So, my guy, Alvin, AKA, Weird Al – the family dog for the last 9 years is soon headed to a farm upstate. It sucks. The story of Alvin starts like this:
Wife: I think we should get another dog.
Me: My mom’s about to die. Our other 3.5 year old dog recently died (heart attack). We’re moving houses. You’re about to have a second baby.
Wife: So we’re getting him.
Me: That’s what I was getting at too.
Wife: I found this one Alvin. He’s hypoallergenic cause I’m allergic. He’s cute. He’s in Kentucky, and he get’s here on your birthday.
Me: Good talk.
So we ordered a dog. And yes, it’s shady that we adopted a mutt from the south. Beat me up later. My dog is dead (or will be soon). And, yes – he was due to arrive on my birthday. We got to SFO a little early. Very excited.
Me: I hope he doesn’t bark.
Wife: He’s a dog, so he might.
Me: Yeah, but he might not. And we can always return him, right?
Wife: To Kentucky? No. Grow up. He’ll be fine. Happy birthday.
50 minutes later and 30 minutes late…
Baggage Agent: I can’t believe he died on the plane.
Other Baggage Agent: I know… so sad – he was really beautiful.
Me to the kid: Life is really unpredictable. I don’t know how to say this, but I’m not sure Alvin made the plane ride here. We’ll find another dog if he didn’t.
Lucy: Huh? But I want Alvin.
Me: Me too. It’s just, uh… sometimes.. things… are shitty.
Baggage Agent: Here’s your dog!
Me: But I thought you said a beautiful dog had died in transport.
Baggage Agent: No – that was a snake.
Me: <Unsaid> Snakes aren’t beautiful. What fucking type a shit you tryin to do to me?
Me: Thank you so much. Bless this airline. Happy birthday to me.
And then we had Alvin. An adorably odd version of a dog. He was perfect. So sweet, didn’t bark. In fact, he didn’t do much, mostly just laid on the couch. Kind of like a throw pillow, with a duster for a tail, an adorable puppy face smiling on his 5 year old mug. And a nervous stomach. He was scared of cats, which I get. But being scared of squirrels seemed a little much. Then one day he chased a deer. What a stud.
He had a pancreatic disorder – which meant he took a lot of shits is the house. And then once we figured it out we gave him medicine, which worked, but made him smell like, well, hmm… I guess a pancreas? Ever smell one? Me neither – but I’m guessing it’s pretty narsty. Poor fella (obviously, I’m referring to me).
He’s been family for 9 years. And suddenly he was old. His hips stopped working too well. But he didn’t use em too much, so no biggie. And then it was more of a biggie. And now we get to the adult shit where you gotta kill a dog. A family member. This shit is heavy.
I’ve always said kids should have dogs so that they can experience loss. I know it sounds morbid, but I really believe this is one of the life lessons I learned from having a dog as a kid, and shitty as it may be, it was an important one. No matter how much you love a living thing – eventually it dies. And that’s ok. Your love for a dog is a forever thing – even if they aren’t.
Teaching kids big life lessons isn’t easy.
So with this in mind, I told Lucy – “Hun, I think we need to put Alvin down soon.”
And she began sobbing.
Me: He’s been such a wonderful, loving, part of this family. And I’m sorry. It hurts me too.
Only problem was – old Lazarus had a second act. This conversation happened about three months ago! He found the fountain of youth and despite his achy legs, almost in anticipation of the threat, he rebounded. His legs still appeared to hurt, and he was having some unfortunate incidents in the house . But he still loved to eat, and sniff around, and go for really slow walks, and get scratched behind the ears, and so on. But this damn fool never learned to speak human, so I didn’t know what he wanted. Aside from treats. He likes them plenty.
Good lord, do I suck at this parenting thing. We had a full week of trauma before I confessed to incorrectly assessing his expiration date.
Of course, the other kids also heard of my plans, and were also a mess. Long story short – life lessons = good move. Pre-traumatizing your kids = biff move. I know better now.
But, the old man is old and getting older. He’s not actively dying from anything which makes it harder to pull the plug. If it were some kind of contest to see how long I could keep him alive, I might…because I’m competitive and like to win stuff. But it’s not. And so we are back to square one. The lesson more painful, but still relevant. These mother fucking dogs make you love them so much. And yet, you still have to kill them. Unless you’re lucky enough to have them just die in their sleep so as to avoid any adulting altogether. Does that ever happen? Probably not too often.
It turns out, these dogs have lessons for kids and adults. We’re gonna miss Alvin a lot. He’s not dead yet – not sure when the vet will get back to us. But if you’ve ever known Al – shoot him some good vibes for the journey beyond.
I know the world is upside down right now. And with so much loss, mourning a dog almost seems in poor taste. But if you got a pooch of your own – give em an extra treat from Uncle Steve-O. And if anyone has a line on a cute hypoallergenic puppy… give that shit to someone else. I got enough on my plate.
Bless up Al. We’ll miss you.
The Sad AF Avocado
PS: Shout out to anyone who’s kept an eye on this rascal while we’ve been gone.
PPS: Shout out to Alvin’s best (human) friend – Aunty Stella. He’ll probably miss you as much as me. Not quite as much – but a lot.
PPPS: The rat disappeared. No updates. I think the hockey stick scared it away.