This one hits harder… On Wednesday, January 19, my Pekingese Ching passed away. This time, there was no other Peke to meet me at the door when I returned home. The house was empty. His food and water bowl were full and waiting for a dog that wouldn’t be coming back.
I hadn’t anticipated the loss. Unlike with my other Peke, Ming-Lee, who had declined in her fifteenth year, there hadn’t seemed to be anything amiss. Ching had acted his normal self up until the preceding weekend.
Then on Monday, I noticed his right eye looked red. With it being winter and on the dry side indoors, I initially thought perhaps it was irritated or maybe caused by allergens. But then the iris looked rather cloudy, too. When I’d wave my hand on that side, he didn’t seem to notice the movement. I resolved to take him to the vet to have him checked out. I was worried about glaucoma though the breed isn’t necessarily known for it.
I took him to the vet Wednesday evening. In the era of Covid, I had to wait in the car while they looked him over. With it seeming likely that it was secondary glaucoma, the vet discovered that his blood pressure was high and spiking. His left eye was also starting to show symptoms similar to his right. His condition seemed to be deteriorating.
He’d turned thirteen in October, but had still seemed young at heart. Had there been some signs I’d missed or overlooked? I could only think back to the dread I’d felt earlier that day that something was seriously amiss. It was hard to come to the determination that the best course of action was the least one desired.
It was clear when I was brought in to see Ching, he was out of sorts. He was restless, confused, and not overly aware that I was there even though I tried to settle him down and hug him close. I was able to take as much time as I wanted to say goodbye, but how much is ever enough?
As I had with Ming, I stayed with Ching. I held him as he drifted off to sleep from the anesthesia. His head resting on my hand. All too quick he subsided and was gone. After he’d passed, the involuntary movement of his jaw startled both the vet and I. Though freaky, I had remembered experiencing a similar situation with Ming so I was relatively prepared for something like it to happen.
Left alone again, I looked over the body on the table. Still warm to the touch as if he were merely sleeping, Ching lay there, a little bit of his tongue sticking out. I wanted to remember as much of the moment – as much of him and how he looked – as possible.
He’d been a funny sort of Pekingese with the coloring of a St. Bernard puppy. He didn’t have the Peke growl like Ming had, but he had a cute little snort – and the occasional sneeze. He loved to wag his tail when petted, and he was apt to play with his toys when the mood struck him.
I took his collar off for the last time, composed myself to face the world, and quietly left. I tried not to think of anything but focus on the drive home.
As I write this, more a week later, I still miss him. And I wish it hadn’t been so soon to say goodbye.