Goodbye, Mr. Puppy Man

Mugen at 13 weeks

Everything is going to be the thing I did after Mugen died, for a little while.

There’s the cross stitch I made and the coffee I drank.

There’s the song I liked and the game I played.

Then the pictures I took and the life I had.

Mugen is missing from all of them. I planned for him to be here for all of this stuff. I planned to love him until he was an old man and needed help to get up the stairs. I had planned for him to be Jet’s brother until they were old men together.

That is not how things are going to be. Mugen passed away yesterday afternoon. Almost 7 months to the day after we lost Lucy.

I cannot explain how much rage I have inside me right now.

Part of me actually wants to believe that someone poisoned him because it would be easier for me to have someone to hate, but when I go through everything in my mind there’s just no way that happened. My other two dogs are completely well, we have searched the yard and the house from top to bottom and have found nothing that would cause the kind of reaction that Mugen had. I think that the ultimately, we will discover that Mugen was sick and he was so stoic that we had no idea. He had an undiagnosed blood disorder of some kind and bled out. He knew he was dying. We fought so hard to save his life and sometimes, no matter what you do, it just isn’t enough. I didn’t even make it to the vet’s office in time to hold him and kiss him good bye, but I know that he knows that I would have been there if I could have teleported or stopped time.

This morning, Jet and Jazzmin are lost. Things are less complicated in my pack now, but they are not better. Jet and Jazzmin are both good at retrieving, so it’s easier to keep them busy without Mugen stealing their toys in the middle of the game, but somehow, there is little joy in just being able to play the game without interruption. Jet is moping and occasionally sits up and barks, which is what he did when he wanted Mugen to come find him. Mugen would always come running when Jet barked and they would play and then when the game was over, the two of them would sit down with their tongues hanging out of their mouths in big, goofy dog grins. Mugen was such a serious dog for being so young, but his brother made him so very happy. He also enjoyed laying in my lap while we were watching TV and sleeping in the very corner of the sofa and making himself incredibly small.

Mugen was my perfect dog, it was like God himself made Mugen just for our family. He and I fit together like we were born to be with each other. My lap feels empty without him in it and no one can ever fill that void for me. We all feel that way. Lucy was special to us, but we were prepared to lose her because we knew she had cancer and that she could not win the fight. When Mugen died, not even my wonderful husband could stand there and be my knight in shining armor anymore, though he tried, bless him. None of us were prepared to lose our boy and I am still having a hard time accepting that he is gone. I’m afraid I will forget who he was, because our time together was so short. It was just barely longer than the time we spent with Lucy. He would have been three years old in June.

I’ll even admit, I am a little angry with God right now too, for taking him away from me so soon. Life is never fair, is it? I try to level the playing field as much as I can, but I just don’t know how there was a way for me to win on this one.

I keep thinking about that song by Kiss, “Beth”. Somehow, it seems appropriate… like maybe I’m Beth, or Mugen is Beth… and either way, it’s about two loved ones who are missing each other. I know he misses me as much as I miss him and I think that’s what breaks my heart the most. He had so much life to live and he deserved a long and wonderful life with me. I am so hurt that we could not have that.

I wish I could tell you more, I want to write more but I’ve hit the end of what I feel. I mean, there’s a lot more feeling here and I’m still crying and I will always cry for Mugen, but I’ve run out of words to express it.

So, here we are.

My brown dog is in heaven now with my sweet Miss Lucy Girl and the two of them are playing wonderful games and I know they will be waiting for me when I get there and I know that all of the people that I have loved and lost along the way are taking good care of Mugen and Lucy for me.

I want to thank my friends and family for holding me together yesterday. When I drove home from the vet, I felt like it was the end of the world. I have never felt so depressed in my life and I didn’t trust myself to get behind the wheel of my car again. You reminded me that I have so much living left to do and so many people who love me. You held me up and kept me from getting lost in that horrible moment. I have had bad days in my life before, but nothing ever prepares you for losing your baby and that’s what Mugen was to my family. Yesterday was truly the worst day of my life because Mugen was our son. Bill and I took turns waking up with him when he was a baby. We walked him together, trained him together and loved him together. He was as much our child as Chris and Manda are. The candles you lit for him to guide him on his way to heaven and posted on Facebook and sent me in text messages and tweets reminded us of hope and love and how everything that we ever did with Mugen was born out of those two feelings.

Now, I am going to spend today figuring out how to hold myself together and build a different life with my family than the one I had planned. Sometimes, it seems like life just happens to me and I try to take control of it and shape it into the thing I want it to be… but you can’t control everything, can you? And sometimes, life is just very, very unfair.

Mugen, I want to send this out there into the universe and I hope you can hear it: Daddy and I love you so much. I will take care of our family for you so that when we meet you again in heaven, we will have many wonderful stories to tell you and new games to play. We will never forget you and you will always be our great brown dog.

Update: Just as an update to this post: We now think Mugen was accidentally poisoned. Our neighbors had put down rat bait for mice in their garage. Mugen caught mice from time to time. Animals that catch and eat mice can also be killed by ingesting the poisoned animal.

PLEASE! If you have used rat or mouse poison in your home, PICK IT UP! Glue traps are inexpensive, available at your local grocery store and much more humane. They are also safer for your pets and your neighbor’s pets. They are easy to handle. You just pick the whole thing up and throw them away and replace with another glue trap.