I want to mark the passing of Tinkerbelle the Incontinent, Methuselah of Dogs, Yorkie of Questionable Provenance. She was adopted (by a parent who was not me) because of the enthusiasm of daughters undeterred by her single eye, complete loss of hearing, and inability to be house trained. She was petted, whose bed she slept in was argued about, she was walked, and she was loved. But as she grew older and subject to frequent indoor defecation, loss of motor control, and seizures, she became stinkier and somewhat less approachable as a pet. So it was the son, responsible as all oldest children inevitably are, who became her caretaker in her dotage, the kid to whom we all cried, "Ewwww! Dog poop!"
We honestly expected this day, every day, for the past year. We debated: was it time to put her to sleep? But she bumbled around as enthusiastically as ever, even though she had no real interaction with the world beyond enjoying her food. But still, when she died and we realized she would soil the carpets no more, we were sad as well as relieved. Good-bye, Tinkerbelle. We tried to give you as good a life as we could, and I'm gratified that you stepped in your water bowl, turned over your food, and got lost behind the t.v. on your last night just as happily as every other night, and died in the warm sun and the summer grass.