That, if you didn’t know, is my dog Koolit. In this photo he’s exacting revenge on Storm for sleeping in his bed, and for antagonizing him for the last eight years. Storm loves to come up to kkoolit when he’s laying in his bed and minding his own business, and start rubbing on him. And Koolit is not fond of Storm, so when Storm does that, he’ll tolerate it for a few moments before he heaves a huge sigh and finds someplace new to sleep.
Poor Koolit, indeed. We got Koolit in 2000, long before Kurt and I were even married. When Kurt moved to Virginia, he told me he wanted an apartment to himself — NO ROOMMATES — and he wanted a dog. So he found himself a nice one-bedroom apartment, and he visited the SPCA to look at dogs. He was just about the only person to follow the rules of the apartment complex by settling on a dog under 20 pounds, and that was our Koolit.
When we adopted him, the vet estimated his age to be around four years. That makes him thirteen now, an old gent by any standard. And it shows.
Koolit isn’t doing so well. I know I have written about him before with his health issues, but I thought we had them well in hand. For a while we were battling several UTIs, but with medication and a prescription dog food, we got that cleared up. He seemed to be doing well for a time, as well as an ancient dog who can’t really see and probably can’t hear can do. He still couldn’t jump up on the bed to snuggle with me once Kurt went to work, but he seemed happy.
But lately he’s been losing weight. I had to bathe him last week because sometimes he drips when he pees, and he was starting to smell pretty rank. I noticed that you can feel his spine clear as day, and his ribs would be showing if he didn’t have so much fur. He feels like he weighs next to nothing when you pick him up. He’s never been fat, but he’s always been solid, a nice heft of a dog. In fact, one of the vets along the time was recommending he lose a pound, since he was overweight.
He never asks to go out anymore. When he’s feeling up to it, he’ll stand at the back door silently, and just wait till you notice he’s there. The rest of the time he noses around the kitchen to find a likely place to relieve himself. Sometimes he’ll even poop inside, and that’s not like him at all. When we first got him, we were very irresponsible pet parents, and we had left him alone overnight. The poor boy was bursting at the seams when we returned, but he managed not to soil any surface in the apartment. And now he can’t seem to help it.
This morning I realized he hadn’t yet gone out to do his business and saw him nosing about the kitchen. As I was trying to corral him towards the door, he started peeing. And then my heart broke into a million pieces as he lost his footing on the linoleum, laid in his pee, and continued to empty his bladder.
Dogs are clean animals. They don’t want to wallow in their waste. They don’t mess where they eat. So for Koolit to have lost such control, I know it’s a very bad thing. All he really does is sleep all day. When he does go out, he gets confused and doesn’t seem to understand how to get out the door anymore. Last night he began yelping at an impossibly high pitch for no real reason. Kurt petted him and comforted him as best he could, but he still seemed very confused.
All this adds up to a serious lack of quality of life for my poor puppy. And I love this dog so, so much. I’ve never had a dog before. Heck, I don’t even like dogs. But Koolit I love so much. He was there when Kurt went out to sea. He was my companion when I was lonely in Washington. He always jumped up on the bed to cuddle with me once Kurt left for work in the mornings. He laid near me and made me feel safe, even if he’s only a twenty-pound dog.
I think it’s time to say goodbye to Koolit. I think that’s the kindest thing we can do for him right now, to repay him for all the love he’s given us over the last nine years.
But oh, how it hurts.