Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The One Eyed Pug is gone

Over fourteen years ago, I placed a six week old, one pound Pug into a small basket and put him in my car. I'd bought him from a farm in Delano, Minnesota and on that cold winter day the first thing I did before I even brought him home was to drive to the hospital to show my mother - she was recovering from hip surgery.
I tucked him in well thinking the nurses might not let me into the room with a puppy, but one saw his huge eyeballs on his little face and they all came running in delight.

Today I laid his fourteen year old body in the same basket, and wrapped his red night blanket around him. I had driven him to the vet this morning to help him on his way. His time had come. But it still took strength to face the fact that I was driving him to his final breath. I know I did the right thing - his coughing was no longer helped by steroids, his back end was weaker each day from his compressed spine and he couldn't settle. I felt he had reached a point where sleep was his only form of comfort, but it was harder for him to settle into sleep. He could no longer make it outside on time, and had little eyesight and hearing left.

I kept believing he still had quality of life, since his favorite things had always been napping, snorting around for crumbs and sleeping on my lap. While he still was excited for breakfast, I knew I was keeping him around for selfish reasons at this point. He could have had a stroke or heart attack with the constant coughing and breathing issues.

But oh, he is missed already. To say the house is quieter is an understatement. Anyone who knows a pug understands - his snoring and pug sounds were a constant - as were the continual gas emissions. When he was gone, he let out a little bit of gas, and we did get a smile out of that.

I have always cremated my dogs, but I wanted to hold his body and bury him at Apifera. Maybe it was helpful after losing my mother and not being able to see her body in the end, to have this little pug to hold and cry over. I buried him under the lilacs in the front gardens and I'll scatter some of my mother's ashes there when I get them. My mother loved Billy and she also loved lilacs - each Mother's Day I had a ritual in Minneapolis of finding lilacs on park land and cutting some for my mother. It was a great game, risking getting caught to find the best lilacs for her - she used to joke that some day I'd get arrested over it. So it is fitting to lay Billy under the lilacs. As a child in Minnesota we often lived near lilac groves and I would sit under them and pretend I was in a vast empire of my own, cradled under the scent of their boughs, creating stories and future farms in my little head.

I don't know why death can come in groupings. It is the end of an era for me in so many ways.

When I brought Billy home today I let Huck and Muddy see him before I buried him. Huck licked Billy's face over and over, something he did every morning or night, usually when the pug was sitting on my lap. It was tender and sweet. But the dogs did not weep. They were at my feet with tails a wagging ready for games, food or companionship.

Billy's cushion in the stdio by the fire was covered in an old burlap seed bag. I took it and wrapped it around him in his grave. I placed a small figurine of a fox terrier that looked just like our old friend Louie Louie. I don't have to worry about him now. He is on his way to his eyeball - that is what I told him years ago,

"Someday, you will meet up with your old eyeball. Until then, your eyeball is safe up there in the full moon."

So every full moon, I'll be looking up at him.

Oh Pug! I loved you so!


Cathy said...

No pup could ask for a sweeter tribute. He was a wonderful boy, and I'm so grateful I got to know him.

Sharon Stanley said...

oh katherine....so bittersweet. i loved seeing his pics so much. hugs once again.

Erica of Golden Egg Vintage said...

I'm so sorry that you had to say goodbye to your Billy. Honestly, I don't know how you do it so often...say goodbye. I happen to be nursing my parent's cockerspaniel today because they are out of town. He slipped a disc in his back (right after they left for the airport of course) and became paralyzed. His name is BILLY! And we are in Buffalo MN...15 min from Delano. Anyway, we have to decide if we are going to put Billy down, or spend $5000.00 at the UofMN. Ahhh. So hard when he is only 7 years old.
Your "one eyed Bill" was such a cutie. Do you suppose he's curled up on your Mom's lap right about now?
thinking of you-

What Remains Now said...

Loving my pups as I do, my heart is broken for you. You have had so much to bear recently. I am saying gentle prayers for your comfort. I am so sorry. You made the best decision for your little love.

farmlady said...

I'm so sorry Katherine. He was a dear, sweet, little dog and like all of our pets, a companion that comes to us with love and trust that we will take care of them.
You gave him love and care... and many good years. You also gave him an act of kindness when you made the decision to stop his suffering. You gave him rest and the peace that come with the leaving.
Thank you.

farmlady said...

I'm so sorry Katherine. He was a dear, sweet, little dog and like all of our pets, a companion that comes to us with love and trust that we will take care of them.
You gave him love and care... and many good years. You also gave him an act of kindness when you made the decision to stop his suffering. You gave him rest and the peace that come with the leaving.
Thank you.

Yvette Tillema said...

Sorry for your loss. Rest in peace sweet Billy.

Unknown said...

Oh, this just tears my heart out. You have had so much heartache. I am so sorry Katherine, Life is sometimes so unapologetic, and yet we give these things eloquence. What a lucky pair you were, to have each other. I find it ironic that just now, at the end, do I think I've read that li'l "One-Eyed" was named Billy. I don't think I remembered knowing his proper name. Rest peacefully, Billy.

Art From The heart said...

So deeply sorry for your loss.
Our best friends ask for nothing more then our love and when gone the sadness remains for a long time.
You were a best friend as well and Billy will rest in peace with so much love in his soul.

Anonymous said...

to you and your
passing fellow.

Ruth Armitage said...

Weeping with you...

Sandra L. said...

I am so sorry for your loss of Billy.

When we decided to put Snowball, our hedgehog, to sleep because his cancer had advanced so, it was one of the most difficult decisions we ever had to make. I do not like playing God...but sometimes we have to.

There are tears in my eyes as I type this.

Goddess bless you...

Mary A said...

I'm sorry to hear about your pug, Billy. But he is not gone. He is part of Apifera. The cycle is complete but he will return often in your thoughts. Hugs, Mary A

Anonymous said...

You gave him the final gift. I'm sorry.

Suzen said...

I am so sorry to hear about your little one-eyed. He was synonomous with you and the farm. What a good life he had, though! I had to smile a little at your comments about your mother and the lilacs. I am from Mpls. myself and have the same ritual. The smell, the harkening of spring, the stealing! Must be a Minnesota thing after that horrid winter. I agree about the burying rather than cremating. There is something about knowing their little bod is still near to visit and commune with. We all know better, but there is something about it... It's been quite a year for you, Katherine and I wish you comfort and peace.

Debra said...

I'm sorry~your love shows in your words and photos of him. You have touched my heart today.

Susan Moorhead said...

So sorry to read about your friend's passing. How these companions expand our lives, so much love.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~