Today one of our dogs, Flower, died quite unexpectedly. The wife and I have always been incredibly soft hearted with animals and Flower was no exception to this. She was ten years old when she died but we'd only had her for five years. Each of our dogs is either re-homed or rescued and we actually bought Flower from a breeder who had relentlessly bred her then decided to get rid once it was apparent she was all used up.
When we took her home she was a shy and quiet dog. She was also underweight, had one eye which was already being ravaged by pigmentary keratitis to the point she only had peripheral vision. She also had a heart murmur and was constantly bleeding due to the fact her insides were in tatters. Clearly she had feeding issues too as she was forever foraging in bins and stealing food where possible. She also didn't seem to know what getting a cuddle was all about and would sit in your arms for a maximum of twenty seconds or so. All in all it didn't look too great for Flower.
Within a month she'd been spayed (it was the vet herself who remarked on Flower's womb being "in tatters"), was gaining weight, and started to become to loving little dog we came to know and love. In her last months her back legs were an issue due to both arthritis in one and a neurological condition exacerbated by a fall causing some wobliness on both. Regardless though she still played with the other pugs, ate, got all giddy at the drop of a hat in fact most of what you'd expect of a slightly younger dog let alone a near ten year old with all her issues.
About four days before this writing she developed a slight cough and seemed not quite herself. First the vet tried a painkiller injection in case her leg was bothering her and said the cough should be monitored. Flower did indeed perk up a little after that but the cough was still there. A return visit to the vet was in order as the cough hadn't worsened but her breathing did seem a little laboured. An upper respiratory infection was diagnosed and after a shot of anti-biotics it was back home. On the morning of this writing she seemed quite off colour and by the afternoon she'd had a kind of "attack" which saw her collapse and pant heavily.
At the vets they decided there was a heart issue and her liver seemed enlarged. After the consultation we agreed she should be placed on oxygen, have an ECG, and get
whatever treatment was required. I left Flower at the vets and no sooner had I gotten home than there was a call. Flower had died of a heart attack just a few minutes after I'd left. We were later told the vet spent eighteen minutes trying to revive her. It was no good, Flower couldn't take anymore.
In the five years we had her we watched her blossom. We're no good at discipline and training in this house but we're pretty damn great at spoiling and loving. She lived a full life in those five years and for that I'm grateful. We're going to miss her so badly though.
I'd like to close with a short bit about pugs in general and I hope this doesn't sound too preachy. If you like pugs and you're thinking about buying one, please don't. Don't
get me wrong, they are a wonderful and special breed and full to the brim with character. Sadly, like many pedigree dogs, they suffer from some awful ailments. We have three pugs now but we'd never buy one to perpetuate the breed. If you really need a pug then rescue or re-home one. Yes, it might well break your heart sooner and you can be damn sure it will wind up costing you most likely more than you'd spend on a "fresh" one but you won't be continuing the cruelty that is breeding poorly animals for little more than visual appeal.