Friday, July 25, 2008

A Sad Farewell to a Great Dog - Good Bye Mushka

I am sad beyond words. My beloved dog Mushka died yesterday. She was my friend, confidant, protector and trail partner for more than a decade. She was such a wonderful companion and she enriched our lives in so many ways. I will miss her. I already do.

Mushka had been sick for a little more than a year with Dilated Cardiomyopathy. We did not expect her to make it this long with the disease. During this difficult year, she was a stoic trooper; happy even when uncomfortable and more interested in pleasing us than herself. I have never met a more selfless being in my life.

Jesper and I nicknamed her My Morning Mushka because of her excitement every single morning to start the day. Once the alarm went off, she would prop her front paws on the bed and make noises like a howler monkey. And then she learned to trill. I've never heard a dog make a noise like that. Sometimes she would run off and grab a toy and shove it in our face as if to say, "Get up, start the day and play with me!"

Of course, she was also interested in being fed (she was part Lab afterall). But as she got sicker and sicker and her appetite diminished, she was still excited to start the day even though her interest in the food was low. My Morning Mushka.

Mushka made her presence known; she was no wall flower. I called her Queen La Mushka. She was black, female and large and in charge. Queen La Tifa should be honored. I felt safe with Mushka no matter where I went alone. She was very protective, especially of me. Although it was sometimes embarrassing when she would bark and growl at other people when I ran or biked with her, I knew that nobody would mess with me.

We are comforted that she went quickly and hopefully did not suffer in her last minutes. Although she had a rough year, she was not in pain and was happy. We take solace that we were able to afford the treatment she needed this past year; many people would not have been able to afford the medication and other treatment necessary to keep their precious pet alive for so long with this disease.

I have more than 12 years of wonderful memories of Mushka, the last 4+ that Jesper shares with me. Mushka had physically diminished in the last year, but in my minds eye, I see her as the strong, lean and muscular trail dog that she was up until she got sick.

This morning was too quiet. No howler monkey noises and no trilling. Absent from the breakfast routine was Mushka prancing about for her food, for the treat she would get when we ate our breakfast and for when she would lick the plates before they went in the dishwasher.

I know the rest of the day will continue to be filled with her absence. I miss her.


redstone said...

So sorry, Jen.

In a Van Down By the St. Vrain River said...

A very sad event but what a nice tribute. This brings back some bittersweet memories, having gone through the same experience a few times.


The Big Guy said...

Sorry Jen,

I'm a student at Columbia University doing a master's thesis on people's love for their pets...I'd love to talk with you about this....

my email:

Kim said...

I'm so sorry Jen.

JenyJo said...

aw jen... i'm SO sorry for your loss --- you posted a wonderful write up for her.... wonderful pictures you posted of her, i'm so glad you posted them up.

be well, jen.



Rick said...

I'm so sorry to hear this Jen.
I have great memories of her also; blocking for you on the trail during rides (how did you teach her that?) :-), hanging out in the Jeep on the way home after a ride, being the best "guard dog" and sweetie all at the same time.
A great tribute and pictures.

trainwreck said...

so sorry jen. my thoughts are with you.