Satchmo got the blue juice March 25th, 2003.
I don't know if it was blue or pink, it was just a shot. At the time the color didn't really fucking matter. Our vet took some X-rays and said his spine had fused together and everything happened so fast.
Satchmo the wanderer, the Conquerer, the Lover has gone before anyone reading this, into the next realm of existence. As he was wont to do.
Oh my puppy boy. Oh my puppy boy. Oh I loved that dog. Still, today, ten years later I look over at his box of ashes and tear up. I loved that fucking dog. He was a true friend.
We lived in the Sunset in San Francisco at the time and Satch was 16ish. I carried him up and down the stairs. I carried him when he couldn't get up from his bed where he'd look up so hopefull and want to jump to greet someone or to go eat but his legs couldn't do it. I held up his butt when he pooped so he wouldn't fall over. His undercarriage was gone. He would wince when he had to walk. He'd fall over if I wasn't there. We'd taken him to the vet to see if we could up his Rimadyl and if that would help him, but the vet knew where we were, she knew how our little doggie lovers go into a downward spiral, leaving us to fret and scream and cry and freak out. We have no idea how the hell to do it, IT being doing the last thing we have to do for our friends who we've loved so much and who've loved us so much.
The deal is this. These dogs, well, they've been our friends for so long after we've had them. They give us so much and we keep them alive. We feed them, we keep them safe. But when they get to that place where in the wild they would have been abandonded by the pack years ago and been and eaten by something else or just perished, we keep them alive because we love them so much and well, we can cause we're humans. But there comes a time where the last thing we do for them is to let them pass on. I like to believe they go back into a great pool of souls to be recycled, my lover dog Satchmo, the best ever, to come back as say another happy dog. But who knows...
Mister Satchmo was a penultimate explorer. And he has passed, disencorporated, a doggie soul spirit on the undying psychic wind of matter neither created or destroyed. I've got 50 bucks on him reincarnated as a horse. He had a great respect for horses, because well, they can kill you.
As much as it sucks, we have to eventually decide when they die. Most of us anyway, other times our furry friends die for whatever reason, disease, other animal attacks... but having your pup suffering, aw man, that just Fucking sucks and if you love them it is a load on your back.
Damn dogs. Why the hell do they wear out before us? They do. And we've taken care of them for so long, depended on them, been so damn lucky to have them as our friends, so damn lucky to have had them there, when we get home to be so excited to see us, to protect us when we didn't even realize it, to keep us warm and to be our friends when we felt like we had no friends. Girls came and went, but my Satch was always there. He knew when I was sad. Hell, that damn dog saved my life in my 20s when I was at the bottom. He gave me a reason to keep living because at least I had this cool dog to take care of. Couldn't just leave him behind.
Then they fucking wear out. Satch's mind was fine, but he was getting crazy and fearful because he knew he couldn't walk. As much as I carried him and held him, as much as we gave the boy pain killers and fed him treats, his life was losing the swarthy alive bop and wanderlust. The treats made him too heavy so he couldn't walk even less. He wanted to run with us like he always had. Shit was fucked up. He knew it. I knew it. I used to take a train then walk to work and to and from work all I could think of was what I knew had to be done, but how weak I was and how I couldn't make that decision. Beneath 101 in San Bruno, walking with the cars passing over, sluicing, clammering and clanking, echoing, the smell of dirt and concrete, the visions of my dog in my head, just losing my mind trying to figure out what to do. It was on my mind every waking moment, what to do, to or for the dog lover of my life.
Our vet knew. She used the X- rays to convince me it was time.
We took him into the vet and I talked to Satch. I asked him what he thought. He was in pain. He didn't know what was going on. He could have kept going, but everything was breaking down with him and all he wanted to do was please me and be there. The vet said, "He's going to wake up soon, twist wrong and be paralyzed. Then he is going to freak out even more beacause he wants to please you. My advice is to let him just go to sleep."
So I did it. Give him the juice. She said, well it's a shot. So she gave him that shot and I held his paw, looking into his eyes as the shot took over, he was watching me and he breathed that last breath then was gone. I saw his soul leave with one last breath. He was looking at me, then suddenly still and just meat. And this big fucking biker looking guy cried saying "Oh my puppy boy" for quite a while, laying there with my puppy boy who I put down.
