Boomer was never my dog, although he came into my care when I married his owner. I’m not sure how old he was when I got him. My dog, Tess, was two and Boomer was older.
A small, part-Beagle, part terrier, Boomer hadn’t had a regular dog’s life. He had never eaten dog food and had never been on a leash. He was served a piece of Kentucky Fried chicken on a plate the first time I ate dinner at my fiance’s house, a house he shared with his mom.
Boomer stared up at me through the glass table top as if to say, “Who are you and what are you doing here?” Future hubby’s mother had the same look.
Tess and Boomer had fun romping through the park together, although Boomer was just a little guy, about ten pounds, and Tess was a medium sized dog at 40 pounds.
We got married in Omaha, and for our honeymoon, we drove halfway across the country with Tess in her crate in the back seat and Boomer on my lap, shooting gassy farts at me.
My husband laughed and laughed. We were in my tiny 4-cylinder Chevy, and the January winds blowing across Kansas kept us from reaching the speed limit.
Boomer settled into his California digs and learned how to eat dog food. My husband insisted on giving him table scraps as well. Both dogs got fat.
Then the babies disrupted Boomer’s life some more. He didn’t like children much, having been teased by one as a puppy. He’d snap at the baby if she got too close. Tess, on the other hand, let kids sit on her back while she lay on the floor.
By the time we had two kids, Boomer was turning gray. We had moved into our second California house, and he was having trouble seeing and hearing me call him for dinner. My husband traveled a lot, which left me to care for his aging pet.
One night, Boomer went out the laundry room doggie door to the garage and then the side doggie door to the yard. He couldn’t find his way back, and he ended up in an open metal lunch box, barking because he couldn’t get out of it. I was freaked out, very pregnant, home alone, and too afraid to get him out of his predicament at 3:00 a.m. We’d had raccoons come into the garage through the side door. I saved him at sun-up.
There were two steps down to the garage from the laundry room door. One day I stepped out the door to the garage and tripped over carpet that had been nailed to the steps by my husband. He hadn’t bothered to tell me that he did that to help out his dog. I was furious (being very pregnant) that my husband had created a trip hazard for me. I had to explain to him what a fall might mean to the baby. I tore the carpet off the steps.
Boomer’s quality of life kept deteriorating. I suggested that it was time to put him out of his misery. My husband disagreed. We went round and round about it until Boomer had to be carried in and out to pee.
I put my foot down. My husband did the deed but never forgave me for it.
Ah, pets! It is so hard to say good-bye, but until someone breeds a dog that can live as long as humans do, it is part of life, and there’s no avoiding it.