Living with Dogs, Losing a Pet07:54 AM Saturday February 17, 2018 |

I grew up with no dog in the house. Except for our neighbor’s cats who roamed around our house without our permission, and stole our cooked meals occasionally, my parents never had any kind of pet. My father had thousands of ducks, chickens, and dozens of pigs but they were not pets.

Tracing back, I have always been scared of dogs. I grew up in a town where dogs freely roamed the streets. These were the askals. It was also a common occurrence hearing that someone had died of rabies. And someone was bitten by the aso of Ka ganito, etc. And yun daw anak ni Mang ___ eh itinali na dahil nauulol na dahil nakagat nga ng asong ulol. Kaya uso sa town namin ang katagang “ulol”. Dapat matapang ako sa aso kung lumaki ako sa ganitong lugar. But no. I really avoided dogs.

My sister was bitten by a rabid dog in Wawa, Libis when she was still small. I was chased by a neighbor’s dog. My parents’ lavandera was bitten by an askal and my parents spent for her injections. There were several instances when I had to run for my life and climb fences and neighbor’s windows to save myself from angry dogs.

On the contrary my husband was fond of dogs. He already had pets even before we got married. A few years after we got married, my brother in law’s German Shepherd gave birth and he gave Edmund one puppy
Having dogs around was quite an adjustment on my part.
Edmund would let the big dog inside our house and one time it went straight into our bedroom and jumped on the bed. Of course I screamed and trembled. I cried and hated my husband for being insensitive. He found it funny. I didn’t. He probably was thinking I would eventually get used to having dogs around me.
There was one night when I went out of the front door to take video clips of our Christmas lights to send to my sister. I didn’t know that Edmund had let the three German Shepherds out in the garage. I found them swirling around me and they took turns jumping on me. Parang nagpapa-buhat. I screamed but my husband didn’t go out to check what I was screaming about. Our neighbors heard me. With my two arms up in the air while holding the video camera, I slowly walked sideways towards the front door. I had scratches on my legs and arms but no bite. Our dogs didn’t intend to hurt me. They knew me because I gave them food once in a while, usually pieces of left over meat.

And so throughout our lives together, we always had dogs. Big and small. I was and still am scared but I managed to live with this scenario. And what’s weird about it is that I do love our dogs except that you will never see me carry them or cuddle them. I love them from a distance.

One time we had puppies and one followed me into the kitchen. It didn’t bite me intentionally but it’s tooth plunged into my heel and I ended up enduring several anti rabies and anti tetanus injections. Not to mention the almost P30,000 unexpected expense. Once in a while I touched the little dogs. One time I was sitting at the dinner table with a tiny puppy on my lap. It accidentally bit my hand. Another round of injections and almost P40,000 expense. Mind you the injections really hurt. The needles were fat and the liquid was malapot.

You can’t blame me for avoiding these cute creatures. I hate dog owners when they say “my dogs don’t bite, don’t worry”. They don’t bite the owners but you’ll never know if it will bite me. Twinkle never bit us, but it bit some maids and some drivers. Not our maids and drivers but our neighbor’s.

Our dog Twinkle tested our love, compassion and patience. There were times when she was causing us a lot of stress that we wanted to give her away or abandon her. We were all busy with our work and own lives and when we came home, she gave us more stress. She created trouble like getting out of our gate and chasing someone. Scratching our neighbor’s maid. Destroying some things around the house, fighting with our other dogs. She was the reason why Jazzy’s eye got infected and eventually went blind. Twinkle was Jazzy’s and Lucy’s long-standing rival. Maybe because they were all female.

The highest number of dogs that we had in a single time was 14 and that was really not fun. No matter how cute they were, it was too much obligation. We gave away Twinkle’s puppies but we chose their new homes. We wanted to make sure their new family would really take care of them and would not mind the expense of keeping a pet. Some of the families / individuals who have Twinkle’s puppies are the apos of Johnny Litton, the apo of Sec. Gary Teves, Arnel Pineda, our sales manager Noel, Ruben and Malou Panelo, Ate Elsie, Maymay Lichtenstein, Margie and Serge Ortiz-Luis, etc.

I didn’t see Twinkle alive when I came home last week. I arrived close to midnight on June 10 Saturday and Twinkle was at the vet. Oyen brought her there for a regular check-up. She’s been losing weight and had not been eating. Giving her an overnight dextrose could be good for her.

We were actually planning to hire a full time nurse for Twinkle so she could administer the dextrose, vitamins etc. We’re hoping to prolong Twink’s life by giving her 24/7 care.

When Oyen went to pick-her up from the vet, she found her too weak and unable to stand-up so Oyen decided to leave her for another night.

In less than an hour after Oyen had left the vet clinic, they called to inform her that Twinkle collapsed and that they were trying to revive her. My daughter called me crying and I panicked too. I called Edmund so we could run to the vet. In 15 minutes, my daughter called again. I knew it already the moment my phone rang. She was sobbing, Twinkle was gone. The doctors were not able to revive her.

I got a white towel so we could wrap Twinkle’s body. Edmund started digging a shallow grave behind our house. I instructed the maids to pick some white flowers and get candles. It was hard to prepare for a burial. I wish the word death is not present in our lives.

Losing a pet is heartbreaking. My daughter’s eyes were swollen when she arrived home carrying a brown box with Twinkle’s remains. I cried intermittently and was too exhausted to keep on crying. I just felt so sad and sorry too for Twinkle. I felt guilty, maybe there was something we could have done to save her.

Twinkle inside a box

Twinkle in a box

Among all of us, my daughter was the one who bonded with Twinkle in her last few months, weeks, days, nights. She was the one who religiously attended to Twinkle’s medical needs. She was like a mom caring for a sick child. She would wake up in the middle of the night to check on Twinkle. Too bad. All the loving and caring were not enough to save Twinkeling kulit.

When my daughter was in grade school, I gave her a book titled All Dogs Go to Heaven. We also had a Betamax tape of the movie version. Believing that Twinkle is now in heaven together with Jazzy, Lincoln, Simba, Lilo, and with all our deceased pets and imagining them all playing together somehow relieve us of the sadness of losing a pet.

Twinkle is survived by her son Jack, boyfriend Tyler, friend Stitch and her nemesis Lucy.

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