I think the rest of the vet's office wasn't really sure what would happen with me in there mourning for my dog. Fucking dogs.. The mighty Satchmo. He was so awesome. Dog of my youth. Dog my God. Damn I loved that dog.
We left him there and they cremated him at Pet's Rest in Colma. I got a box with his ashes. I paid a little extra to supposedly get his remains. One night I got really drunk and opened the ashes and was saying "Just add water, get your doggie back". Ms. Bird came into my office and just hugged me until I calmed down. And yes, I tasted his ashes. They tasted like ashes.
If you've lost a pet you know what I'm talking about. It is the hardest thing in the world. I haven't lost a child or even a parent yet so I can't comment on that. Losing a human is complicated. Losing a dog (or other kind of animal friend) is actually pretty simple. They loved you unconditionally and you loved them back.
After Satchmo died, I would still walk from the train to work but I started seeing these huge ravens, big black birds that would drop onto the lawn in front of me and hop and make these caw cawly calls. They'd look right at me, then fly up to the overhead lines and caw some more. Then they'd fly away and I could hear their big wings beating the air, like they were trying to tell me Satchmo was free. This continued for some time, Ravens all over the place, making noise so I'd notice them, then once we made eye contact they'd fly away. Those fuckers were looking at me like, you idiot human, really? We're telling you everything is ok. Satchmo is fine. Look here, we're anmials and so are you, you just dont' realize it dumbass. We're part of Satchmo's posse and he wants you to know everything is ok. Really.
I know that we are just an instant in time and all us animals are born, live, then die - dogs, cats and humans alike. There's nothing more natural and wonderful than that. Thank fucking god we eventually die and rot and leave some room. The wealthiest among us can only delay their eventual dirt nap. We all have to make room for the next broodnest and without that perfect system we'd have perished as a species a long time ago. There's no use wishing for death, it will come when it comes.
The now, the time with our puppies and children and lovers and friends and mentors and family is all we have, and it is the most precious thing there is. But memories of those passed, I believe, keep them alive and make them immortal.
I like to belive that DEATH isn't about you, it's about who you leave behind. Us living really suffer like crazy and how hard is it to shepard your loved one pup into that realm? But you have to. Again, without us those pups and cats and whoever would have been eaten as soon as they couldn't keep up with whatever pack they ran with. Brutal. Yes. Reality, Yes.
Gentleman Satch, Rear Admiral Satch, The Scratchimo, The Gentleman.. My dog Satchmo. He was a really really good dog and I will miss him as long as I live. For those of you who've lost your animals, it does calm down a little from right after you lose them. The feeling of loss lasts a long time, but you get to a point where that pain is less and less. But you never forget. And you can easily feel them again, can easily mourn for them and miss the hell out of them. That's just the way it is. Seems that's just part of being alive.
I've got two dogs now, Sailor who's turning 10 and Vegas who's 2 something. I'm staggering my animals now. Sailor and I bonded in our way, Ocean beach days, hanging at the Riptide, Golden Gate park days, smart as all get out, and Vegas who's an Oaklander watchdog supreme, chubby lover dog who watches planes fly over head. He'd have been a king of the lab hunting dogs. They're good boys. They are beautiful, wonderful, fascinating animals with distinct personalities. I tell them Satchmo is their grandfather and I tell them about his adventures. Sailor and Vegas appear when someone opens the fridge. They sleep with us and keep us warm. Sailor is the smart one. Vegas is the big watch dog. I'll always miss Grandpa Satch, but I've got these two dogs to keep us safe and warm and entertained for now.
That dog Satchmo was the dog of my twenties and I would so love to see him again someday, in an alternate universe, to have him swim up to me like he did in that pond so long ago when I was just beginning, to pet him and tell him all about what happened after he left this plane, to hold that little doggie in my arms again.
We all are leaning towards that dirt nap and our time is so short for even the longest lived of this human species. I like to think we'll see our pups and da's and ma's and friends in the hereafter, but I can wait out this small time here to find out because yes, we will all find out eventually what lies ahead. I hope I can hang with Mr. Satchmo on the other side. I truly do. He was a great dog.