RIP Guinness, 1997-2008

Jingle dog
Guinness

More said news from my family. On Christmas Eve, we had to put Skeeter to sleep. It was sudden and very sad.

I just got a call from my Mom that Guinness, our other dog, had to be put to sleep as well. He had a sudden liver problem and was going to need to go through far too much for an 11 year old dog in order to have a chance of recovery. So today at lunch, they let him go.

Guinness was my stepfather's dog, Skeeter was my mom's. The two lived together their entire lives. He was a Glen of Imaal Terrier, Skeeter was a PBGV: rare breeds that don't look — or act — at all dignified. Glens don't usually bark, PBGV's are verbal, Guinness picked up the habit. His bark was a clipped "Rrrrooo!" with a rolled R.

Guinness's job was to be alpha over Skeetie — he shoulder-checked him into the pool, chased him from the couch, and tried without success to get Skeeter's rawhides. He was also very good at chasing raccoons up trees and keeping them there — for hours.

My mom says that when Skeeter died, Guinness became an old man quickly. It's so sad to know that neither of them will greet me when I come home the next time. The house will be so quiet.

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Protection

There’s a nice epilogue to the whole grading story for the semester. On Monday, I got email from the professor who taught my favorite class last semester — a straight history class on Europe between the wars. I got an A- on the paper and an A in the class. (It made me cry.) This is all the more amazing to me because it’s the first college level straight history class I’ve taken. I’ve taken history of any number of things, just not a strict history class. It was a lot of work — sometimes 500+ pages of reading a week. But I loved it.

So I stopped by to visit the professor on Wednesday to say hello and thank you. He owns a little red terrier who comes to school with him. She and I like each other. I rub her ears, he and I discuss Germany history in the 20s and the 60s.

Anyway, another student tried to open the door and she ran over, barking. The student quickly shut the door.

“Very interesting,” he said. “You know what she just did? She protected you.”

I looked down and she was looking up at me, very pleased with herself. I told her she was a good dog and of course, rubbed her ears.

Things must be okay if my favorite professor’s terrier is going to bat for me.

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Skeeter, 1994-2007

My mom got Skeeter around the time I finished college in November 1994. He was a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, a PBGV for short. The best part of coming home to visit my family was the cacophonous din he made when I walked in the door, like an avant-garde cello concerto. Tail wagging, banging into everything. He would bump his forehead against my shins so I could rub his ears.

This morning, we had to put Skeeter to sleep. He'd had a bunch of complications related to a low blood platelet count. He was still able to walk but he was so tired. He'd been through hell yesterday but the decline was so fast, not a long, slow illness. He was hanging out in my room with me on Wednesday, the day after I arrived — jumped up on the arm chair you see above to hang out with me. And that din? He made noise when I walked in the door Tuesday night.

Before the vet administered the shot, he bumped his forehead into my shins so I could rub his ears one last time. My mom and stepfather gave him hugs. We all petted him. And then we let him go.

I love that little guy. I'm going to miss him so much. Coming home will never be the same.

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