A Tribute to My Daughter


February 05, 2011 :: 3:22 PM

image

arsey melissa :: feb 25, 1998 - jan 25, 2011

Where do I even start?

I keep hearing my dad’s voice in my head, “She’s just a dog.”

But, oh, Dad, you are so wrong.

Arsey was never just a dog. You even recognized that fact when you met her and declared her your buddy. You were a man who didn’t even like dogs until she came into your life. During your brief time together, you two bonded.

So why do I still hear your voice in my head?

Tuesday, January 25th, I woke up to J screaming for me. She was not in good shape. Not at all. It was pretty obvious she was dying. So, we got her into the car and drove to the emergency vet. They pumped her full of fluids and revived her.

False hope is a son of a bitch. I almost wish we had let her die at home.

But.

They were able to get her back to normal and run some tests on her. We discovered that she had a bleeding mass on her spleen. There was an 80% chance it was cancer, and if it was, it was blood-borne and aggressive as fuck. They couldn’t even tell us if it was cancer unless they removed her spleen. If it was cancer, even with chemo, she wasn’t going to last more than a few months.

I didn’t like any of our options - how could you put a thirteen year old dog through major surgery, knowing that if she even survived the surgery, she probably wasn’t going to survive the cancer? How could I just leave her as she was? How could I let her go?

After a very long, tear filled, heart wrenching conversation, we decided to let her go. It was her time, and anything else wasn’t really in her best interests.

In the end, she made the decision for us. We spent a lot of time with her at the emergency vet’s. Once they had her off the fluids, she faded fast. Too fast. If we hadn’t decided to help her along, she probably would have gone in another hour or so.

She was never just a dog to me. To us.

At our first meeting, she chose me, and she remained my dog until the very end. Don’t get me wrong, she loved J, but she was my dog.

She used to sleep between his head and the headboard, butt towards me… every night, like clockwork, she’d roll onto her back and get stuck. She’d always end up kicking me in the head. If I was really lucky, she’d fart in my face.

You would talk to her, and she’d burp in response.

She loved the snow - after 12 years, she still got excited by the snow and loved to chase snowballs.

When she was excited to see you, she’d howl and add a little trill in the middle of it. I’ve never heard a dog do that before, and I loved how unique she sounded.

You could get her to wag her nub on command.

You could also get her to poop on command.

However, you could never get her to puke where you wanted her to. She puked in my hair, twice, while I was sleeping. Always, always, no matter how hard we tried to get her to the door, to get her at least to the hardwood floor, she’d puke all over the the braided wool rug. Those reddish dog food stains don’t come out.

She used to love to go for rides. One Saturday, when we were still in Ohio, she INSISTED on going to the Post Office with me. Of course, I couldn’t bring her in, so she pooped in my car. It took two weeks to get the smell out.

Whenever we’d take her to the park, people would stop and tell us how pretty she was. And you can’t tell me she didn’t understand them, because that adorable Aussie smile would take over her face.

She refused to be towel dried after a bath, preferring to do what J and I called the “Aussie air dry.” She would run around the house, rubbing herself against everything she could before finally flopping on the carpet and just rolling in whatever stink she could find.

She was a busybody… always too interested in what everyone else was doing to focus on behaving. She flunked obedience school. Twice.

We named her after Toledo Storm goalie, David Arsenault. Other names we tossed around: Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Jabba… I’ll never know where “Melissa” came from, but she was always Arsey Melissa.

She had her own song: “Arsey. She’s a puppy dog. Arsey. She’s not a big bullfrog. Arsey. She’s the puppy. She’s the puppy, she’s my puppy, she’s my dog…” (To the tune of the “Colonel Bogey March” from “Bridge Over the River Kwai.” You know - the whistled one.)

I dunno…

I think J’s final words to her were spot-on: “You’re the best girl.”

She was. She really, really was…