Monday, January 20, 2014

Duncan's Story

Ben got me Duncan for our two month anniversary b/c we had just moved to Fredericksburg and I had no friends.  His parents lived a couple blocks away, and other than that I never made a friend the time we lived there.  I wanted a dachshund b/c my mom had black and tan chihuahuas (Ben does not like little yelpy dogs, so that was out) and his grandparents had the funniest, fattest brown dachshund I had ever seen.  When I was at the pet store getting meal worms for my hedgehog (class pet) I fell in love with this black and tan mini dachshund.  He was so long and friendly.  When he ran his back legs would pass his front end and I was smitten.  I called Ben, but since pets were not allowed at our rental home, he said no.  So, I tricked him into going to the store and he fell in love too.  B/C of our rental situation, I would take him to the babysitter i.e. Verna's house each day when I went to teach and while I was going to school in San Antonio so he couldn't get into any mischief.  He would spend the day in the garden and sunshine and was spoiled rotten.
Some of my favorite memories are from his puppy days.  He was known for eating things.  He ate my cousin's $100+ mouth piece that she had taken out while we were eating supper, he drank half of the used grease out of a fry daddy and ate 20+ flour tortillas.  The tortillas were a problem b/c my tiny puppy grew double his size and the vet wanted me to make him throw them up by getting him to drink salt water.  Yea right.
When I graduated college, I got a teaching job in Kerrville and we moved back to my hometown so I could be at school longer days, and I was really homesick.  B/C Duncan couldn't go hang out with Verna each day we decided to get a second dachshund, Chloe.  They were best friends, and as Duncan grew, we learned he was not a miniature dachshund, but in the words of our vet, the longest dachshund he had ever seen.
Around his first birthday, Duncan was diagnosed with epilepsy and he was on very strong medication for it.  He took phenobarbital, which was terrible on his kidneys.  He had seizures at least once a month, and often they lasted for five minutes or longer.  When he was around five years old, the doctor recommended a milder medication, potassium bromide for his seizures.  The seizures continued even with the medication, so around age 10 we decided to take him off the medication completely and by age twelve the seizures stopped altogether.
When LE was an infant, Duncan jumped off the couch and a vertebrae in his back broke and collapsed onto his spinal chord.  We took him to an emergency room in south Austin and for $2000 they fixed our Duncan Dog.  Yes, $2000 was a lot, but we had been saving for a new fridge and I could not open a new fridge knowing I had put our dog to sleep.  A few years later the same thing happened again, and we had prepared ourselves as we driving to the same surgeon that we could not do the surgery again.  But, when we took him out of the kennel at the vet's his legs had begun working again.
His legs and back finally gave way at fifteen years of age and Ben and I had to make the worst decision I think we've ever made as a married couple.  We both cried and knew Duncan was tired and miserable.  After years and years of vets telling us, he probably would not live past seven years old, he not only lived longer than that, he doubled his age adding so many memories to our family.  He is already so missed by each of us and his sister dog, Chloe.

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