When a young pet dies without warning, a lot of questions and emotions bubble to the surface.
It’s appropriate I was on a baseball field when I got the call because it came out of left field.
“I think Wags just died,” my wife said.
I immediately left my younger son’s baseball practice and raced home where our dog Wags lay motionless on our couch after my wife had moved him there following a brief seizure in our yard.
Our 14-month-old Terrier mix, whom we had rescued only 11 months earlier, had died without any warning. One minute, Wags — so named because his tail oscillated back and forth with unadulterated joy and fervor — was on the front lawn with my wife, our older son and his friends. He was enjoying the spring sunshine and getting belly rubs from the kids when he had a seizure in front of our neighbors who were walking by our house. The next minute, he was inexplicably gone, quicker than a passing spring rainstorm.
About three months after we got Wags, though, he stopped running around in our backyard and began howling in agony, even when no one was around him. Advised by specialists that his knees were the source of his troubles, we elected to have him undergo a pair of surgeries on each knee to help him walk without pain, but the howling continued and a neurologist suggested a costly MRI, which he cautioned might not pinpoint the problem. Money had become an issue and we worked with a veterinarian to mitigate his pain, using a cocktail of medications that seemed to have had a positive impact. We knew he was ill but had no idea just how sick he was.