Killer the Lhasa Apso refused to be potty trained. Little “presents” and wet spots were found hidden at least once a week. Killer liked to bark. Sometimes he barked for no reason at all – especially in his last year when it was suspected that he had dementia. Killer was known to growl at times when he was protecting his territory; whether it be his favorite toy or a comfortable spot on the bed. And Killer was a pain in the butt when my parents took him camping or to the beach.
Killer certainly had his fair share of issues. But he was loved and he loved in return. He was spoiled rotten by my stepmom – seldom yelled at or punished in any way. But in return, he greeted her at the door with adoring enthusiasm and kept her lap warm. At times, my dad seemed to tolerate Killer with only a grudging reluctance. But despite Killer’s shortcomings as a “real dog” (as my dad might say), it was never surprising to see a smile on my dad’s face from Killer’s antics. Killer greeted him with the same adoration and often found his way onto dad’s lap (sometimes because dad put him there).
At about age eleven, Killers health began to decline. One health issue after another presented itself. There were skin issues, weak joints, increased incontinence, deafness, and possibly dementia. Each came gradually or sporadically but none were overly serious. But at age thirteen, things got much worse. Diarrhea and other symptoms presented themselves and the vet determined that Killer’s kidneys were failing. Killer was in pain and miserable. Treatment wasn’t guaranteed and would likely make him more miserable in the process. It was a difficult moment for my parents. They wanted so desperately to hang on but in their hearts they knew it was time to say goodbye.
That was about a month ago. With me being in Kansas and my parents in Texas, I was not particularly close to Killer. But I know my parents loved him dearly. As troublesome as Killer could be at times, he was family. I could hear their love for him whenever they talked about him – whether it was about his good qualities or bad. There is no doubt that Killer gave my parents joy. And there is no doubt that Killer will be sorely missed. Thank you, Killer, for being a part of my parent’s lives and giving them your love. I know you have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and enjoying a romp in the grass or playing with your favorite squeaky toy.