A Tribute to Magoo, 1999-2007 2007 June 15Posted by @jennyjenjen in Family, I miss..., Miscellaneous, Off-topic.
Just two weeks ago, I had been getting ready for a big night at my nation. It was the last club night and I was working in the kitchen, and later we would hit the dance floor and party like fools. It turned out to be a great time with my friends and a great end to the school year. The next day was a little painful (bright sun, quite the headache!) but as I cycled home from a friend’s place, the sun was so warm and the weather so beautiful that I could not be any happier than I was in those moments. It wouldn’t last long, though.
By then, it was Saturday afternoon and when I got home I rang my father. He was a bit concerned because my dog, a 7½-year-old Chinese Shar-Pei named Magoo, had developed a sore spot on his leg and was not eating again, although they had changed his food. He was becoming rather thin and they decided that it was time to take him to the vet.
On the next Monday, the vet examined Magoo. He was in a bit of pain, as I could hear over the phone when I called my father. It was unbearable to listen to. The vet figured that it was an infection, especially since Magoo also had a fever. I told my father on the phone my concern that this was something much, much more serious than a simple infection. I was, for the first time, really afraid that something was very wrong with my dog.
You see, Magoo had been “my” dog. Although I went away to school almost four years ago, I went home enough to see Magoo and spend some good time with him. It still wasn’t as much as I would’ve wanted, though, and had been used to while in high school; Magoo, having in the beginning slept in a dog crate, starting sleeping upstairs near all of us and then soon by my door. Soon thereafter I let him sleep on my floor in my room. He listened to me a lot and followed me around a lot. When we first got him in Chicago seven years ago, I was the first person to see him at the door. And I played with him and stayed by him constantly. Although he belonged to our family, I’d like to think that Magoo and I had the strongest bond.
But I knew that this was a pretty serious problem. It made me cry to hear him in so much pain. In just a few more days, things got even more worse. He was not eating at all, hardly drinking, and in so much pain that my mother took him to the vet again and got him on pain medications. We called the breeder from which we got him and a veterinarian who specializes in Shar-Peis. It turned out that it could be a very serious disease called Familial Shar-Pei Fever. He showed all the signs.
After talking to the breeder, we decided to find a place where we could get some blood samples. My parents took him to a nearby town and the veterinarian there discovered that his kidney and liver functions were not good, although his kidney functions were not gone. We were starting to realize that Magoo might not make it through this.
For such a healthy dog, this was the first time we really encountered serious problems. He had never really been sick, although he often had skin problems (like most Shar-Peis) and needed extra attention to his ears and eyes (again, like most Shar-Peis). My mother and father told me to prepare for the worst.
Later we began to put him on IV fluids and make him comfortable with pain medications. He was also put on colchisine, a drug commonly used to treat gout in humans. It helped with his sore leg, and he began to put more weight on it. I was calling my father several times a day, incredibly worried at what was going to happen. How could my dog get so sick when I was only weeks from coming home?
I really beat myself up over not going home earlier. I had originally intended to spend time with a particular (cough) person (cough) who also wanted to travel a little, and I wanted to milk all the time I could here in Sweden. I could never have known that my dog would fall ill. In the beginning of my dog getting sick, I was also worried because my grandfather had been put in the hospital for observation after becoming dehydrated. I had been more worried about my grandfather until they told me that he would go back to the nursing home soon, and at the same time my dog was beginning to get worse. See, I had prepared for my grandfather possibly not being there when I came home. But I had not prepared for my dog not being there. Still, I felt very guilty. I had not seen my dog since the middle of August, and I was worried that he was beginning to think that I had abandoned him. There he was, so sick, and “his person” was not there to take care of him. But my parents and brother did a good job for me. I had my father and brother put me on speaker phone to talk to him and he seemed to perk up a bit. My father took him for a couple of walks when I expressed concern that he might not get another walk, and we tried our best to get him to eat his favorite food – cheese. You couldn’t say the word “cheese” around Magoo without giving him the idea that he might get some. But he wouldn’t eat.
Over the course of the week since he had gotten really sick, we had some hope that he might be okay. He walked around a lot more, tried to eat but couldn’t keep it down, but was more alert than before. However, by the next Sunday, it was not looking good. He just couldn’t take it anymore, and now blood was showing up when he threw up. My mother came home from work knowing that it was not going to be long. My hopes to record something for him to hear and watch before he went would not happen. He curled up in front of the front door – maybe even waiting for me, but also seeking a cooler place in the house – and at nearly 11 pm on Sunday, 10 June, Goo died with my parents and brother there petting him and comforting him until his last breath.
I was crushed.
There was nothing anyone could have done. Nothing would have stopped this, at least according to my mother (a nurse) and the vets we had taken him to. My parents said that he was so terribly thin and sick that it would have pained me more to see him that way. I agree. But I still cannot get over not seeing him for almost an entire year, and so close to my return he passed away. I realize that it is better for him that way, and that is fine with me. I just still have terrible guilt at not getting to spend time with him one last time before I knew he would be gone.
In a way, I did have a decent goodbye. Although I never knew I wouldn’t see him again, when I did say goodbye to him before leaving for Sweden, it was happy. I didn’t cry, mostly because I forced myself not to; he’s a dog, I thought, a wonderful dog that will remember me when I get home. But I can remember him as happy and healthy. I know he missed me quite a lot while I was gone, but my father doesn’t think that he felt abandoned; my parents and brother were still around, and I called and talked to him even over webcam. He liked to hear my voice.
I’ll have a lot of great memories of Magoo. I’ll miss his soft ears and the way he wagged that goofy tail of his, all curled up like a cinnamon bun. I’ll miss the way he practically melted into the floor, enjoying the cool surface of the wood and blending in with it, too. I’ll miss how he liked to chase tennis balls around the deck, completely missing the point of fetch. I’ll miss how he watched over the backyard, not chasing the rabbits but certainly looking at them, and how he liked sniffing at the other dogs on the other side of the fence. I’ll miss how incredibly lively he was. And maybe I will realize that things happen for a reason, and perhaps if things had turned out differently it would’ve been worse. But I don’t want to dwell on it. I’ll just think about how happy Magoo could be if he’s somewhere else now.
If you have gotten this far through my mostly self-beneficial tribute – a way for me to mourn – I’m asking that you consider giving what you can to the Rescue a Shar-Pei organization. The dog we had before Magoo, a black Shar-Pei named Beau, came from the organization, and the breeder from whom we got Magoo helps run it. It would mean a lot to me, and it could help someone else experience the great companionship of a Shar-Pei. Maybe you’ll even see a dog that you might want to take home and love, too.
AKC name All-Star Footloose
30 Dec. 1999- 10 June 2007