Goodbye, Beautiful Nutmeg

Much has gone on in life since I last blogged. I'll do a formal post later. Tonight is a memorial.

Nutmeg lost her battle to cancer this evening. It was a sudden thing that started around Christmas and quickly blossomed into sorrow. We saw her veterinarian, Dr. Johnson, on Thursday and then... that was that.

Nutmeg was many things. She was my shadow and forever at my side. She was the dumbest German Shepherd Dog to ever walk on earth and thus earned the title Village Idiot. (She was actually rather smart but played the "clueless" game well.) She was the kindest animal, loving towards all and in love with her veterinarian. She was rough and tumble. She was annoying and demanding when she was in the mood for attention, often rotating my office chair to the left as she leaned in to me for petting and hugs. In fact, she always demanded more love after getting love, one paw raised and prying at a knee as if to say, "Hey, you're not done giving me attention." She was Porch Dog. She was goofy. She had many nicknames and came to them all: Nutterbutt, Buttpeg, Goofball, Nutters, and so many more. Nutmeg loved food. She loved her ice cubes. She loved bread and raw veggies. She was always so happy, even when she knew she was being naughty and leaving a puddle on my floor.

She grew too weak towards the end. She couldn't hold down even a teaspoon of water. I stayed up with her last night, all night, petting her and singing "You Are My Sunshine". She loved that. She knew. I knew. We said our goodbyes and resolved our differences and asked each other forgivness for all those times we disagreed on who was right.

This evening, she insisted on going outside and down the concrete steps to poop rather than doing it in the house. She was in the yard before I could slip my jacket on. She could barely manage and needed my help up the stairs. Better Half had to help me get her inside because the whole effort left her exhausted. Cell phone calls were exchanged throughout the evening with Dr. Johnson. It was kinder to let her slip from earth peacefully than to have her endure agony during the last moments of her life. Dr. Johnson was in Canton today, but met with us at the clinic around 9 PM.

I can't think of too many vets who would be willing to tend their patient after spending a long day on the road, yet there he was, waiting for us at the door. His words and his compassion brought us peace. Now Nutmeg is at peace. The sorrow in my heart leaves me breathless and drained, yet I know we made the right decision. One of the greatest gifts we can give our pets is kindness.

 Some photos:

Nutmeg loved snow. She'd bark her head off the moment you formed a snowball. I regret not playing with her this last snow storm. There was never a chance. It was too bitterly cold outside.


 When we first brought Truffle home, Nutmeg knew she had a buddy.

Zephyr, Gennaker and Nutmeg greet the new pup.

Nutmeg knew she had to be gentle.

Her cancer two years ago nearly took her from us. We don't know how or why she survived as long as she did. I think it was in part due to her playful spirit and the talented hands of Dr. Johnson.

Cone of shame!

Alright guys. I promise to not lick my stitches. Take this off me!

Holidays with Nutmeg were always magical. She loved lamb at Easter and duck at Christmas. She loved turkey at Thanksgiving. Most of all, she loved greeting trick-or-treaters on Halloween. She'd sit patiently on the porch, or by the door if it was cold, and greet them.
What's your costume?

Please take this bow off. I'm not a Christmas gift.

Nutmeg knew when you were under the weather. She ghosted Better Half in the month leading up to the discovery of his arterial blockage. She just knew and was there for you, no matter what.

Faithful Girl.
She loved the landing. I have so many pictures of her hanging out there, but this is my favorite. This was shortly before her cancer surgery, I believe.

The porch was her spot. She'd hide behind the couch if it was raining (she hated thunder) or if you were watering the plants. She watched the birds just like Mattie used to do. She'd lift her ears at watch the children playing across the way. She was at peace there. She never barked or bolted.
Porch Dog

But her favorite thing (besides stealing Truffle's Heffalump and squeaking the crap out of it) was to chill with us. No matter where you looked, there she was. That will be the hardest part of all this. I type this and look to my right and there's an empty spot on the floor where she always rested while I was online. I look to the hallway where she parked herself if Better Half was in bed, and I realize that no one is standing guard tonight. I listen for the jingle of her collar and almost want to call out to her to see if she'd off somewhere getting into trouble, or else I strain my ears to hear the loud sound of her lapping water. But she's gone and I mourn her passing.

Ears that could tune in Tokyo

 Goodbye Nutterbutt. Thank you for being such an awesome companion and friend.

Some prior stories: The Village Idiot. 21 Aug 2011 August Contemplation
I crack the seal on my can of ginger ale and Nutmeg’s overly-large ears perk at the soft hiss the carbonation escaping the can. She cocks her large head and arches an eyebrow. She’s a coward, really. Her resounding German Shepherd bark should invoke visions of noble police dogs mauling the Michelin Man. Nutmeg wouldn’t maul in intruder. Quite the opposite: Nutmeg would insist that the intruder stroke her fur and, having failed to gain his affections, she would squat in my dining room and have a spite pee. Thus her bark is reserved for the Truly Dangerous Things in this world such as the sound of the doorbell from the television. She often hurls her bark towards the Invisible People that only the idiotic Pomeranian can see.

20 Mar 2011 Nutmeg's Recovery (post surgery for cancer)

And a few memories:
She told the entire neighborhood that she'd eaten her dinner. Every night, without fail, she would bound out the door and bark. It almost sounded like she was saying, "Hey, hey, I got my food. I got my food." Without fail.

She hated fetch. Instead, she'd whine and stare at you until you threw the toy, and then you had to fight her to get it back. The whole process would start anew the moment you actually got your fingers around the slimy thing and teased it out of her mouth. She was always gentle when she played.

She loved tennis balls. She'd run after them if we threw them for her. Truffles would usually fetch them back for us.

Nutmeg would dance around the kitchen at feeding time. You had to park her on a sit/stay in order to put her food down or she'd bowl you over. Then she annoyed us by licking all the other dogs' bowls and the floor when they were done. It drove us nuts.

She was a positive animal, never aggressive. Even when recovering from surgery and even tonight when she was too weak to function, she'd wag her tail to tell you she was happy. She wagged it for Dr. Johnson tonight, as well, and was so happy to see the clinic and her favorite vet.