Friday, June 28, 2013

A Second Poem to a Second Pom

Years ago, my ex and I decided to get our dog a dog.

We thought Simba would like a companion to play with as we had just moved into a new house, and after two years the cats still hadn't taken to him. So we decided on another black-and-tan Pomeranian. A matched set. 

We contacted the breeders who had brought Simba into our world and as it turned out, they had an eight week old black-and-tan male available. We drove the two and a half hours to Southern California's wine country and met him taking Simba along with us so he could meet his future playmate, and so the breeders could see him, two years later. 

Simba wasn't impressed with the puppy, but it was love at first sight for us. While we were there, someone else called expressing interest in the puppy, but the breeders deferred to us as we were there first.

"Are you taking him, because these people want to know if they can have him?"

"Yes, he's ours."

And we took Mufasa home with us Labor Day weekend, 2003.

Mufasa passed away last week at the very young age of ten due to complications of kidney failure. 

Ten years old? I lost my best friend and companion at age ten? I feel cheated. There is a misconception that for every one human year, a dog ages the equivalent of seven because of their already shortened lifespan. This is not true for all breeds, and the reality is the larger the breed the shorter the lifespan. Ten human years to a Pomeranian is 56, but 66 to a Great Dane or similar breed. Every additional year thereafter the small breeds age an average of four years, but the giant breeds age anywhere from 5-7 years on average. 

So, Mufasa was only 56 when he died. He had just turned 56 the week before.

Yes, I feel cheated. Cheated out of a few more years we could have had together as the average age for a Pom is 12-16 years. 

But, also I feel blessed for the ten wonderful years we had together, with the last two being just the two of us as Simba passed in 2011. I'm not counting the remaining cat, Xena, in here as she is in her own feline world and graces me with her presence when she's hungry or demands attention.

Mufasa, foreground. Simba in the background.
Yes, I will miss Mufasa. I will miss his barking when I left for work, when I took either the laundry to the garage or the inside trash to the cans outside, or when I went to check the snail mail. I will miss his barking when he thought he heard someone at the door, and alerted me to check. I would, there would be no one there, and I'd ask, "Now, don't you feel silly?" as he looked out the door puzzled. I will miss his barking when someone called from the gate and I would buzz them in, his barking continuing until they came to the house and then his running up the stairs to hide. I will miss his barking as I entered the house after a long day's teaching, and his "I'm so happy to see you! Now let me outside, then feed me" greeting.

I will miss our other rituals. I will miss his running in circles when I would bring him his breakfast or lunch. I will miss his reminding me when it was time for his carrot, the barking until I got it and the zeal with which he snapped it from my hand. I will miss his Pomeranian habit of taking three or four kibbles in his mouth, walking away from his bowl, dropping them, and eating two, leaving the rest for later, which never came. Mostly, I will miss the 'family time' we had each night before bed. He would edge to the stairs as it got darker, looking back at me, "Are we going upstairs now, Poppa?" his eyes would say. I would tell him to go ahead, and he'd wait for me at the top of the stairs. I'd get ready for bed, he'd wait eagerly and when I'd start getting the bed ready, he'd look up at me, his little shoe-button eyes asking, "What about me?" I'd pick him up, place him on the bed and he would sniff around to see if the cat had left something of her treat behind for him. She never did. Intentionally.

I'd then climb into bed, grab the iPad, and remote, and we'd sit there for an hour or two, checking email, listening to a DVD, cuddling on the bed, consoling each other every night since the ex left. Before Simba died, he'd join us from time to time, and after that it was just Mufi and I. And Xena, when she was so inclined.

Mufasa was my gifted child. He was very intelligent. We hired a trainer when we first got him and he would anticipate her instructions. She finally got him to sit and stay, and when he saw her forming the letter 'o' of 'okay,' her release word, he'd be off. He eventually learned he had to hear it, not see it. He had several  cookies, each for a specific reward. He had his greenie cookie for when I left the house. He had his morning cherry cookie with his morning meds, (cherry and cherry juice is supposedly good for joint issues as he had luxating patellas, typical of toy breeds.) and his "I'm learning to pee outside/it's time for bed" peanut butter cookie. And he knew which was which. Once, when I gave him his cherry cookie as I was leaving for work, he took it, dropped it and looked at me as if to say, "That's not the cookie you give me when you leave, and you know it!" I gave him his greenie. All was forgiven.
Mufasa's leg bandaged from his granuloma.

I'll miss his reminding me to give him his evening meds and his constant searching for the other two, as he was used to getting three in the morning.

Mufasa was very loving. If you came to my house, and sat on the sofa or recliner, he'd jump up to greet you, and climb into your lap, check you out, curl up and lie down. But, only after trying to lick the tip of your nose.

He took the divorce just as hard, if not harder, than I did. I could vent my emotions at my ex or here in this blog. Muf could not. Instead, he took it out on himself, licking his foreleg raw. He licked all the fur off, and then the skin, giving himself what looked like a canine hickey. The vet called it a "lick granuloma." It's common in dogs with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. During our 'family time' he would often just lick my hand, he needed  that release.

Mufasa was high spirited, a typical Pom. During his last few days, the doctor told me how much he noticed how Mufasa wanted to recover, he was fighting. Yet, his body had other ideas. The night he passed it was obvious to me and my friend who was with us, he didn't want to go. He wanted to stay with me. For me. But, his body was shutting down, for in addition to his failing kidneys, he was developing pancreatitis and he'd been on long term medication for hypothyroidism which may have caused him to lose his coat. In the end, it was his body that won.

We went through a lot together with the divorce. He was always there for me, and even more so after Simba passed on, quite unexpectedly. I will take comfort in the fact Mufasa loved me, and others knew it. He wanted to stay, he wasn't ready to go, his body forced him to go. I will miss my sweet little boy. 

May he Rest In Peace.

He will rest in my heart forever.

My little Boo.
My favorite picture of him, in full coat.


  1. Yes, ten is too soon. My schnauzer, Hoover, is ten and, like you, my ex and I got him as a companion for our other schnauzer. Mufasa will indeed live on with you just as Lincoln lives on every day with me.

    No doubt, Mufasa was so lucky to have your love and care. Take care of yourself, Jeff.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I am sorry for your loss, however long ago it was. The little pawprints they leave on our hearts do indeed remain with us. Forever.