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- Growing Up Bronx
The title may somewhat misleading, as Calbee wasn’t “my” dog, she was my wife’s sister’s dog. Until the girls got married, the whole family lived together, and Calbee was the family dog. When I first met her nearly a decade ago, she was not friendly to me at all. She barked, and growled, and basically behaved like those little dogs often do with strangers.
Over time, she realized that I was a regular fixture, and she stopped barking at me, she accepted that I was one of the family. She always barked at other dogs, and other people, but I was no longer a target. Now, this accepting version of Calbee, though not outright hostile, was never very affectionate or loving. Calbee was the kind of dog that you’d say is more like a cat. She was perfectly fine laying down in the room near you, or on the sofa by your side, but she wouldn’t lick you, or “play” with you, that just wasn’t her style.
Obviously, whenever I had food, she’d come over to me, and pay me some attention. Sometimes when I’d pet her, and then stop, she’d poke me with her little paw, which was her way of either asking, or ordering me to continue. When my wife was giving her a haircut, or a bath, she’d come to me to help her. She didn’t like those activities.
Over the last month, she was with me and my wife as her parents were traveling. She started to live with mom and dad after my sister in law had a baby. Calbee wasn’t friendly to the baby, and I believe he was allergic. So we often dog sat, and my wife would bring her down to walk her, or simply so that she wouldn’t be lonely upstairs. They had another person who stayed up there, but this individual was not to be trusted, so to protect her, we’d bring her down.
So over this last month, she’s been my constant companion. We had lunch together nearly every day. I’d give her some of my lunch everyday, and she’d eat the good stuff. She was a picky eater, but she loved my chicken!
Calbee was almost 16 years old. She was weak, had trouble standing and moving about, and was mostly confined to her bed. She’d only move to poop, greet my wife, or to get food. On occasion she’d go for a walk, but again, her legs were giving out, and she was mostly resting. Sometimes she peed or pooped on the rug, and I never got mad. She’s old, old people pee and poop themselves, why would a dog be any different? We knew that she was old, and that she’d leave us in the not so distant future. However, we didn’t expect her to go on New Year’s Day. That sucked bad. However, I’m grateful that she didn’t suffer much.
Yesterday, my wife was crying, she said that she thought Calbee was going to die soon because she seemed really weak. She asked me what she should do? I said that unless she was in obvious pain, that the best thing to do is leave her in her home, on her bed. I think that doggies, as much as humans, would like to be in their own homes and beds at the end. So that’s what we did, kept her upstairs.
Over night, they said she made a loud bark, and they checked up on her, and lightly pet her. She went back to her bed, and later on, when they came to check on her, she was laying there stiff, and had left this world. My wife told me crying, and we went about handling the logistics of a dead pet, and started grieving. I was terribly sad, it broke my heart to see my wife crying like this.
When we went upstairs, she was still on her bed, but covered, as per my wife’s request. This was a good thing, I don’t think she could have handled seeing her. I wanted to say goodbye, and pet her one last time, so I picked up the blanket, and I saw her there, laying down, holding an eternal stare, eyes opened, looking as if she were right there, but knowing that this was a lifeless body. This was too much for me to bare, and I didn’t want them to see, so I ran into the bathroom, and I began to sob uncontrollably. Hidden from sight. Looking at her, seeing exactly what I have seen all these years, but with no life, that just tore me up. She was a cute, little dog. Like I said, she wasn’t exceptionally friendly, or affectionate, but we had our bonds.
I’ll miss Calbee, in our own weird way, we bonded. The family gave her a good life, and she went as comfortable as one could go. She isn’t the first doggy I’ve said goodbye to, but I’ll always remember her.