Friday, July 23, 2010

My first born

And no, I am not speaking of my first born human child, Jessa. No.
I am referring to Dunken Emmit Key. He was a wedding gift to David and me from my parents. We searched forever to find the perfect dog for us. We decided on a Westie. The first puppy that we picked out had a congenital disorder that did not develop until he was weaned. So, bless his heart, we only had him a few days. But then Dunken came into our lives. He was chosen because after the sick puppy, Momma told me that puppies are supposed to play with your shoelaces. And when the lady let Dunken out of the cage, he ran over to my feet and started playing with my laces. So in a way, he picked us.

We wanted a cool Scottish name to go with our cool terrier from the Scottish Isles. We were stumped. But when I put him down in the backyard at Momma's house, he walked right over and fell into her pool. After I fished him out, he got a Scottish name with a creative spelling to reflect the fact that he "dunked" himself. So in a way, he chose his own name.
He was so tiny and precious and bad. Seriously, he would empty trash cans and chew up the trash if we left him home alone for too long. He chewed holes through baby gates to break free. He cried on the floor until we put him in the bed with us. And he had two speeds: Off and On. And when he was on, buddy, was he on! He was never still, never quiet, well, unless he was asleep aka off.

He has lived everywhere we have lived. He has moved with us every time we have moved.
Ft. Eustis, Momma's house, Bamberg, Germany, Mannheim, Germany, Momma's house, Ft. Lee, Ft. Stewart, Ft. Polk, Ft. Stewart, and now our first AFB, Scott.
He has lived near snow,
near the beach,
and near lakes.
He has traveled all over Europe. He was a passenger on the ICE train to Berlin. He has been to the Eiffel Tower. He has eaten well at restaurants: Cordon Bleu, yes, for a dog. He has been swimming in the English Channel and the Rhine River, among others.
He even cruised the Rhine a few times.
He has climbed to the top of Neuschwanstein Castle
and been to the Hofbrauhaus in Munich and ridden to the tops of mountains in France.

He has flown over the Atlantic 12 times, in the cabin at my feet.
He has ridden countless hours in the car,
my constant companion,
my trusty co-pilot.
He has helped me make new friends when we move because I would run into people when I was out taking him for a walk. He has lived in apartments and duplexes and houses and even out of suitcases in hotels.
He has accepted any and every new family member that we have gained since he joined our family. We have introduced 2 cats,
another dog,
and not 1
but 2 children to our family.
He never missed a beat. He has loved them all as much as we do. He has accepted Momma's Cooper and Daddy's Abby without a second thought. His heart is big and full.

He has never met a stranger. He firmly believes that every person who enters our home or yard has come just to see him. Yet, he barks at anything and everything out the window.
He is terrified of thunder.

He is allergic to everything, and I spent 8 weeks cooking a special fish diet for him completely from scratch. And I cannot even stand to smell fish, much less cook it!
He loves warm clothes, fresh from the dryer
and sleeping under the covers so he can lick your toes.
And we always arrange the furniture in every house so that he has something to climb up on to see out the window - the worst idea we had was placing our bed under the window in a stairwell apartment overlooking the parking lot! Many nights we woke up to him standing on our faces to see out the window.
He has a stocking at Christmas and a basket at Easter.
We once threw him a birthday party and actually invited "dog friends" over to have homemade doggie biscuits and cupcakes.
He will steal your warm spot in the bed
or your chair if you get up.
"Shuffle your feet, lose your seat."
These are words he lives by.
He takes this being a terrier thing very seriously,
and he loves to dig
and dig

and dig.
He likes to take care of himself. Every night, before bed, he performs "paw maintenance." He licks his paws until they are drenched.
If you shout "SQUIRREL," he will run outside at full speed. If you do not open the door fast enough, he will run into the door.
His favorite phrase is, "Dunken, do you want to ride?"
He has helped me take and pick-up kids from schools in 3 states.

He is the sweetest and most precious dog you will ever meet;
we love him with every fiber of our beings.
And this week, he was diagnosed with cancer. It is hard for me to even think about it, much less accept it. We have seen a specialist and for now, we have started chemotherapy. I know lots of people think that it is ridiculous to spend the time and more importantly the money on treatments for a "dog." But to us, Dunken is oh so much more than that. He is a founding member of this family. At the moment, he is absolutely happy and acting like himself. As long as he is barking at the garbage truck and begging for daily, oops, I mean hourly treats, we will continue to see the specialist. Thankfully I have parents and grandparents who also feel that Dunken is 100% a family member and who are more than willing to help with the financial part of his treatment. I have cried many tears this week, and my Dunken has let me hold him. And he has licked my salty tears off my cheeks like he has done so many other times throughout our lives together. He really is so much more than a "dog."

He's our Dunken


Tara said...

Dana, I am so sorry to hear this awful news! As I was reading the blog, I kept thinking what a beautiful entry about your precious son but I was almost half afraid to keep reading because I could just sense that it wasn't going to end well. I love you all! If you need anything, let me know!

Carrie said...

Dana, I am so sorry to hear about Dunken! My parents had a dog Moses who had cancer. My Dad did some research and they prolonged Moses life and good day through some changes to his diet and some vitamins. You should get in touch with my mom and see if anything they did might help out Dunken! It gave Moses several more good years!

Mary said...

Dana, I have tears in my eyes with the news about Dunken. I am so sorry. Sending prayers for him and you guys. Hugs.

Tiffany said...

I am so sad for you. I could feel the bad news coming as soon as I started reading. We all have a soft spot for Dunken and we only knew him a short time. We will be sending hugs and prayers for all of you. If there's anything else we can do to help, please let us know.