Words cannot express how sad and tired we are after the last couple of months. We noticed something was wrong with Peanut on May 24th, when went to Lake Tuscarora. We bought the boys a hamburger and fries to split. We don’t often deviate from their usual diet, but on special occasions, like their birthdays, or days out like that, we’ll do something special for them.
But that day, we had to coax Peanut to finish the food. We thought maybe his stomach was upset already, and the food was too greasy for him… but that was so far out of character I had a gut feeling there was something else wrong. In the week following his appetite waned further. He began looking skinnier. Finally, we took him to the vet. The vet suggested that maybe his bad teeth were hurting him. He’d worn most of his teeth down to nubs chewing his way out of every crate we bought him. After surgery to remove 5 teeth, the vet gave us antibiotics.
But, his appetite didn’t improve. The vet didn’t really know what was wrong, but gave us some steroids and other medicine to wrestle into him. We pureed some chicken and rice with water and forced the food into him with a syringe. Finally, after a few days of that and the steroid, he seemed a bit better. His appetite faltered again, so we got talked into weekly injections at the vet, in addition to the steroids.
But, earlier this week, just before the steroid ran out, his appetite tanked again. The vet came to the conclusion that it had to be cancer. And we couldn’t put him through chemo. He was already so frail and fragile. It was heart breaking. We spent a lot of time with him his last couple of days. He was never alone. He wasn’t crated. He was loved.
We’ve had a rough 8 years with Peanut. We got him at 1 and a half years old. He was just a few months younger than Chester. He was an enigmatic mix of Beagle and Spaniel. Showing traits of both breeds; both good and bad traits. He was sweet, he was loving. He had a streak of willfulness that made him so unique. After dinner most nights, if either Lisa or I started heading upstairs, he would run past us and jump into bed. We’d go to get Greta ready for bed, and if we couldn’t find him, we’d go look in our bedroom and he’d be leaning casually against the pillows like, “Oh, what, we’re not going to bed yet?”
That willful streak was a force to be reckoned with. He often made messes in the house out of spite. He once broke open the bin where we kept the dog food, and ate until he made himself sick; he was actually visibly fatter when I got home and found him sleeping contentedly. But, despite all the frustration, all the time spent on hands and knees cleaning puddles and piles, we wouldn’t trade our time with him for anything.
Chester has always been the more outgoing of our dogs, but Peanut, somehow was always the more loved by most other people. Because Peanut was never about just himself. Peanut was always just aloof enough that if he came to you, if he chose to jump in your lap, he made you think, “I’m special.” Unlike Chester who will sit with anyone who will pet him. Peanut had a way of making you be happy, without seeming like he was fulfilling his own needs. Lisa calls it charm. I don’t know that I have a word for it, but Charm fits nicely.
The pictures above are some of our favorites of him. Below are some of his last, including one video where we got him to howl just a little, one last time. Goodbye, friend, you will forever be loved and missed, no matter how angry I got with you.