Last week we had to make the brutal decision to put down our dog Mazie. Oh, Mazie-butt. (Yes, I called her Mazie-butt, a nickname she earned pretty early).
We picked up Mazie as a rescue near the town of Mazomanie, Wisconsin (thus her name). She was a rat terrier/corgi mix, a brutal combination that meant she wanted to herd things while also killing them. It also gave her body a peculiar shape and those awesome radar ears (they started out droopy, then stood up one at a time; unless it was super damp and one dropped again). She was the runt of the litter, and seemed to follow us around in a pathetic “pick me!” sort of way.
When she first came home, she was tiny. Like walk under our first dog, Speak, and he was small too.
But she didn’t stay tiny. She grew into a tank. She wasn’t big exactly, but solid.
Once she ate a pound of chocolate and threw up 22 times.
In her early years, she chewed on things a lot and would eviscerate stuffed animals. But one time she had a little stuffed bear, about the size of a Beanie Baby, and it was her baby. She’d hide it around the house and got super territorial about it. Once she was trying to hide it on top of the VCR while we were sitting there in the living room watching. She slowly turned and saw us watching, then turned back to retrieve her bear and go hide it somewhere else. We eventually had to take the bear away so it didn’t start any fights with Speak.
Mazie was never very friendly with people. She always met people at the door with a barrage of barking, especially men. When my father-in-law visited, she’d often forget he was in the house, be startled by him, and have to start the whole barrage of barking process over.
At our first house, the backyard used to be a haven for small animals. Speak didn’t care and seemed to enjoy frolicking with the bunnies. Then came Mazie. She cleared the yard in no time. Every time we let her outside she’d race out there and check the yard for animals. One time the bunny made a wrong move and didn’t make it to the fence. Mazie caught it. Of course then she didn’t know what to do with it. She’d broken the bunny’s back with her first bit and wouldn’t let go. We had to pry Mazie off the bunny and then put the poor rabbit out of its misery.
When she was a puppy, Mazie loved the snow.
As she got older, Mazie became less and less active. Once upon a time she’d hear the garage door open and we could hear her barking in her kennel. As she got older, we let her stay outside of her kennel and she’d flop on the floor in front of her kennel. We’d come home to find her still flopped. She didn’t hear the garage door and only woke up when we stepped over her to let Nick out of his kennel.
That corner of the bedroom where her kennel was became her spot. She spent most of her days flopped on the floor somewhere in that corner. In the last eight months she started having trouble going down the stairs and we tried to move her to the basement. Two full flights of stairs to get outside is a lot, so why not live in our finished basement? Mazie was having none of it. She’d sit down there and bark, only happy when we let her back up or someone sat in the basement with her. She wanted her corner to flop or she wanted company.
We were preparing for Mazie’s death for the past couple years. We knew she was getting old and we knew it was coming. For the last six months or more, we’d frequently check to see if she was still breathing when she lay flopped on the floor. But making that final decision was still really hard. Our other two dogs went quickly, and the one time we had to make that decision, it really wasn’t a decision. This time it was.
And because 2020 is stupid, I had to wait outside the vet. For a while Mazie and I sat in the grass, waiting for word from the vet. I sat there petting Mazie, giving her some love. And of course she sheds all over the place, so we left some Mazie fur in the grass at the vet.
This is the second dog we’ve lost in 2020. I’m not really the dog person in the family, but it’s still hard. At times, Mazie seemed like a neurotic train wreck. Did I mention the time she pooped on the groomer’s table? Yeah, had to be muzzled to get her nails trimmed. Didn’t like it.