Sunday, March 20, 2016

Lily: 12 years of Pug Love

12 years ago I first fell in love with Lily. I had looked at many different types of dogs and visited many puppies before I found the ad for pug puppies. I remember walking into the owner's living room and seeing the little baby pool with 4 or 5 little pug puppies that were so tiny, just under 6 weeks. Lily was the runt. They called her Midge for Midget but she didn't look like  a Midge to me. All her sisters and brothers were walking all over her. I picked her up and played with her for a second before putting her back in the middle. She came right back to me and looked at me with those huge bug eyes as if saying 'if you don't save me...this is what I have to look forward to everyday'. I fell in love. I took her that day having zero dog items in my college apartment. I had to go out that day and buy food and a bed and dishes etc. 
It is well known to anyone who knew Lily that she had 9 lives. By 6 months old we had her spayed. Throughout the next year she had UTI after UTI after UTI. She was becoming a problem child for a poor college student. She started looking lopsided with a mass growing on one side. After multiple vet visits it was decided Lily had a mass that needed to be explored/removed surgically. She was opened from head to tail only to find out the mass was her kidney. She was closed up and we were told we needed to head to Michigan State for removal. At this point, my parents and Jason were suggesting Lily be put down. They could see I was sinking a lot of money into a very young dog that very well could have medical issues her entire life. Despite their suggestion we brought Lily to Michigan State for a nephrectomy. They called me with good news. The surgery was going to be covered by the veterinarian. Why? Because they found that her ureter was sutured on accident when she was spayed.
This explained everything. I was very upset. Despite not getting every dime back from all the doctors visits, we did get the surgeries paid for and the veterinarian apologized. I knew at this time that I was going into medicine and I realized that I had to accept her mistakes and her apology. I figured that unfortunately I was going to make mistakes in my medical career. I needed people willing to love and forgive me just as I forgave her. 
Many other occasians Lily has used up life after life but about a year and a half ago Lily developed swelling on the right side of her face within a matter of a day or two. I had to take her to the doggie ER to find out she had a stone blocking one of her salivary glands. They were able to remove it and she improved. However, this was quite expensive and we decided that we were NOT going to pursue surgery as suggested. It was a few more months when it developed on the other side of her face (see picture below). This was right around Christmas and we decided we were going to have to send Lily to doggie heaven. That morning of her appointment she actually looked somewhat better. I have no idea how, but she improved on her own without treatment (unless you count Jason putting lemon juice in her food to try to prevent the stones?). Lily continued to do well following that but over the last year declined. She stopped walking on the wood floors and her hind legs gave out on her quite frequently. She also developed a worsening cough that waxed and waned. Unfortunately Lily started having accidents in the house and wouldn't even go down the front steps of the porch if you were to let her outside. We were carrying her everywhere. I was starting to realize we had lost our dog a long time ago and I was holding on to her for selfish reasons.

 Lily was never a fan of dressing up. But that didn't stop me. She had sweaters for the winter time, she had U of M shirts for game days, she had a new Halloween costume every year....and she always gave me the same despising look.

Before we brought Austin home from the hospital, we brought Lily home a blanket we had been wrapping Austin in so she could sniff it out. It was hilarious when we first brought Austin home in his car seat. Lily was incredibly excited and probably sniffed her car seat for more than 10 minutes.

We always brought Lily with us on our trips to the U.P. No surprise that she typically slept the entire drive up there. For the first 5 years of our marriage, Lily was our child so we brought her everywhere. Here she is with my mother-in-law's pug puppy.

Lily was a big fan of my parents house. My dad always took care of Lily whenever needed. We always joked she went to fat camp when she was with my dad but not really. He did take her for lots of walks but she always got double the treats. I remember when Lily discovered my parents cherry tomato plant. She'd often gobble up all the ones within her reach.

When you become a pug lover, like all other people completely obsessed with their dog breed, I would receive all sorts of pug gifts. I even joined a pug meet up group when we lived in Kalamazoo. There would be 20-30 pugs and owners and you can imagine there was A LOT of snorting going on.

