Sunday, July 24, 2011

goodbye, little crazy friend

The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's.  ~Mark Twain

Yesterday we said goodbye to our little French Bulldog, Napoleon.  I thought I would feel relief at him dying, but I only feel so sad.  If you don't know why I would feel relief, then you never met Napoleon.  He had a bad addiction to water.  No joke.  He would drink out of any receptacle- toilet, plant containers, open dishwasher, bathtubs- anything that had water.  And then once his bladder was completely full, he would have numerous accidents regardless of how many times we would let him out.  His system just was whack.  We literally spent thousands of dollars trying to figure out what was wrong.  No urinary tract problems, no diabetes, no kidney disorders, no hormonal imbalances.  IT WAS ALL IN HIS HEAD.  His official diagnosis was psychogenic polydipsia.  In layman's terms: dog was CRAZY.  We even tried doggie-antidepressants, but no dice.  So since I am the stay at home mama, it usually fell to me to measure out his water, keep him out of the bathrooms, let him out every half hour, and clean up 2-4 accidents every day.  We got a carpet steamer simply out of necessity.  And I pretty much resented the dog for making me do all of it. 

I am not a dog person.  I know, tsk tsk, from all you dog people.  But I'm not even a cat person.  I'm an "I don't want an animal in my house" person.  But my husband is a huge dog person.  The only time in his life that he didn't own a dog is during the time we lived in Texas and he was deployed for 2 out of those 3 years.  I knew it was one of those non-negotiables when we got married.  I knew in advance that we would always own a dog, no matter WHAT.  So I tried to control the whole situation by insisting that I get to pick out the dog.  So after a lot of dog breed research and analysis, I settled on the French Bulldog.  They are lazy, sociable, and pretty good with kids.  And not too big, but not yippy or barky.  And oh so cute.  Napoleon was the cutest puppy I had ever seen.  He was perfect for us, and I actually fell in love with him. 

And then he went bat shit.  And we went into overdrive trying to figure out how to cure him.  I felt defeated when we realized there would be no cure.  And my love for him slowly turned to resentment.  He used to cuddle up and sleep with us- but now he started peeing on us in the middle of the night.  We had to start crating him at night and whenever we left.  It was madness.  And I wanted out of it all.  I wanted to give him away, get rid of him, drive him to Lake Michigan and let him die happy.  And you may think badly of me, but keep in mind that we've dealt with this for the past 3 YEARS.  He was only one year old when he went insane. 

Unfortunately, in those 3 years, our children have been born and had grown attached. 

{meeting Fletcher for the first time}
They both loved to give pets, kisses, and snuggles to him, and Napoleon tolerated it all very well.  He even seemed to be warming up to Fletcher, whose pets had started becoming less and less aggressive.  Rowan liked to share ice cubes with him, so I think she got on with him, too. 

And Brian never wavered in his love for Napoleon.  Every night after the kids were in bed, Napoleon and Brian would snuggle up while we watched t.v.  And no matter what rules I tried to impose on no leaky dog in our bed, Brian would try and sneak him up with him during naps or rests.  Napoleon adored Brian.  When Brian was out of town on business trips, Napoleon would start staring at the door around the time Brian usually came home.  He wouldn't stop until I made him go to bed.  He was Brian's dog, through and through. 

But me?  He drove me crazy.  But I owe a huge debt of gratitude to that crazy little doggie.  We got him around 6 months after Brian got back from Iraq, and I think that crazy little doggie saved him and us in many ways.  Brian was not himself after his last tour in Iraq.  I'm putting it mildly.  Brian had ISSUES.  Who wouldn't, after everything he had been through?  But it was damaging to our marriage.  I had no way of breaking through whatever shell had built up while he had been in Iraq.  But that dog sure did.  He helped Brian so much, I'm almost jealous that the dog could do more than I ever could!  But mostly I'm just grateful. 

So now we're sad.  He died at the vet's office yesterday from a bad infection that he just couldn't overcome.  When Brian brought him home, I sat petting him while Brian dug the hole.  We both cried and said goodbye to a little dog that saved us and that drove us to the brink of insanity.  I may not have liked that dog very much, but I sure did love him. 

Plus, he let me dress him up for funny Christmas pictures.

We'll miss you, Napoleon.  I promise I'll only remember you fondly.  All is forgiven.

Rest in peace, in doggie heaven.


  1. Oh, Ruthie, it brings tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry for all of you. We will send prayers your way.

  2. Gigantic personality, though small in doggie size

    You quickly stole our hearts with those bulging Frenchie eyes.

    Playful and courageous, Napoleon was your name,

    Always on my bed like a moth to a flame.

    Clever and determined, you rarely missed a trick,

    Settling the score with a look and a lick.

    Though you made us hold our nose as you put the "rot" in rotten,

    You made us all love you, and you will not be forgotten.

    Love you, Napoleon.

    Rest in peace, little buddy.

    Love, Karen


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