We didn’t want a dog. Our beloved Shih Tzu, a black and gray named Beowulf, was “put down” two years before after many illnesses. We got Beowulf as a puppy and he was with us for nearly 19 years.
Beowulf didn’t bark for the first year he was with us. I would scoff at that and say that, if burglars were attempting to break into our Chicago apartment, they would say, “We can’t go in there. There’s a dog wheezing in there.”
We had so many wonderful memories of Beowulf: running in larger and larger circles when we took him to Michigan and he was free of a leash, dashing ahead of us as we walked on a beach only to stop and look back to make sure that we approved of his distance from us, playing with a visiting cat and rolling up every rug in our apartment because of that, leaping out of six inches of snow to catch up with us as we cross-country skied in Michigan.
Our final memories of him were difficult as he aged and became nearly blind, walked with difficulty and incontinent to his great embarrassment. His final whimpering and howling minutes of pain should have been avoided. We had kept him alive longer than we should have and we intensely regretted that.