Lily made it into many family photos over the years. Despite losing 10% of her body weight when she had a kidney removed, she was always good at putting on a few pounds. I think she was always on a diet in her life which didn't really ever do anything for her girlish figure. In order to lose weight you'd have to eat a balanced diet and exercise. I don't think Lily knew what the word exercise meant. She enjoyed walks when she was younger but she wasn't typically a fan of long walks.

One of the many times I dressed Lily up for Halloween. You can tell how thrilled she is.

Lily had such a dark black face before she aged. This was taken at our house in Kalamazoo. She has to be quite young here because I am pretty sure she lost her 'neck' as she gained weight.

She loved our house in Kalamazoo. She was the perfect height to watch out the windows for people and cars.

This is when my Mom decorated the tree in red, white, and blue since Jason was coming home from Iraq right at Christmas time. Lily was almost 2 years old here.

Lily loved going along to the cabin. She'd go everywhere with us and explore. She has always been good at sticking around wherever we are. She barely ever needed a leash.

 Another photo from one of our trips to the cabin.
Lily often crossed over into the horses' field. We couldn't ever get in there ourselves, but we often fed the horses carrots and apples. Well sure enough Lily would just walk right under the fence and go say her hello.
I can't believe how little the kids look here. Lily was smart. She always followed Ava who is always carrying food around with her.
And Lily was the master of finding the person with food. At many family events down on our beach, Lily was right there at your feet waiting for you to drop something. Despite being covered in sand, she'd eat it. There wasn't much that Lily didn't eat. She was the best vaccum we ever had.
My cousin Tara's youngest daughter Grace is a BIG fan of Lily. She always followed Lily around and pointed at her with big smiles.
All of our relatives loved Lily like their own. Here's Jason's Dad with her on one of his visits down to see us. He always gave her plenty of scratches and attention.
Here's Jason's stepdad and Mom. Kirk was the same with Lily. Loved her so very much. Lily was a people person. She'd sit by you and nudge you to scratch her. She knew who would give her the most attention and whenever Kirk was around, she was sure to hang at his side.
She got quite grey in the face as she aged and gained a few more wrinkles.
You could always count on her to snuggle up. She was a great bed warmer. She slept in our bed just until about a year and a half ago when she developed a nagging cough that woke you up at all hours of the night.
I was attracted to pug stuff everywhere! I didn't buy any of these signs but they hold truth.
Lily was never a swimmer. Although it may be obvious that she wasn't built for swimming. I remember when she was a puppy and we brought her to the U.P. she was very curious about the goldfish pond Jason's Grandma has in her garden. Sure enough Lily fell right in!

Lily loved when we moved into our current neighborhood with the lake. She'd walk along the shore and kick up water into her mouth.  This was one of those occasions. She'd then go lay in the shade and sleep all day. Such a perfect dog for our busy lives.
Oh Lily. I won't forget how grumpy you got in your old age. Or at least we pretended you were. You were probably just incredibly content. But thank-you for never once getting angry with the kids. They sure loved you. Ava asked the other day where you were, if you were inside or outside. It was hard to answer her without tears. She said she would scratch your back if you were still here. Austin found out you were gone and asked if we could get a cat. Don't worry, I promise we will NEVER get a cat.
Only fitting that you snuggled Grandpa every moment you got. He gave you more treats and walked you more than any of us. You were his 'fatso'. He came over to our house when we were all at work and school and made sure you were taken care of. Even though most days we found you in the same spot we left you. Always making sure to get enough naps in the day.
Happy 12th Birthday today my puppy. You were always my puppy and always will be. It's too quiet around here without you. There will never be another dog like you that's for sure. You were THE perfect dog for me. I am sure you are in doggie heaven in an enormous pool filled with treats and bacon and peanut butter and jelly sandwich crust. Miss you so much!

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