we watched her birth. the product of turbo and trixie. one of three of the cutest little basset puppies you've ever seen. petunia was the runt. and when the three of them reached adoption age and we placed ads to sell them, well, junior, a dead-ringer for his daddy, was the first to go. next was freckles. a cute little lady with very unique markings. almost like a brown spotted dalmation/basset.
we could have placed petunia as well, but scooter, a freshman in college at that time, asked if he could have her. "i'll be moving into my own place soon. and i'd love to have her."
of course, that pleased us greatly. and we quickly agreed.
well, things don't always work out as intended. a few short months later we packed up and moved from flagstaff to oklahoma city. scooter and petunia in tow. along with, of course, me, hon, turbo, trixie, and family felines, lily and buster.
and also not according to plan, scooter didn't move out into his own place right away. so his pup, petunia, became part of the large pet family.
it was really fun watching petunia grow up with her mom. playing, romping. in stark contract to her father, petunia was loud and boisterous, impish yet loveable. and all along cute as a bug's ear. before scooter really had the opportunity to move out, hon had decided there was no way we could separate mom and daughter. petunia was ours. so three bassets it is.
and three closely related but dramaticlt different basset personalities. turbo, almost stoic. serious, focused. trixie took on the alpha role. no doubt she was always in charge. and then petunia. the clown playful, biligerent, but the cutest look and the cutest way of approaching one.
it was petunia that started the howling choir meets. at any random time she was inclined to start howling, inciting the other two to follow suit. they just couldn't help but. over the years this howling, baying choir serenaded tens of family members and friends with their resounding chorus of "happy birthday", all led by miss petunia.
petunia was the first to greet me every morning. as i'd sit up to get out of bed, there she was. arrg-arrging at me. then rolling onto her back in hopes i'd spend a moment or two rubbing her cute little belly. i almost always did. wish i had done more of it.
when she wanted human attention, she got it. sometimes getting up in your face if you were sitting, sometimes running around you when you were walking down the hall, just to dtop, drop and roll in front of you arrging boisterously insisting you give her that much cherished belly rub.
she never changed in all that. even up through saturday. she worked us with her cutesy demeanor, insuring we would lavish her with the attention she craved.
but sunday that stopped. around noon it was apparent that she wasn't normal. she was pacing, panting, and her stomach was constantly constricting. she wouldn't sit nor lie down. it was pacing and standing only. and panting. and she wouldn't eat. not even a treat, which she'd never before refused.
we assumed that she had the classic basset malady. that being a digestive tract clogged somehow by something she'd ingested that she shouldn't ingest. when walking her, rubbing her, didn't work, we loaded her into the car and drove to the e.r. vet clinic.
we expected x-rays, and knew they'd divulge the nature of the blockage. assuming all the while that, as has been the case with her and her mom on prior occasions, that meds over the course of a day or two would fix the problem. good as new in a day or two. we were wrong.
the doc returned with the x-rays saying "there's nothing wrong with her stomach. but there is a very troubling abnormality." she then showed us the x-rays and it was clear that there was a rather large tumor which was likely attached to her spleen. surgery was an option, but one would generally expect that a tumor this size would have spread farther.
there were two other options . . . . one which we didn't really want to consider, or even hear. the other was bring her home with pain meds, steroids, hoping to give her comfort enough to spend whatever time she had remaining being some sort of her normal self. of course, that's the option we chose.
we brought her home. tried to feed her. gave her meds. but even the pain meds were failing to relieve her pain. she still couldn't tolerate sitting or lying down. she was hurting. and we knew.
we called scooter, and knowing the inevitable outcome, he chose to come and visit her one last time. it was quite an emotional time for us all. and we fully expected that the meds would eventually coax her into sleeping. then we felt that, with some rest, she'd feel better. but there was no rest. no sleep. her pain was too much for her to bear.
we took her back. the staff at the vet clinic was wonderful in their compassion and care. they outlined the course of action, and at almost exactly at 3:00 a.m., petunia felt relief from pain. and we were heart broken.
this too shall pass. or so they say. but man, it's hard to love an animal and then have to let them go. i know most all of us have experienced this. but that still doesn't make it easy. and yes, it will pass. eventually. but right now we feel empty. a part or our existence is missing. rest in peace, miss pee-tunia. and thank you so much for the untold hours of entertainment you provided.