"There's something I need to admit to you about Gordie," Scott said, as we settled in to watch some bad Stephen King last night. "When we first got together, you told me that pugs could live to be 15.
"I started having second thoughts."
"No, I was thinking that if Gordie lived to be 15, I'd be 61," he said. "I didn't know if I could survive that."
As he spoke those words, he patted Gordie on his little black bastard head. Every evening, Scott gets "Gordie duty" which means that his lap becomes Gordie's chair where he plops himself to snore and fart contentedly after a hard day of doing absolutely nothing.
This chore is not for the faint of heart. Gordie sometimes also lets fly with three perfect nuggets of shit. No long runners for Gord. Not one or two. But a hat trick. Always a hat trick of perfectly formed turds the size of mini chunky chocolate bars. There's no moaning and groaning. No time to get him outside. They just slide out of his butt hole effortlessly.
He also does this shit trick for company. Sometimes on them. Sometimes behind them. Usually right in front of them.
He is the Sidney Crosby of incontinence.
Hey, he says, telepathically. It's how I roll. When a guy's gotta go, a guy's gotta go.
For years, he's been a pretty hard to love little individual. But we put up with him. Of course, we do.
He's our dog.
Last night, Scott held Gordie a little tighter.
"But you know, I love the little bastard."
Gordon Blackstone had just returned from his new vet, Marie-Andree, who replaced his old vet who tried to kill him twice. Well, she didn't do so intentionally. When Gordie had his first operation, back when he was about three, she didn't sew him up quite tight enough and so his fatso stomach fell out of the incision leaving him looking like he'd swallowed a balloon. To her credit, the vet paid another more skilled surgeon to do a second operation, which seemed to work fine, so all was forgiven.
We had to forgive her. After all, she did save his life before almost killing him.
Last spring, she slipped again.
After she bragged that she never lost a pug on the table.
Then she killed Ming. Fortunately for her, her record was intact. She killed Ming before dental surgery.
"She shouldn't really have had the dental surgery," she confessed. "She doesn't have the respiration and she wouldn't make it through surgery."
So I said goodbye to Ming anyway because she had a respiratory attack before the vet could get the line in.
"But Gordie, his surgery went well."
Now did it?
We brought Gordie home from dental surgery and he wasn't the same dog. He just stared blankly at us instead of getting up in our faces. It was as if the vet had pulled his teeth and given him a lobotomy.
So for the past year, Gordie's pretty much been Cuckoo's Nest.
He retreats to a small space behind my chair where he tucks in and makes himself very small.
This is not our L'll Bow Wow.
This pug is something out of Pet Sematary.
Sorry, Ms. Simpson, he died on the table. We buried him in the Derry Cemetary but he climbed back out. Sure he's smelly and mangy and almost a stick of furniture, but hey, he's still a pug.
There were a few upsides. He stopped pissing everywhere. He stopped barking every ten seconds. And stopped menacing my baby granddaughter.
But I wanted the old Gordie back.
Ever since the dental surgery, he's been declining. His once lustrous fur is dull and flaky. He has lost all the hair around his collar. He has to be carried out for a pee, not an easy task considering he is now 30 pounds of dead weight. I've actually started to list to one side.
It took me over a year to get up the courage to take him back to the vet. I wasn't going back to Dr. Death. I couldn't be sure he'd make it back out the door.
So yesterday, we took Gordie to a new vet, a vet who would hopefully uphold the Hippocratic Oath and do no harm. Marie-Andree spent an hour with us, pouring over his records which were two inches thick and represented our entire retirement fund.
She felt his joints, the ones we expected were arthritic. They were fine. She checked his heart. Aces. She weighed him. Overweight, but to be expected for a pug who hadn't moved from behind the chair for a year.
Then she took some blood to check for hypothyroidism.
The vet didn't seem too concerned.
"He's just old and weak," she said. "If it's the thyroid, we can give him pills for that and he'll be fine."
But what about the dementia?
"Well, certainly, he could have had some neurological damage. But the fact is, he's totally blind," she said, "At best, he can only see shadows."
Well, of course he was. That explained everything. Why he couldn't find his food bowl. Why he kept falling down the steps. Why he sometimes barked at the wall.
And with that, we paid our three hundred dollar bill, thanked her and carted Gordie away.
But not before he gave his own two cents worth by shitting on the vet.
Update: Gordon has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, as we suspected. He also has the beginnings of Addison's Disease. He will be medicated shortly but live to see another summer. Yay!