On Loss, Longevity, and Fuzzy Companions

I found out recently that a family member of mine has lost their dog at a fairly young age due to an atypical form of leukemia. The dog hadn’t been well for a short while, and some testing revealed the disease, and after consultation with their vet, they had to decide to let her go. It is heartbreaking to lose a pet at any age, but it stings especially hard for a young dog. The very hard decision a pet owner has to make is one of the most difficult parts of having a pet.

I mentioned in my year in review that Mooki is aging and this past three weeks it has been painfully obvious. I think the day we will have to make that very hard decision is coming up for us soon.

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Mooki is 15 and is mostly blind (looks at those foggy eyes in that picture) and mostly deaf, and while she still has spurts of hilarious playfulness, she sleeps a lot, she is completely grey around her muzzle (used to be black) and spends a lot of time scared of an offered hand or a gentle pat she can’t see coming. She obviously feels confused about a lot of stuff.

I read once that the only fault with pets was that their owners almost always outlived them. Having a fuzzy companion, canine or feline, has improved my life significantly. Reaching far back into my memory until today: Denny, Lady, Morris, Slug, Bear, Lightning, Thunder, Bevan, and now Mooki. Numerous studies tell us the benefits of having a loving companion animal in your life – from getting off your butt to walk the dog to having a fuzzy non-judgemental heating blanket, pets are an ingrained part of our culture. The internet was pretty much invented to share pet pictures.

Kale is pretty sad that Mooki won’t come and sleep on his bed with him. We’ve tried a few times to encourage her to even sleep in his room so that he can have a warm, gentle, albeit snoring presence, but she is not interested. Even when we moved her bed she slept on the floor where we bed used to be in our room.

Mooki gets a pass on a lot of stuff these days because frankly, she is old and deserves to not be bothered about stuff, including where she sleeps, including the fancy vintage chair she’s not supposed to be on. IMG_6715

I will be sad when we lose Mooki and while a year ago I would have told you all the breeds of dogs I wanted after having owned a shiba inu (hint: not another shiba), I feel like now I can’t commit to anything. I know I’ll need time to grieve. I know Kale will need time, too.

7 years ago


  1. Well written. A lot of loving thought went into this one and I believe Mookie is one of the coolest dogs. She is just so sweet. I loved babysitting her occasionally before we got our latest beast but what a sweetie. Someone told me once that the average dog person would go through 7 dogs in a lifetime. Some more some less. They are a blessing and they only asked to be fed, kept warm, go for walks and love and for all this (which isn’t a lot you get back unconditional love.

  2. I have always loved the Mooki pictures, and am sad for you guys that her time is coming. Liam was present as his dog, Sox (a lovely mutt of the shepherd/lab variety that Liam’s dad adopted 11 years ago) “went over the rainbow bridge”. Liam sat on the floor of the vet’s and Sox-y’s head was in his lap. Liam held onto Sox and loved him as he passed…. which is all anyone can hope for. Thinking of you all, Jen.

  3. Beautifully written Jen. Thinking of you, Ross, Kale and Mooki. It is so sad to see a pet age. “Someone” made a mistake when parrots were given a life span of 70ish, and most dogs 12-15…Sorry you have to make this hard decision …You have been so helpful to us with the loss of both Bogey and Callie – but it is so much harder when it is you that has to make the decision…If you need to talk I am here.

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