Some pets we mourn more than others
And this, too, shall pass …
I’ve had some wonderful dogs in my life; smart, respectful, loyal, charming dogs. Feruke, Willie, Pokey, Dexter, Lego, Ruckie — all champions of my heart.
And then there’s Tchotchke. This little hoarding wizard came into my life the summer of 2015. He was about 10 years old, a refugee from unhappy circumstances.
He didn’t trust anyone.
The first four months I had him he only came out from behind his chair to eat or steal something.
His hoards the thing legends are made of. Anything I dropped — he would zoom in, grab it up and take it behind the chair. We’re talking socks, shoes, cell phones, remote controls, food, blankets, car keys, dish towels.
If it wasn’t tied down or hung up — it was his.
And he guarded his hoard as a dragon protects his gold, viciously, backed by the full force of his bite. Nothing left the hoard until he decided it could. I would wait hours to change a TV channel until I could maneuver the remote away from him.
I’ve been late for work because I dropped my keys as I went out the door — and — bam — keys in the hoard. I had guests leave in the evening wearing my flip-flops because Tchotchke had secreted their shoes up under my bed.
As he became more comfortable in my care, he started hoarding bigger things — like my bedroom. There were nights I slept on the sofa because he decided I wasn’t fit to be in “his room.”
But we adjusted. I stopped fighting over the hoard.
If he took it, he could keep it until it no longer interested him.
And I became much better at hanging up my shoes, not dropping things, and placing strategic barricades when we had guests. He had me very well trained.
Over the years he began to trust me, not a lot, but enough. We had some amazing adventures together. He loved going to the beach so we went almost every evening. Over the last few months he was crankier (if that was possible!) and more volatile.
And, strangely, his hoarding was decreasing. Our veterinarian confirmed he was in kidney failure.
And he had lost most of his vision.
He was unable to hoard because he couldn’t see the hoarding possibilities. I felt so bad for him I would offer him socks and towels so he could continue his favorite hobby. I fed him by hand twice a day because he couldn’t find his food dish.
His fear increased as his vision decreased. Walks at night became impossible; every tree became an obstacle or an enemy.
He couldn’t sleep more than a few hours at a time without a bathroom break.
We woke up every morning to messes and I came home every afternoon to more mess.
If you know me, you know that my favorite quote is “This, too, shall pass …”
And so too has Tchotchke’s suffering.
My wish for him next time around: great happiness, better health, endless beach walks, and an owner who will love him as much as I did.
Trish Kleinfelder is a Dunkirk resident.