Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Saviour Owen Meany February 1993 - September 2008

Over 15 years ago, Dan and I were walking around Hamilton Place mall a month or so after we had gotten engaged. We spotted the cutest little shih tzu in the pet store. We played with him a little and then walked back out in the mall discussing if we would get a dog after we married and what kind we might get, etc.
I remember sitting on one of those mall benches dreaming about what we might name a dog when we did get one. We were filled with ideas about the life that we were starting to plan with one another. We agreed that we would get an inside dog. I'd always wanted one but had never been allowed and Dan had always had them at his house.
Dan and I had taken a trip to Florida over spring break earlier that year and during the drive I had read out loud the entire novel A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. (I guess that was before we even knew audio books existed.) After hearing that high pitched, squeaky bark in the pet store that was way bigger than the dog itself, we agreed that the perfect name for that little puppy would be Owen, since he reminded us both of the little boy with the high pitched, very loud squeaky voice that we had enjoyed reading about in John Irving's novel.

I guess once you name a dog, it's yours. We didn't have the money to buy him, but they approved me to buy Owen on credit (at who knows what interest). So, a couple of hours later we were the proud owners of a black and white shih tzu named Our Saviour Owen Meany. That was our first purchase as a couple. And boy was it a good one!
Those of you who know Owen, know that from the beginning he had personality. He definitely had a mind of his own and opinions about lots of things. He never really liked other dogs too much and didn't care for children either. I always thought that he had a little bit of a short man syndrome and wanted to bully anything that he thought he could. Dan suspected that he probably had bad experiences with kids in the pet store before we rescued him. At any rate, we always worried that it would be a problem if we ever had children.
A few years ago, we decided to take in another shih tzu, Foxxy Cleopatra. I wouldn't say that Owen welcomed her into his home with open arms but he definitely came to love her and I think that her perkiness probably extended his life. He was certainly much more active after we got her.
But while I was pregnant, we discovered that Owen had lymphoma and treatment options were limited due to my condition. He didn't seem to have any symptoms other than the tumors growing below his ears, so, we opted for conservative treatments throughout my pregnancy. Owen was already almost 14 years old.

Once we had Max, Owen seemed to have lost most of his hearing, either because of old age or because of the tumors, and was really unphased by the addition to the family. A blessing in disguise I guess. A couple of months ago it seemed that the tumors were growing again so we began some new medications and he responded positively but we knew our time with him was limited. We agreed that we would do everything we could to give him a good quality of life, but once that was deteriorated, we would not let him suffer.
So, yesterday evening, all of the sudden Owen seemed to have lost most of his vision and became very disoriented. We carried him to bed with us, where he gobbled down his bedtime treats just like always. But when he wasn't any better this morning, and couldn't go for our morning walk, we knew it was time to say goodbye.
Owen lived a very long and very happy life. Dan and I are so grateful for the time we had with him and all that he taught us about being responsible adults and creating a loving home. We can't imagine a life without him and are going to miss him beyond belief. Thanks for sharing in our loss and keep us in your thoughts on this very sad day.
Much love,

Monday, September 8, 2008

Showdown at the MM Corral

I could use several paragraphs to describe what it is like to babysit my son. It is much easier if I just sum it up for you.

Max is mobile.
Max is quick.
Max does not sit still unless he is asleep (even then he squirms a little).

Shannon and I have resorted to what we call the MM Corral. The MM Corral consists of strategically placed couches, loveseats, ottomans and footrests. Like coaches describing an NFL running back, “We can’t stop him…we only hope to contain him.”

The truth is, it works like a charm. We can spend Saturday afternoons playing with Max instead of chasing him.

We should enjoy it while it lasts. It won’t be long before he will figure out how to get out and then we better lace up the running shoes.