Saturday, April 9, 2011

Our Last Night With Ninja

It's taken me a while to feel comfortable posting the pictures of our last night with our sweet dog. Ninja came to us in 1999 after my father met Carlene. She was allergic to animals and Ninja was forced to live outdoors no matter the weather: sun, rain, sleet, or snow. He was an escape artist and would often runaway from my father's home. My dad didn't live far from highway 220 (less than 1/4 mile). After Ninja was picked up by animal control and missing for a few days, I drove in from college, to pick him up from the animal shelter. It was then that I decided he would be mine indefinitely.

He was born in Warrington, VA on a farm. His birth name: Secret Code Ninja. His breed - Shiba Inu. Ninja was a fantastic dog. Here are a few things that I loved about him

  • He was very cat-like
  • He didn't have typical dog odors. He actually smelled GOOD.
  • He rarely barked.
  • He loved to cuddle.
  • He was very friendly.
  • He received lots of attention from outsiders because he was a unique breed.
  • He was very OCD. My kind of dog.
  • He had a shiny coat.
  • He was very playful.
He was simply the easiest and most enjoyable dog I've ever had and trust me, I had MANY growing up. The only two complaints I had about his breed was his sneakiness in escaping and the twice-a-year "molting".

Darren and I treated him like gold prior to having children. He went on most of our vacations with us, he received MANY Christmas presents each year, car rides, long walks, he had a dog bed on every floor, yearly check ups at the vet and at least a twice a month trip to PetSmart. He mourned with me during Darren and I's ONLY break up and was by my side no matter what. He really did give great meaning to the saying "Man's Best Friend."

Aside from a long stay at the animal shelter, Ninja gave us little trouble. He did tear BOTH of his acl's and that was a very challenging time for us. You cannot tell a dog to sit still because his acl's are torn. And then there was the episode where he ran away in Raleigh, NC recently. I truly believe that was because he is elderly and couldn't find his way home. Other than that, he was a flawless dog.

As our children entered this world, life with our dog was minimized greatly. We loved him, but he was no longer our life. He was our dog.

In his last few months to one year left on this earth, Ninja became deaf and partially blind. He had a very sensitive stomach and would often throw up for no reason. He also had an insane amount of anxiety. If he was separated from me but knew I was close by, he would perform the "Sheba shrill", crying out for me. Ninja had a tumor in his mouth and massive dental issues. We made a very difficult decision to put him down after 3 long days of him loosing control of his bowel movements. He would poop in the house, step in it, and then walk with poop on his paws ALL over the house. On one day in particular, I had to clean the hardwood floors 3 times on my hands and knees. I was concerned about my children getting sick from his feces. His quality of life was virtually non-existent.

It was a very difficult decision to put him down. He was a sweet dog. You barely knew he existed in the house, but the few issues we were dealing with were not fair to him or to us. I think we did the best thing for him, but I still question if we made the right decision.

At times, I still expect to see him in the house. We remind the kids about him OFTEN, especially the twins. I don't want them to forget him. I miss him dearly, but I DO NOT miss having an animal. We are at a stage in our lives where we have a lot going on and sometimes it feels like it's more than we can handle, so it's probably a good thing we no longer have an animal to care for.

Ninja lived a long, great life. We will NEVER forget him. We know that dogs do not go to Heaven, but that he had his own little Heaven in our home. We chose to cremate Ninja, so in a sense, I feel like he's still with us. He "rests" on our bookshelf in a little paw print container. I hope to create a shelf dedicated to him, one day, when I make the time. I have yet to see what his ashes look like, but I am grateful we did not burry him. At least if we move, we can take him with us.

R.I.P. - November 1997 - February 2011.