Me: Tierce, I’ve got something to tell you.
Tierce: What, that you’ve finally decided to give me a block of cheese for Christmas?
Me: No. It’s not about food.
Tierce: We’re going for another walk with Rowan?
Me: No. It’s not about walks.
Tierce: Don’t tell me we’re going to visit the chamber of horrors again.
Me: No. We’re not going to the vet. Besides, Dr. Forbes is a nice lady and has done a lot to help you.
Tierce: *sniff* So you say. You’ve never had a thermometer shoved up your a-
Me: ANYWAY. What I’ve got to tell you relates to Apollo and Kisu.
Me: Apollo and Kisu. Your sire and dam.
Tierce: My sire and dam?
Me: Yes, Tierce. You remember Kisu.
Tierce: The one who didn’t want to play. Tenshi wanted to play. And Apollo, wasn’t he the one who said he could wipe the kennel with me when we visited Susan that one time?
Me: Uh, maybe.
Tierce: He was just boasting. I liked Kisu better, even if she didn’t want to play. She snarled at me once, you know. I was just minding my own business, trying to jump on her to get her to play.
Me: Well, Kisu was quite a bit older. As was Apollo. And you know that sometimes when dogs and people get older, things stop working so well.
Tierce: They pee inside the house?
Me: Well, sometimes. What I’m talking about is their bodies stop working.
Tierce: So they go to sleep.
Me: Well, kind of. They go to sleep forever.
Tierce: What, like until next morning? I’ve done that lots of times.
Me: It’s a little longer than that.
Tierce: Tell me about it. Sometimes I don’t drag my ass out of bed until one.
Me: Even longer. So what I need to tell you is that Apollo and Kisu died on Monday, the 23rd of November.
Tierce: So they’re sleeping for a really long time.
Me: A very long time.
Tierce: When will they wake up?
Me: They won’t ever wake up again, Tierce. They’re sleeping forever.
Tierce: But they’ll want to get up for breakfast.
Me: No, Tierce, they won’t. Their bodies aren’t working any more. They can’t eat breakfast.
Tierce: Or lunch? Or dinner?
Tierce: That’s horrible. What a terrible thing to happen! Aren’t they sad they can’t have food?
Me: No, they aren’t sad. They don’t feel anything any more.
Tierce: Well, that blows.
Me: At least they had happy lives. Kisu lived with your breeder and Apollo was adopted into a wonderful home where he could be the top dog of the family.
Tierce: Like me!
Me: Like you. They both lived into their teens.
Tierce: And they both died the same day?
Me: Yeah, it was really funny; they didn’t live together, but your sire and dam ended up dying on the same day.
Tierce: What’s ‘sire’ and ‘dam’ again?
Me: Oh, it’s dogspeak for ‘father’ and ‘mother’.
Tierce: Wait, so I’m an orphan?!
Me: Uh, well, technically, I guess yeah… but we’ve kind of stepped into the parental role.
Tierce: Yeah, about that. I thought you were my parents.
Me: Well, not technically, but in every way that matters, we are.
Tierce: But you’re saying these dogs were somehow my father and mother.
Me: Yes, they were.
Tierce: But Mischa calls me his little boy.
Me: It’s a term of endearment.
Tierce: So you’ve been lying to me all these years.
Me: Well, not really.
Me: Okay, you want the truth?
Tierce: Yeah. I want the truth.
Me: You’re adopted.
Awww, Tierce, I’m so sorry. I was Apollo’s humum (he was adopted, too). Your dad was awesome and I’m sure he loved you, even though he didn’t want to play. Like your humum said, he and your mum were older than you. Apollo was a sweetie. I only saw him fight once, and that was when an off-leash dog attacked him while Apollo was on his lead. He pinned that dog in about two seconds flat. I was amazed! And the only time I ever heard him growl was when I was walking with him one night and a very big fellow approached us out of the shadows. He was a hero! He didn’t have to fight-he knew he was better than all the other dogs and just exuded that confidence. Like father, like son. 🙂
Such sad news for you Tierce. I was owned and loved by Kisu and let me tell you, she was one of a kind. She was queen bee and made sure everyone knew it. But the only shiba that gave me kisses freely. Her lust for life shone through even at the end. It must have been meant to be…she loved Apollo. And when we would take her over for chaperoned visits, Apollo would be very excited to see her and he would whine until they were together. I do believe that they loved one another. Besides being adopted makes you very special. Your parents PICKED you.
Seem to have a Shiba fur in my eye… Kinda sniffly. But also smiling, because you wrote this perfectly, Julie. Snuggles, Tierce — Julie and Mischa think you’re pretty great. So do a lot of other folks. May your sire and dam rest peacefully…