we would have to lift her hind end up so she could walk. After another vet visit and some pain medication, I thought things were going to be ok. Then one Friday, she quit walking. Saturday she quit eating. Now this is the dog that always thought that her one bowl of food was her last one, so she would wolf it down in seconds. Once, right after I got her, I let her eat all she wanted. Well, almost. She ate about five bowls of food and I decided that I just need to deal with her paranoia of never getting the next meal, and ration her food. I couldn't blame her...she was starving when my sister found her and probably thought it COULD be her last meal. Anyway, I digress.....

Saturday, she quit eating and drinking, and then Monday, I visited the vet and got more medicine. By Tuesday morning, I knew it was time. She was holding her head and body sideways even more and wincing when I touched her and petted her. We had to pick her up and take her out to go, then she couldn't move after she was done. It was her time. Per the vet, it was probably a brain tumor. I just could't let her go through any more pain and suffering- and she was suffering, I could tell. They couldn't have done anything else for her.

I took her in myself and was with her the entire time. I still choke up frequently when I run by the vet office, which just happens to be on my running route. I never knew how much I loved and would miss that silly dog until she was gone~I knew I loved her, but didn't know how powerful HER love was to me. PJ was the perfect definition of unconditional love. We had her cremated and she is in a rock in our back yard, where she loved to be.
As I sit here tearing up and trying to hold back my crying, I think of all those dogs out there that just need a chance. I'm running for them, for the cats, that need a chance at what PJ had~ someone who would watch over them and love them throughout their entire lives, no matter what. They add so much...they are worth so much...they have hearts and feelings and love. They need a shot, a chance at being a part of a family, whether it's one or a hundred.

That's why I am Running for a Paws....now where is my kleenex?

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